From the book pile

I’ve had enough of reading kids’ books for the moment. I’m going to attempt to be grown up for a while, if I can remember how.
I’ve launched into Sarah Waters’ Night Watch. A wise and trusted friend read it recently – I asked her how she found it and her only reply was: “There are lots of commas”. I thought that was very funny until I started reading. There are lots of commas. And if I notice them, there must be millions, because, as you know, I’m a comma placer from way back.
That same wise and trusted friend is off to Malta tomorrow, laden with detailed instructions from me about where to eat rabbit stew. I’m so deeply jealous. Tears threaten.
I blasted my way through Jeannette Winterson’s Tanglewreck on Saturday. It’s a time travel novel for young readers (her first for kids and I hope not her last). She can be hilarious at times. Even when explaining elements of quantum physics to unscientific minds like mine. It’s a lovely romp, hugely enjoyable and interesting adventure – I wished His Dark Materials had a few more jokes in it, now I come to think of it. But don’t tell Mr Pullman I said that. There are parallels between the two, but few similarities, which is really quite appropriate for novels about time/universe slips.
I’ve also finally got my hands on a rather tattered copy of Ella Maillart’s Forbidden Journey – her version of the infamous trip through China and Central Asia with Peter Fleming in 1935.
It’s infamous in part because in his book about the trip from Beijing to Kashmir, News From Tartary (which I also have), he pretends Ella isn’t there. It’s ages since I read the Fleming so I’m looking forward to reading them side by side. My favourite Fleming line is:
I have travelled fairly widely in ‘Communist’ Russia (where they supplied me with the inverted commas).
And yes, in case you’re wondering, he was the less wealthy less famous older brother of Ian.

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