Thursday, 21 August 2014

Summer reading 2014

Samuel Pepys: salty
These are the books I'm lugging with me for my week away. I'll be delving, as usual, into Samuel Pepys, and savouring his salty, vivid prose, although it does sometimes feel rather Sisyphean. Henry Green's first novel, Blindness, was written whilst he was still at school; I hope to be left very jealous. I'm revisiting Aldous Huxley, having chanced upon After Many a Summer recently; I'm taking Eyeless in Gaza, his most sincere novel. A classic I've never looked at, and timely given the publication of the final volume, is Patrick Leigh Fermor's A Time of Gifts.

Concerning contempory fiction: Continuing my attempts to catch up on Hilary Mantel's backlist before her next book comes out, I've got Eight Months on Ghazzah Street, a study of isolation in Jeddah. I love those sinister, eerie earlier works. Having loved, as many did, Middlesex, I've left off reading Jeffrey Eugenides' The Marriage Plot for ages, so that's coming too, and for similar reasons, Don DeLillo's Libra, another author whose works I'm hungrily devouring. Zadie Smith's NW friends assure me is brilliant so she's along for the ride.

I'm also very much looking forward to two works of non-fiction: Peter Stothard's Alexandria: The Last Nights of Cleopatra, and Helen Macdonald's already bestselling H is for Hawk. I've  read T H White's The Goshawk in preparation, and am tempted to get my own hawk. I wonder if they'll let it through customs?

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Photographs by Izzy Mathie

These photographs were taken by Izzy Mathie, who interviewed me today as part of an ongoing project.

The interview, and videos of readings from THE BROKEN KING, will be appearing soon.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

My inspiration: T H White's Once and Future King

I've written a piece for The Guardian about T H White's The Once and Future King. You can read it here. It follows S F Said's My Inspiration piece, about Ursula Le Guin.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Julia Donaldson, smoking & scarecrows

Captain Haddock enjoying a pipe
Evening all: I've written a piece for The Independent which will be in tomorrow's paper; it's online now. You can read it here. It's about Julia Donaldson, and smoking in children's books.

Monday, 4 August 2014

The Making of Mr Bolsover by Cornelius Medvei: review in Literary Review

A happy August to you all: I've reviewed The Making of Mr Bolsover by Cornelius Medvei for the Literary Review; it's in the August edition, which has hit the stands right now, as we speak, and contains lots of other lovely things.