“These isolated, precarious refuges, at once exposed and welcoming, allow Richards to interrogate ideas of home and escape, of safety and adventure, all in a narrative whose principal pleasure is the time the reader gets to spend in the author’s amiable, erudite, Tiggerish company … Richards is often compared to his friend Rober Macfarlane, but his voice is much closer to that of Geoff Dyer: vivid, self-deprecating, literary and very, very funny.”
Happiness is 5 books. All sent to me by @canongatebooks And what makes this even more special is that four of them were already on my ‘to buy’ list. I’ve started to read the other one and that should have been on my list. Books. You can’t beat them.
“The one thing bigger than depression is time.” Author @matthaig1 says he would tell his younger self “that that state of depression and fear isn’t permanent”, in the latest Ways to Change the World podcast.
“Sitting static, miles from the sea, reading Runcie’s account of childbirth during one of my son’s post-lunch naps had me in tears. It was as visceral and as heroic as any Homeric epic. I may not know Runcie, not live on a coast, have nothing fishy in my background, but hearing her story of pain and broken waters made me feel true affinity. I felt, as she describes in relation to the lives of fishermen’s wives, like a woman standing on the shore, looking at the drama unfolding far out at sea. I felt like someone with salt on my face and air in my lungs; a piece of something greater and more magnificent, enacted by women everywhere.”
“Because this, after all, is what fiction is supposed to do. For the few hours or days or weeks that we are held by a book, it should lead us towards other places and other lives. It should un-centre us, and reorient our imaginations.” A brilliant essay by Malachy Tallack (author of The Valley at the Centre of the World) on how fiction can force us to reconsider ‘remoteness’.
“I definitely don’t judge people who become passionately involved in a political struggle, even to the point of taking up weapons in the service of that struggle, in the way that I would have before beginning the book.”
John Wray interviewed in the Guardian about his novel, Godsend, and the intriguing – and maybe risky – political ground it treads.