I’m not sure what other peoples’ habits are like but I find myself wholly in a bookish mood at the moment. My spare time seems to have been occupied solely by reading, thinking about books, talking about books, watching others talk about their books and not a lot else. Usually there is some knitting or music or cooking or general other things thrown in there too but not so much recently.
To that end, two things have happened that brought me a fair amount of happiness:
Firstly: seeing Sarah Moss speak at an RSGS event in Edinburgh. Her book, Names for the Sea, is one of my favourites from recent years. Part memoir and part travel book in it she discusses her experience of living in Iceland for a year. It focuses a lot on the social aspects of her time there,something which I really enjoyed. I’ve never been to Iceland (one day…) and while the heritage and landscape is undoubtedly a huge draw for me, I found it every bit as interesting to hear about daily life and social attitudes. Her talk touched on gender, domesticity, working life and being ‘foreign’ in a new landscape. It was excellent.
Secondly, on a recent trip to London I visited Daunt books for the first time. My friend Rebecca had recommended Daunt years ago on a previous visit but for some reason we never went. It was our last stop before the train home this time and what a way to end a holiday – a beautiful space with just the best, most interesting selection of books I can remember seeing in years. I now maintain that all bookshops should come in Edwardian buildings with spiral stairs, stained glass windows and an abundance of fresh flowers. I couldn’t resist buying something and came away with Miranda July’s book of short stories.