The best game in the world: dawn chorus edition

It’s almost 8.30am, and Henry, after his usual 5am freak-out, is still asleep. I have been capering around, giddy with it, since I woke up ten minutes ago. Ever tried to get down our creaky stairs in absolute silence? It requires some Spiderman-like ankle work, let me tell you.


So before we start the day, and before the recycling truck starts blaring reversing alarms down our street to wake him up, there’s only one thing we should be thinking about. *fanfare*

Here’s what I got from the library yesterday, and why:

Yesterday was a good day. Chaotic rhyme time at Battle Library, new books for both of us and a properly clean house (I mopped and everything). I left our book pile on the windowsill all day so it could spur me on to Herculean washing-up efforts.

First, joining us directly from my comfort zone, an Agatha Christie: The Murder on the Links. It’s a Poirot too, my best moustache-twirling pretend-grandpa. This is my headache book, my late at night when my brain has dribbled out of my ears book. I open the covers and start reading the first page with a great, heaving sigh of contentment. Did you know, when you borrow an Agatha Christie from the library it comes with a slice of cake? True story.

Then, hurrah, they had Cloud Atlas this week! This is decidedly not a brain-dribbling book, but if it’s anything like as wonderful as Black Swan Green I will read it and weep. And best to read it now, before I start visualising Tom Hanks delivering all the lines.

The next was a shot in the dark – I’ve mined all the obvious haunts in Battle’s tiny fiction section now, so have started systematically going through the alphabet. This is my A book: Karin Altenberg’s Island of Wings. It’s set in the 1830s, and is about a newly married minister and his wife, assigned to a little community on a tiny, exposed island west of the Hebrides. Love and loss at the edge of civilisation. It was shortlisted (I think) for the Orange prize this year, though I’ve never heard of it. We’ll see!

Finally, I found a Dickens 2012 display to celebrate the bearded genius’ bicentenary. I’ve wanted to read Claire Tomalin’s new biography, Charles Dickens, a Life, since it was released earlier this year. And no wonder, since look how shiny it is in real life. By all accounts, Dickens had a colourful childhood and a satisfyingly chequered life, so I’m looking forward to getting stuck in.

Any book suggestions for me this month? Which books on your shelf come with a slice of cake?

P to the S – It doesn’t matter how many books Henry gets from the library, or how attached to them he gets, none of them can touch The Snail and the Whale. Henry loves The Snail and the Whale with a passion hotter than a thousand suns. My feelings are slightly different, now I find myself reciting it at random moments.

P to the S S – I am tortured, yes, TORTURED by how much I want to go to the British Museum’s Shakespeare: Staging the World exhibit. Check out this exciting video so that you can be as tormented as I am. Once I’d mentioned it, the British Museum themselves tweeted back and told me I should go (!).

Well. Now I have to, right? Mine not to reason why. (Someone  lovely on Twitter then pointed me towards the V&A Hollywood Costume exhibit, which also looks brilliant.)

4 thoughts on “The best game in the world: dawn chorus edition

  1. Oh, dear old Grandpere Poirot! I would love to come to any library that gave away cake and Agatha Christies. It was the biggest of disappointments that I could not bring my collection of ACs with me to Vienna. “Island of Wings” and “Cloud Atlas” both sound really great; I’ll need you to tell me how you like them when you’ve finished. And as for that Shakespeare exhibit at the British Museum, go. Actually, take me with you, and then WE can go together. Will it still be there at Christmastime? Because we could legitimately make this happen.

  2. On my unexpected wander through the W section of Wellington library this week I picked up Virginia Woolf’s The Years and ooo it was worth it. I recommend it, if you haven’t already read it.

    Pride and Prejudice definitely comes with a slice of cake. Villainous sailors! Rude mamas! Devilry at the dance! But it all works out ok in the end…

    • I love Virginia Woolf! I did a specialist module on her at uni, and loved The Years. I think Mrs Dalloway will always be my favourite, though 🙂

      Totally agree about Pride and Prejudice. I also feel the same about Jane Eyre, as doom-and-gloomy as it is.

      Have you read Cold Comfort Farm? Another cake book. I adore it.

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