Reading Material for February

The Pile beside my bed - February 2011

I was lucky enough to get some great books for Christmas (how long ago it seems now). The book on the bottom is a beautiful hard back Penguin edition of Tales from 1001 Nights which was given to me by a fellow bibliophile for Christmas. I have been picking my way through this and have enjoyed it very much so far. It contains old favourites such as Sinbad and Aladdin as well as the classic animal fables.

I haven’t read any John Irving since I devoured all his books in one go when I was aged about sixteen. I think I overdosed on his particular brand of quirky symbolism laden fiction. My favourite book of his is without a doubt A Prayer For Owen Meany, one of the few books I’ve ever read which elicited both tears of laughter and sadness. I was given Last Night in Twisted River by some friends for Christmas and I’m looking forward to rediscovering Irving.

Visiting the Hodges Figgis sale is always on my to-do list in January. You can pick up some gems for half nothing and I have discovered many writers this way, buying a book for €2.99 and then realising I have found a new favourite writer. I bought A Life Like Other People’s in the sale. It’s a memoir by English playwright, actor and author Alan Bennett. I have never read anything by Bennett before and I’m looking forward to this.

Sean O’Brien’s Afterlife was a Christmas present too. I have started it already and unfortunately I’m not a fan so far. His writing is very bad and I fail to see how he has received such glowing reviews. Anyway I shall continue with it as I always finish books I start!

Lastly I bought Kingsley Amis’ Everyday Drinking in the Hodges Figgis sale. For anyone who enjoys drinking (that’d be everyone then) and well crafted humour, this is a must read. It includes cocktail recipes, advice for the hungover, recommendations on stocking your bar and quizzes. I have laughed out loud while reading this. For example, Amis on building a bar kit: “A refrigerator. All to yourself, I mean. There really is no way round this. Wives and such are constantly filling up any refrigerator they have a claim on, even its ice-compartment, with irrelevant rubbish like food.”

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