What a writer reads

You can’t write if you don’t read. We’re both writers and famous for checking more books out of the local library at one time than anyone else. Put something in front of us – we’ll pick it up and read it. I’ll turn over a plate to read the backstamp and put on my specs to read the tiny copyright notes on a box of tissues.

By the side of the bed is a partially organised pile of reading matter, spilling out of its formerly organised piles… The bedside cabinet, of course, is full to bursting. Same as last time.

As I slipped on a copy of The Legislative Gazette (riveting stuff) that I picked up in the New York state capital, Albany, last week I thought perhaps it was time for a clear out and another look at what was actually there. Click here for a look at the bedside situation in April 2007. Here goes.

The Book Stops Here (A Mobile Library Mystery) – Ian Sansom
A very strange mystery. 1) The author’s name does not appear on the cover or the spine. 2. Nothing happens for the fist 100 pages. 3. There is no corpse. Very sparky and strange. Excellent.
Cat’s Cradle – Kurt Vonnegut
Pity the type the type in this old paperback is so tiny – that always puts me off reading it again.
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court – Mark Twain

Confession: I’ve never read this, that’s why it’s there waiting.
Birds of Pennsylvania – James S. Wakerley & Lilian D. Wakerley

From the local library sale, can’t pass books on our local birds.
Carp Fishing on Valium – Graham Parker
Great autobiographical short stories from the great rock ‘n’ roller. Turns out that when he was a kid he was fishing the same streams, at the same time, as I was. Bought on for one cent.
The Sound of the City - Charlie Gillett
Classic history of rock ‘n’ roll. Superb.
Cinderella Sims – Laurence Block
One of the best mystery writers, this is a very old one disinterred.
Across the River – C. Solimini
Another mystery and not quite throw-it-at-the-wall-in-a-fury bad but unreadable. It might have helped if the text was not printed crooked on every page. Have they no respect?
Strange Brew: Eric Clapton and the British Blues Boom – Christopher Hjort
Boggling, day-by-day history of the British blues boom from 1965-1970. To be discussed on my radio show tomorrow.
Planthropology – Ken Druse
An uncorrected proof for review. Yes, they still create uncorrected proofs to send out. But the many pictures are only in black-and-white.
White Bicycles – Joe Boyd
Musical autobiography from the record producer who worked with Pink Floyd, Incredible String Band, Fairport Convention, Nick Drake – and was Stage Manager of the Newport Folk Festival the year Dylan went electric. Fascinating, but low on insight and, oddly for those 60s days, almost completely devoid of sex.
Grow Your Own Veg Journal – Carol Klein
(No, not Grow Your Own Veg Journal – if you see what I mean) For review. One of those books with blank pages on which you’re suppose to add your own notes – which no one ever does because they can’t bear to deface a book.
Piece of My Heart - Peter Robinson
Excellent mystery sent to me by a listener to my radio show as it deals with a murder at a Sixties rock festival.

Milford Magazine - Our excellent local monthly.
The Week (latest US edition) – Valuable digest of papers from around the world for those of us too busy to rad the Sydney Herald and the Irish Times.
New Yorker (three back issues) – Oh dear, getting behind…
Nutrition Now – the truth about what we eat. Excellent.
Hanburyana – Erudite botanical journal from the Royal Horticultural Society.
Journal of the Hardy Orchid Society – Enthusiasts only.
MacUser (UK edition) – The best UK Mac magazine.
Garden Media Guild News - trade journal for garden writers, photographers etc

Black Bear Film Festival programme book – from last week’s local festival.
How to Write: Journalism – free with The Guardian newspaper in England and given by my mother. How long have I been doing this?!
Local newspapers – back issues of them all, too many to list! Front page main headline in a paper from a  nearby town: Hawley Approves Nail Salon. Oh, bursting with news, we are…
WJFF Volunteer Handbook – new edition from my radio station
Seed catalogs – they seem to arrive every day… moved into a file of their own.

And, like last time, no picture of the disorganised pile…

Much more music

Hothouseflowerscc My good friends over at Garden Rant have just mentioned my new venture in radio – and suggested I post here about my favorite music. Craig over at the Ellis Hollow blog does it so, I suppose, I could too. His Best Holiday Song Ever is well worth a look.

Well, I’m steadfastly eschewing horticultural music on my radio show (no Green Green Grass of Home) but if I can put together a whole show of good British bands with horticultural names that would be great! The Hothouse Flowers would head the list, I suppose – they’re Irish, but Ireland counts. Kate Bush…?