Saturday, February 21, 2015

Reading progress

I am partway through two books at present, and very much enjoying what might seem like slow progress.  The physically big book, and therefore having to be read with support, is Turner in his Time by Andrew Wilton
This is brilliant, and I am really lucky to be reading the second and much added to edition.  Wilton has been involved professionally with Turner's work for many years, and also writes well.  I like this kind of biography of art work.  It is like the excellent three volume Picasso biography by John Richardson.  Progress moves from painting to painting, covering the context of the life as it moves forward.  There are many illustrations too, of the works discussed.
I find that this kind of biography is not one to be rushed.  I like to read a chapter at a time, then enjoy thinking about what I have read, mulling it over thoroughly before moving on to the next chapter.
I am also savouring my bedtime reading: The Sea Inside by Philip Hoare.  This is a delightful meander through Hoare's journeys around coasts, in oceans, on islands,... his thoughts and experiences.  I don't know anything much about the author except that he lives around Southampton in the UK, and that whale conservationists and scientists allow him to come along with them.  At this point I only want to know what is revealed as the book progresses: I am a fascinated passenger on this trip.
Every evening I also read one story (or two if I miss a night like yesterday when we came back late from a concert) by James Robertson from his 365 stories.  There is one for each day, and also they are 365 words long.  I love the idea of the exercise for both writer and reader, as well as enjoying the stories themselves which are in no way obviously constrained.
Meanwhile of course while I meander about in this casual way, savouring the diversions along which each book sends me, the reading pile steadily increases.  So, what's new?!

4 comments:

  1. Your earlier recommendation of James Robertson's 365 stories has also got me in its grip and I too read one a day, though not necessarily at night. They are all fascinating and so very different in their subject matter and their brevity seems almost to turn them to poetry. It is an extraordinary concept. I wonder, to add a further twist to the format, did he also write one a day for a year? My Kindle copy doesn't seem to reveal that information.

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  2. Margaret, he did indeed write one per day in 2013, and published them online one per day in 2014. I did not find out about them until November last year, so decided to buy them and keep them to read one per day this year. There is more information in these reviews:

    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/ab53616e-794a-11e4-9567-00144feabdc0.html

    http://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/books/book-review-365-stories-by-james-robertson-1-3601215

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  3. A lovely selection of books to have on the go. The Robertson sounds very interesting - I think I will investigate. I was very sorry to miss the Turner exhibition so maybe I should think about that too.

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  4. Eirene I hope that you enjoy the Robertson if you decide to read it. The discipline seems like no constraint at all to me when reading the stories.

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