What with one thing and another, I’ve not been reading as much as I would like lately. I’m not even sure what’s next in my “to read” pile, because having neglected it in the past while I’ve temporarily lost it. The pile is somewhere in the flat, though, and it’s probably gathering dust not too far away.
I’ve not been completely unbookish, though, and just this afternoon I knocked off The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby. It was given to me yesterday and as it is a short book – verbosity is probably not a trait of most paraplegic authors able to dictate only with their left eye, one letter at a time – it only took a couple of hours to get through. It’s an astonishing book, telling the story of the author’s life before and after paralysis. With mixes of beautiful imagery, light humour, and both happy and sad tones, it’s a book that is testimony to one man’s determination and creativity, and a reminder of our own fragile lives which we too often take for granted.
Two other books I’ve read in the last couple of months are of lighter tones – travel writing from Charlie Connelly and Peter Moore. Charlie Connelly’s latest book, And Did Those Feet: Walking Through 2000 Years of British and Irish History, sees the author retracing famous journeys across Britain and Ireland (and, briefly, the Isle of Man), including some fascinating journeys in Scotland (he even visits Benbecula). His enthusiasm for the history of these islands is compelling and infectious, and his determination to complete journeys in often miserable conditions doesn’t prevent him leaving time for fascinating descriptions of the places and people, both past and present, of the areas he visits.
Peter Moore‘s Vroom By The Sea is something of a sequel to Vroom With A View, both books charting his explorations of Italy on the back of a Vespa. As with …View, …Sea paints a lovely picture of Italy, its people, its scenery and of course its food. That he is on a Vespa, that very Italian of contraptions, catches attention wherever he goes and makes for some interesting encounters. I’m not a huge fan of Italy, but Peter Moore’s gentle humour and thoughtful narrative makes for an entertaining read.
I’ve no idea what I am going to read next…