I don't think it would be fair to create a "Books I've Read" post when really this is the line up of what's ahead and I've only just scratched the surface. That isn't to say that that reading hasn't ticked over, in fact it's been quite steady over the past few months.
There's more than a hint of "A curious incident" in Kim Slater's "Smart", but just like the central character Kieran it captivated and surprised me. It's tough seeing the story unfold through Kieran's eyes, especially in moments of sadness and violence which he relates in a straightforward way, we the reader can see the damage that's really being done and perhaps his resilience and determination aren't as buried in his psyche as we think.
I had the wonderful pleasure to go swimming with author Philip Hoare and I took his wonderful book "The Sea Inside" to Almeria with me. In a lovely moment of serendipity, I've recently started to take dips in the Solent with The Shack Sharks, a swimming community based around Hillhead and Stokes Bay. I've been to a few friday night swims, the stress of work simply falls aways as you lower your body into the water. I've been in when it's calm and when it's choppy and the wave slaps your face and leaves you with a red cheek. I cut my foot on my first swim and came home with my skin burning with salt and seaweed in my hair, I feel absolutely alive after I've been in.
During my time at University in London I always felt a little guilty that I didn't know more about the streets that I was walking down and history in every tile and brick. I've enjoyed reading "The Sea Inside" the stories of the Solent and Isle of Wight, I particularly like the passages about birds including ravens and seagulls which I'd previously dismissed as rodent and uninteresting. I'm into the chapters about whales and living every moment like I was swimming alongside, it's as close as I could imagine.
I took three books with me on holiday but only read Philip's. I did dip into "Poems of the Decade" after reading the excellent "Forward Book of Poetry 2015". I was moved to tears by some of these poems especially that of Kevin Powers who's novel "The Yellow Birds" has been ordered.
I have a short-list of books for the next few months.
The Circle by Dave Eggers
Rings of Saturn by W.B Sebold (on Philip Hoare's recommendation)
Imagining Reality - The Faber Book of Documentary edited by Mark Cousins and Kevin Macdonald
The Breakaway by Nicole Cooke
A couple of other things to mention, had a lovely return to The Badger Press last month and great to see the place in such rude health. The website has been updated and there are even a few prints for sale in the shop.
Lastly I should mention Mark Cousins' A Story of Children and Film which was a wonderful treat, exploring cinema by way of the emotions and behaviours of Cousins' niece and nephew as they play a marble run. When we were very young we saw ourselves in family Super 8 movies, then tape and now digital, we're all a product of film, watching ourselves and recording our lives so that we're shaped and changed by what we see.