LITERARY LIFE: NOVEMBER IN REVIEW

With the introduction of the Winter months, I have been a less frequent blogger than I would have liked; something about early darkening evenings hinders my urge to write.

I cannot believe it is December already, I used to wish away the time to adulthood when I was at school, where years seemed to drag. Now, at 26, years are as long as months. Surely it was only Christmas a short while ago?!

Even in terms of reading I do not feel I have read as much as usual. A lot has changed for me recently; soon I will be in a completely new and challenging environment, and somehow the nerves and excitement have left me incapable of long term concentration. I have only read three books this month, the smallest amount monthly this year; hopefully with lots of free time this month I can devour more heartily.

Moranthology by Caitlin Moran (Anthology of Moran’s back catalogue)
A collection of Moran’s articles written over the course of her career with The Times. Each article is introduced with a short introduction on its inception and the reasons behind its creation. Mostly, I was fascinated; a few had me bored, but with such a large breadth of subject matter this was bound to occur. My favourite articles include, but are not limited to; interviewing Lady Gaga, Sherlock love and Doctor Who love.

Elijah’s Mermaid by Essie Fox
A wonderfully surprising tale; not at all what I was expecting from the book. Spanning the course of over twenty years, our heroines Lily and Pearl narrate us through their lives and the danger they are thrown into; with a little bit of romance added into the mix. Fox, an expert in the Victorian era, wonderfully researches and references the setting Elijah’s Mermaid travels. My particular favourite being the mention of Jarndyce and Jarndyce (a fictional court case in Dicken’s Bleak House) and thusly referencing the abysmal state of the legal system.

Back Story by David Mitchell (Autobiography)
As I seem to ignorantly follow the notion that anything the media displays of a person must be fact, I was expecting Mitchell to be an arrogant nerdy wanker. I was mostly wrong. Walking us through London, an hour journey he makes to ease his back pain, we get insights into his life. I may have teared up at the paragraph about how much he loves his wife.

“The first peice of news about the circus skills afternoon was that, sadly, not everyone would get to have his face painted like a clown. ‘Ohhh nooo!’ the class moaned – and I assume I joined in, just like I’d have joined in at Nuremberg. What was I thinking, of course, was: ‘Thank God for that, I don’t want my face made up like a clown’s by someone I don’t know. That would be awful! And what if the make-up wouldn’t come off?!’

‘I’m sorry but two is the absolute maximum for face painting,’ lamented Miss Brown, ‘and as you all obviously want to have your face painted like clowns…’

‘Oh yes, madly – please pick me, Miss Brown!’ we all interjected.

‘… I’m just going to have to put your names in a hat and pick out the lucky ones who will get to spend the afternoon looking like clowns.’

I was already familiar enough with sod’s law to have a sinking feeling at this news. There seemed no way of volunteering to be left out of the hat. It was just assumed that we’d all want make-up all over our faces. Where, I thought, did that idea come from? Why is there this weird consensus about this weird thing – this bizarre concept that everyone else seems to think is a lovely treat? And why am I being swept along in it?“

This, dear reader, sums up both my childhood and adult life.

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Charlie
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Argh face paint. Fun, but a big burden really, especially when you’re a kid. I hear you on that darkening evenings thing, I’m having to force myself to write at the moment. Very exciting news regarding the changes coming your way, will you be detailing it? :) I really like the sound of Elijah’s Mermaid, and literary references like the one you’ve mentioned are intriguing. I think I’d opt for the Moran too, but I managed to read a lot of her columns before The Times went paid-only, so would wonder how much more there would be to make it… Read more »
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