This week I learn that if I'm ever stuck on a train between London and Kettering things can be made bearable if I have Kate Atkinson's Human Croquet with me, I won't forget that.
If I need day surgery again (which I'd really prefer not) all will be well if I have The View From Castle Rock by Alice Munro secreted in my operating gown, and it would seem those of us who haven't embarked on William Maxwell have some great reads ahead of us.
If you missed Tuesday's post 'On habit and reading in public places' and are in need of some reading ideas, check out the fantastic comments and have that notebook to hand.
Ellen thank you for the very kind offer of a copy of So Long See You Tomorrow, you've heard from me already and my thanks also to Chris (though I don't know which one...but we think Nottingham?) who this week sent me a wonderful book In Cold Ink, written by her brother, David Robinson,
David Robinson is the Books Editor of The Scotsman, I have to confess a newspaper not stocked in the village shop because to be honest even Bristol's a foreign country to us here in Devon, and I doubt they get The Western Morning News up there either, but I frequently come across The Scotsman reviews (and sadly never the WMN) if I'm checking out a book online.
In Cold Ink - On the Writer's Tracks is a collection of essays and interviews based on David Robinson's newspaper articles, and a book like this has to be one of my most favourite genres, they feel like a really precious resource on the shelf.
A book to dip into and one that suggests new reading trails because the list of subjects here ranges far and wide... Truman Capote, Robin Jenkins, David Mitchell, JG Ballard, Tobias Wolff, Ian McEwan, AL Kennedy, Ali Smith, Kate Atkinson (of London to Kettering fame), Ali Smith, Jackie Kay and many more.
One essay has already challenged a long-held reading pre-conception here, so expect more about that next week.
Amongst the recent new arrivals I've picked out a few books that have jumped out and bitten me for reasons various.
As this sassenach has already strayed north of the border today I might as well stay there for a minute and mention the latest book from Susan Fletcher, Corrag published by Fourth Estate. Beautiful cover cloaking a fictional account of the Massacre of Glencoe and the plight of a woman named Corrag, condemned for her involvement and accused of witchcraft. I loved Eve Green for its child's eye view of grief and loss, themes now repeating themselves in this week's reading of They Came Like Swallows by William Maxwell, but how have I missed Susan Fletcher's second novel Oystercatchers?
Corrag has climbed very high up on the tbr munro.
Eline Vere by Louis Couperus from Holland Park Press who publish Dutch literature in translation. This book first translated into English in 1892; women's lives set in the stifling society of The Hague. Louis Couperus much admired by Oscar Wilde and George Bernard Shaw, tricky chaps to please at the best of times, and by me too after my last read Inevitable, which I recall was much enjoyed here two years ago.
The Mystery of Lewis Carroll, Understanding the Author of Alice in Wonderland by Jenny Woolf and published by Haus Books is perhaps set to challenge more loosely acquired prejudices and 'the nonsense written about Carroll from the 1920s onwards' ...which I'm sorry to say I have bought into wholesale, having had him down as a serial Schedule One offender for some years. I'm keeping an open mind and will be prepared to shift my stance if Jenny Woolf's evidence and arguments are persuasive enough.
Having been introduced to a fictional account of the life of the poet John Clare through Adam Foulds's The Quickening Maze via the Bookerthon last year, how can I resist the other side of the story?
The Poet's Wife by Judith Allnatt, published by Doubleday, a book about poor Mrs Clare and her husband's madness.
More intrigue, the tbr munro is reaching some altitude this week.
Talking of which, The Hidden Landscape A Journey Into the Geological Past by Richard Fortey and published by Bodley Head looks like it might be a book that makes trilobite fossils (Ogygiocarella debuchii...that would be a Scrabble winner) and carboniferous limestone pavements interesting, and in a way that Miss Cassell's triple geography on a Friday didn't.
'Britain was once divided into two parts separated by an ocean... Scottish malt whisky, Harris tweed, slate roofs and thatched cottages can be traced back to tumultuous events which took place many millions of years ago.'
An exploration of time and place which lets the rocks tell the story of the British Isles which we can happily add to the current TV preoccupation with ensuring that we know this story from every conceivable angle.
Programmes which I could watch all day actually.
Coast with that nice Scot's chap with the long hair jumping on and off boats and I'm sure it's been on so long we've been twice round already. Then there's Andrew Marr bounding through The History of Modern Britain like an irrepressible puppy.
Did you see the last one, Paradise Lost, as the 60s dream turned sour ?
I'd quite forgotten how violent it all was, and bless Andrew for steering us around it all in his old Cortina...or was it a Zephyr Zodiac?
Then David Dimbleby, the measured and serious senior statesman-like approach to The Seven Ages of Britain with a lot of quiet reverent gazing at ceilings, which actually I like to gaze at too, so I'm enjoying that.
But shouldn't he have been wearing gloves when he leafed through that foot thick bible in Florence?
I was worried about the foxing, especially if he'd been eating a bag of crisps beforehand.
But how about you, have you bagged any books for the tbr munro this week?