The past five days* have been ones of “excess” – that is, a beautiful binge on books small in size and petite in pagination.
Below is a summary of what titles have passed my eyes.
Dear Illusion – Kingsley Amis (1972)
A sublimely-crafted short story about the final words of an aged poet; in which every word is in its right place.
The Sea Close By – Albert Camus (1954/1955)
Comprising two brief essays: one on a life at sea, another on summer in Algiers; the former being one of the most beautiful pieces of writing I have, and doubtless will, ever read.
Train Dreams – Denis Johnson (2011)
A tragic novella about one labourer’s life of toil and turmoil in the American West.
The Outsider – Albert Camus (1942)
Plain-spoken impressions of banality and futility, leading to a young man’s condemnation to death.
Dirty Beasts – Roald Dahl (1983)
Nine poems through which run Roald Dahl’s cheeky, blackly comic charm.
Selected Poems – Sylvia Plath (1983 [1956-1963)
Captivating, coruscating, excoriating, heartbreaking, harrowing, astounding: ‘Tulips’.
Honeysuckle Cottage – P. G. Wodehouse (1927)
Something of a ghost story about a cursed inheritance; told with Wodehouse’s characteristic charm.
The Machine Stops – E. M. Forster (1928)
A journey through a suffocating society in which civilisation is marked by isolation, a fear of nature, human contact has become obsolete, and technology fixes every need and want.
* Thursday, March 2nd – Monday, March 6th