Books and She Moved

I keep meaning to start writing proper reviews of books. I was going to begin with Terry Pratchett’s “The Last Hero” hardback ‘picture book’ which I managed to get for £2.99 in Swansea’s Oxfam.  The many and rather magnificent illustrations seemed to have a profound effect on TP’s prose (or perhaps my way of reading was altered by the format) and I took a while to adjust to the experience. After adjusting, the book really was a riot and the illustrations really did enhance the reading experience. Before I could write a review, I began reading “Thief of Time” and that novel is proving so enjoyable that I haven’t had the inclination to write the review. Still, all in good time eh?

I began writing an Earth Balm arrangement of “She Moved Through the Fair” recently but abandoned it and have instead completed a solo guitar arrangement in the altered Csus2 tuning. It’s not the best tuning for a Mixolydian melody but I was able to use some of the ideas in my arrangement of “Lisa Lân” to accommodate the flattened seventh.

Narrative text illustration

One of the reasons that I was an avid reader of narrative writing in my childhood was the quality of book illustration in the 1960s.  I was reminded of this recently when re-reading one of my favourite children’s anthologies: Philippa Pearce‘s “What the Neighbours Did“. The illustrator for my edition of the book is Faith Jaques and I love this work. I’d like to post a scan of one of the drawings and hope it will not offend / contravene any copyright.

Victor G Ambrus’s work has also been an inspiration and a source of enjoyment.

More recently, I have enjoyed Peter Bailey’s illustrations for Corgi Yearling‘s editions of Philip Pullman‘s children’s books and Dick de Wilde’s illustrations in Bill Naughton‘s anthology “The Goalkeeper’s Revenge“.

It is probably just nostalgia but I’m sure that the scratchiness and quality of line in these black and white illustrations have more character than modern digitally created work (Ooh! Did I really say that?).

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Illustration by Victor Ambrus from “Russian Blue” book by Helen Griffiths (copyright Hutchinson Books).
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Illustration by Dick de Wilde from “The Goalkeeper’s Revenge” by Bill Naughton (copyright Puffin books).
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Illustration by Faith Jaques from “What the Neighbours Did” by Philipa Pearce (copyright Puffin books).

UKLG notes

Thanks to calmgrove, I’m seriously considering a series of pictures (and perhaps music) inspired by the writings of Ursula K Le Guin. I thought I might share some of the notes I’ve been taking from “A Wizard of Earthsea“. Apologies for the untidiness, handwriting never was my forte.

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Picture of vocabulary from “Wizard of Earthsea”. Copyright Ursula K Le Guin.

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Also, this from the UKLG website, looks fascinating (though, as always, I’m somewhat late for the party): https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/arwencurry/worlds-of-ursula-k-le-guin

My bubble in Cyberspace

I have begun reading UKLG’s “The Wind’s Twelve Quarters” and this morning finished reading the story “April in Paris” and it illustrates perfectly (for me) the profundity of the author. Most other writers would have had the main characters  (who have used ancient magic to meet) die at the hands of the supernatural to ‘restore the cosmic balance’ but not Ursula K Le Guin. She has them all walk off together into the sunshine (dare I say, “Happily ever after”?). No lesson cruelly learned or any intervention of fate, just four lonely humans and an equally lonely dog enjoying the company of each other.

Daoist indeed.

Apologies for a title that has little or perhaps everything to do with the post.

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The Left Hand of Darkness

This is it (The Left Hand of Darkness), the book I’ve been waiting to read and the book generally regarded as “Ursula Le Guin’s masterpiece” – Science Fiction: The 100 Best Novels. I bought it today in Foyles, Bristol along with Carlo Rovelli’s “Seven Brief Lessons on Physics“.  It was on the shelves at Waterstones too but I couldn’t find the Rovelli book there and wanted both. I know, I could have bought each from different stores but that would be alien to me. UKLG books are a puzzle, they seem to be either in all book shops at any given moment or in none at all in another given moment. I keep eyeing up Melvyn Peake’s “The Gormenghast Trilogy” but I’m too mean to pay the £18 cover price.

Looking forward to reading these – I may have to go to bed super-early!!

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Jane Eyre

I’ve had a change of heart about “Wuthering Heights” (which is fairly typical of me). I appreciate it much more now I am reading and thoroughly enjoying “Jane Eyre”. I’m enjoying the book so much I thought I’d read up a little more about the Brontës and their lives particularly, since the books are so very similar in tone and style. It seems that so much of the novels is autobiographical, which makes me more mindful when I think about “Wuthering Heights”. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is next up for reading which makes one novel from each of the three sisters. I’ll post how I get on, but right now I really am enjoying “Jane Eyre“.