New (guilt free) books!
I have recently bought two books from the Guardian Bookshop, as I’ve always felt a bit guilty about reading a newspaper online and never giving them any money, and then my voice will be among many who mourn the loss of newspapers and journalism in general when I was part of the problem. However, if I can buy books that don’t come with the Amazon guilt of overworked employees and underpaid authors, at the same time as bunging a newspaper a few quid, then quite frankly it’s practically charity and I should pat myself on the back.
I bought ‘Weatherland’ by Alexandra Harris. Weather is the gift that keeps on giving, and I love it all, particularly clouds, and this book is about how writers and artists have charted our culture over the years with help from the elements and tells us about Shelley’s desire to become a cloud (one I share very much). There are also pictures of some of the most evocative paintings such as Millais’ ‘Autumn Leaves’ and Atkinson Grimshaw’s ‘Liverpool Docks from Wapping’.
I also got ‘Feeding Time’ by Adam Biles, which is about a rapidly declining old people’s home called ‘Green Oaks’ where the situation has reached breaking point. Biles is compared to both Kafka and Kingsley Amis, making it sound like an awesome but edgy novel about old people and those who care for them.
The third book I bought was second-hand (recycling, more pats on the back) and I got it as I remembered Alan Bennett talking about it. In his diary he mentions hearing Mark Gatiss on the radio saying how Bennett had influenced him, making him realise that being even being working class and from the north a person can have something valid to say. Bennett said he had been influenced in the same way Richard Hoggart, so when I saw this attractive Pelican addition, I thought I could give it a good home.