Every month I take a look at the books I’ve been reading, and an article or two that I’d recommend from my travels on the internet.
I usually have three or four books to mention, but somehow this last month has been a busy one, so I’ve only read two books and a book with a lot of pictures since my last Readers’ Corner post. However, one of them is an Important Book so I feel that I have accomplished something.
Here’s what’s been keeping me company on the couch:
The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains: A Tale of Travel and Darkness with Pictures of All Kinds (William Morrow)
Writer: Neil Gaiman. Illustrated by Eddie Campbell
This is the book with a lot of pictures. It’s described on the back cover as a novelette, and took me perhaps half an hour to read. It was a half hour well spent though as I followed the travels of two men through countryside inspired by the Isle of Skye. The genre could be called fantasy – one of the characters has otherworldly powers. But the human story is haunting – I am thinking about it still, a month later.
Where did I lay my hands on it: My local library
The Promise – Damon Galgut
This is the Important Book. The Promise is the 2021 Booker Prize winner, and the description on the website is a succinct outline of the plot: “The Promise is set in South Africa during the country’s transition out of apartheid, and explores the interconnected relationships between the members of a diminishing white family through the sequential lens of four funerals.”
I found the book superbly well written, but hard to read. I had to put it down for a while after reading the first of the four sections because I needed to sit with the savage accuracy of the portrayal of life in South Africa in the 1980s for a while. But I persevered, and am glad I did. There’s a redemption of sorts at the end, but be prepared to have difficult emotions triggered if you are a South African reader.
Where did I lay my hands on it: A loan from my mother
The Glass House – Eve Chase (Penguin)
This is the book I read in the gap created by putting down The Promise. It’s a mystery, set in England, spanning time from the early 1970s to the present day. The lives of a dysfunctional family intertwine with that of a nanny hired to look after a new baby, and all is set right at the end. It’s absorbing and well-written and was just what I needed.
Where did I lay my hands on it: The local library
Recommended online reading
I was pointed in the direction of this long read by a retweeted post on Twitter which I have sadly lost track of now. It’s about the Golden Globe around-the-world solo sailboat race of 1968, through the prism of the maintenance of three of the boats in the race. I know very little about sailing, and would have said that I would be unlikely to read a very long article about it. But the writing is so good that I devoured every word. A must read.
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Main picture: Matias North, Unsplash