Five Days of Reading

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

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