Raven Books

New TitlesNew Titles
Recommended TitlesRecommended
LocationLocationHoursHoursAbout UsAbout Us

Best SellersBest Sellers
Book ClubsBook Clubs

Sunday 28 February 2010

What we talked about....

....when we talked about nothing.

Lobby talk:

“Did you see him?”


“Yer man, whatshisname.”

“Oh, yea, he’s staying here with his wife.”

“Must have arrived last night.”


“He was sitting outside reading that book, you know, the one that won the IMPAC.”

“The horses one?”

“Yea, Out Stealing Horses, I think.”

“Loved it. By Per Petterson, wasn’t it?”

“Yes, think that was it.”

And here’s another one as we enjoyed dinner in a high-class restaurant off the orangery:

“Well, did you?”

“No, I never slept with a policeman.”


“...but I did sleep with a policeman’s wife!”

We all cracked up at that one.

Instant friendship:

“But I can come with you. I speak Spanish, it’s absolutely no trouble at all.”

Ulla could and did and without her our visit to A&E would not have gone so smoothly. She translated, filled in forms, held hands, and guided us through the system with ease. P, having fallen down some marble stairs, emerged after her ordeal looking like Frankenstein’s moll with large black stitches running up her gashed arm. We could not repay Ulla’s kindness but we can pass it on.

Labels: , , , ,

Tuesday 23 February 2010

Holiday bliss

The four of us are sitting at a corner table in Marbella - that of the sea, the shops and the unexpected sunshine - in our hotel bar reading our books: P is deep into The Post Office Girl by Stefan Zweig with a cold cup of coffee in front of her; T is thoroughly enjoying Italian Shoes by Henning Mankell with the remains of a bottle of Coke being cleared away by the bar girl. G, with a very pleasant glass of rosé in hand, is on the second part of The Notebook, The Proof and The Third Lie by Agota Kristof, an intriguing novel that I may have to reread; and I am stuck into another Mankell, The Man from Beijing, that is so enjoyable. For once we aren't yacking away but are absorbed in our other worlds, the amiable chatter of our fellow residents burbling away in the background, the musak a gentle thrum of guitar. Oh but this is bliss!

Labels: , , , ,

Friday 12 February 2010

Blooming holidays!

You’ve decided where to go, booked flights, organised hotels, packed and weighed your bags, sent the cat to longsuffering relatives, persuaded the dog to take up residence in a home with bars across the windows, and all you have to do is make sure you have something decent to read. Simple? No, definitely not!

To Pisa, Italy, I brought three books: one was ok, the second was awful, and the third I had read before (a ghastly mistake) so I set off for the largest bookstore in town. The English section comprised two sets of shelving in which Charles Dickens and Dan Brown featured among the usual chick-lit and dross of the lowest order; I chose the former and spent the remainder of my holiday with Hard Times tucked under my oxter (not a bad choice as it turned out. I can now visualise Miss Haversham at the table of her wedding feast and the genial Pip as he grew up with a cast of the strangest characters). Note to self: plan better next time.

Albuquerque, New Mexico, with five books in tow, none of which I could read on the flight as I was seated next to Bill for the long haul with whom I talked non-stop, laughed, watched the same movie, and left in Chicago with a nod of regret. No sooner landed than I headed for Borders that was full of luscious temptation that I didn’t resist; next was Barnes & Noble, another house of sin for the likes of me. More books to read but still I didn’t manage a single page due to (a) the time difference that had me in bed by eight; (b) so many relatives dying to catch up on old times; (c) the view from the back garden of humming birds flitting around the feeding table; (d) the wonderful dry heat that did me a power of good. I eventually managed to get stuck into Henning Mankell who kept me highly entertained with his grumpy detective, Wallander (who could do with a good holiday himself), and a bloody crime to be solved by fair means or foul.

My flight home was just as fortuitous with Harry, another of Chicago’s sons, for company who helped me carry my suitcase, bursting with unread books, to a waiting bus.

Next week I’m off to Marbella with three gals from the book club for seven days of fun, fun and more fun. We’ve agreed to take two books each to share after reading so basically that’s one book a day if all goes according to plan. It should be enough, but then again, what if none of them are any good??? Oh the trials and tribulations of being too far away from my favourite bookshops and that steady supply of literary surprises growing like sturdy trees beside my bed, on the sideboard, near the couch and strewn on the hall table.

Having a good book to read is like a security blanket for bibliophiles without which we’d turn into nasty, spiteful, frustrated bores longing for an English box of Cornflakes off which to read (as if we needed to know) the ingredients, nutritional value (ha!), country of origin, and other useless information. Reading is reading when it boils down to it and going mad in a world without books doesn’t bear thinking about.

Labels: , , , , ,