Saturday, January 30, 2010
Sunday, January 17, 2010
Anyway, something that I have been doing lots of at the moment is reading. It's one of the most enjoyable things you can do on a cold winter night, I find, and it's definitely useful for my Literature AS level too. A new string to the blog that I am adding for winter is a reading list - books I have read, am reading or want to read. Sorry to keep adding more and more things! But I need something to do apart from building new frames when the bees are in bed (and my English teachers are shouting at me).
- The Accrington Pals - a play by Peter Whelan.
- Birdsong - a novel by Sebastian Faulks.
- Up The Line To Death - selected war poetry
- The Runes - non-fiction by Horil Svensson. I got a set of runestones for Christmas. I'm not sure if I believe in all the "mumbo jumbo" around things like this but the history of it all is so interesting and the runes provide a different viewpoint on life, so I am finding out more.
- All Quiet On The Western Front - a novel by Erich Maria Remarque.
My favourite of these have to be All Quiet On The Western Front and Up The Line To Death. Up The Line was written during WW1, by people who could actually hear shell fire etc. while they were scribbling down the poems. The anthology features work by the greats such as Wilfred Owen, Siegfried Sassoon, and my personal favourite Isaac Rosenberg. It's so interesting because it takes you from the beginning of the war, when the poets all believed the jingoistic propaganda going around and that they'd all be home by Christmas, through to the work that describes horrific individual episodes in unflinching detail. I love Sassoon's work becuase it just drips sarcasm, but Isaac Rosenberg is my favourite. I love his poetry but even more I just can't believe how unfair it was that a talented, pacifist but poor, wheezy and short lad from the East End had his life cut short on April Fool's Day 1918. And he wasn't tall enough to be a medic, only for cannon fodder. Poor bloke.
All Quiet is fantastic because it was written in the 20's by someone on the other side - a German veteran. It's an amazing book about the power of the human spirit, and reminds me that there was suffering on both sides - when you study the English literature, that is always going on about the Hun and the Bosch, it's easy to forget that the opposing troops didn't have it any better. I also love it because it was banned and burned by the Nazi's in the 30's - a sure sign of a good philosophy. It's written from the first person too so you really feel like you're there, and the detail...the reported stories of men continuing to attack when both their feet had been blown off, or crawling back to safety holding their intestines in with one hand, and the inimitable Katchinsky...it's a really short book, it only took me a day to read, but it's one of the best books I've ever read.
Birdsong is one of my set texts, and I didn't enjoy it quite as much for several reasons, but it's still an amazing book that I would really recommend.
At the moment I'm reading:
- A Small Sound of the Trumpet - non-fiction by Margaret Wade Labarge - all about women's roles in the middle ages. Really interesting and shows that there were powerful and influential women even in a society dominated by men and religion. And my village's castle is mentioned twice - I had never realised that the old pile of flint down the road was so important!
- The Rune Primer - non-fiction by Sweyn Plowright
- Mslexia issue 44 - women's writing magazine, absolutely inspirational. I have already had work rejected by them, which made me feel like a proper writer, haha! Poetry, short stories, flash fiction, articles...if you love literature, you'll love this, no matter what your gender or background.
And I'm planning to read (for the time being. The list gets longer every day):
- Goodbye to All That - memoir by Robert Graves
- Regeneration - novel by Pat Barker
- Life Class - novel by Pat Barker
- The Middle Parts of Fortune - novel by Frederic Manning
- Memoirs of a Fox Hunting Man - memoir by Siegfried Sassoon