Tuesday, October 11, 2011

On the road with books

I've just closed the cover on my 18th book of the trip. I always keep a record of what I'm reading but there is some satisfaction that comes from having a start to a limited amount of time and making the effort to fit in what you find important.

The problem is that books get heavy in a bag. And while I always say that I'm not going to pick any up... They keep making their way into my bag. By the time I get back home I have no idea how many books I will have picked up, but right now I have 6 that need to be carried around.

The last 2 additions have been from people I'm staying with.
One saying: "Take it home, get it back to me when I come to town at Christmas"
Another with something like: Take it! It will be leaving my house in some way.

I obviously didn't keep all the books that I read with me. A lot of them I borrowed from people and read from the hostel library or from the local library, a few pdfs helped things a lot too. But there have been a few book purchases along the way.

One in Cardiff (the Dark Philosophers) that I read... well struggled to read through as I wanted to smack most of the characters, finished and then promptly abandoned it in Aberdeen. I was lead to believe it was going to be funny, the introduction said he was funny and had a great quote that actually made me laugh out loud in the store... maybe my humour just doesn't line up right with his when it isn't pointed out to me. I switched it in the hostel library for Tess of the d'Urbervilles but I'm not sure I came out on top with that one. I kept thinking I should leave it at another hostel but I figure I should read it before leaving it... but that could be my book addiction talking.

While I was in Edinburgh I wandered into an old book shop and spent a good deal of time looking at all the old bound copies of books and fighting the urge to take home 7 volume sets or even 3 volume sets because they looked so damn beautiful. I did end up finding a book about the life of Madame de Pompadour. I read a few pages and I'm really looking forward to having some good solid time to read it and let the creativity flow from reading about that era.

I picked up 2 books that I'd really wanted to read for some time in recently-rioted-in Manchester at a student sale. Midnight in the Gardern of Good and Evil and Oranges are not the only fruit. I was so excited to find both of them.

I started reading Oranges right away as I walked down the street. It had such a great introduction that I wanted to keep reading and reading for days. She had such a great style and voice telling how the book came about... and then the actual story started. It was frustrating, unsettling and saddening. I don't know what happened... Life, circumstances, maybe seeing the huge divide between her life and mine small town UK vs small city Canada. I might never really be able to explain to someone why it got to me in such a negative way when so many people seem to find humour in it. I left that one in Edinburgh. But I kept the other book from the sale. Again I've only read the first few pages but I'm looking forward to it. Plus it now holds a great bookmark that I made out of a show announcement for the Edinburgh Fringe

"Keep Calm and Carry on Barefoot"

I love it.

I bought a book of poetry from the poet Young Dawkins after his last performance at the Edinburgh Free Fringe. He was amazing. I had got there early and boy was I glad of that. People just kept coming in and ended up filling the place and out into the hall. At one point he asked "Where have you people been all Fringe?!"
It was a great hour, he had 2 guys playing instruments along with him and it was simply perfect. His words mixed well with the guy who had been playing with him for a while and the new guy added some more contrast. I couldn't imagine it sounding better. He really made every word count. What I especially respected was him giving the stage to a young woman to do one of her poems. He had such a bigger audience and pull that she was exposed to more ears that might otherwise have missed her amid the hundreds of other shows. And she was really good too so it fit smoothly in with his other poems.

It was one of those days that reminds me why I love slam poetry and how I love words. It also made me want to attend many MANY more poetry readings. I settled for buying his book and being able to hear where he paused and lifted his voice as I read the print, really hearing him read the poems again in my memories. Also he signed it "Thanks for your joy" which just filled me with more joy.

I think those might be all the books I have kept with me. I get the feeling there is another that will make itself known to me when I get to the next stage of my trip.

Turns out I completely missed 2 other books I have on me.
A book of comic verse that I got in Oxford and The Deeper Meaning of Liff that I got in Morecambe. Both bought from second hand book stores. I also resisted the urge to buy a new one today.

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