GRUMBLING, LONG LISTED BOOKS, CRAFT BOOKS AND MORE BOOKS
A pile of mail was dumped on my doormat today, not much of it the kind of stuff worth the creak in the back as I bent to pick it up. Catalogues for wine, shoes, half price clothes. Not exactly junk mail. I’ve bought stuff from all of these companies in the past and they are just keeping me up to date. I just wish they didn’t feel the need to do it so frequently.
It’s one of those irritations that have become part of modern life. That we just live with. That we can’t do anything about. Even when we complain.
Consider the fact that advertisements on the television are always twice as loud as the programme they interrupt. This has become so blatant, so intrusive and there have been so many complaints about it that some worthy body recently investigated the problem. The findings prove that the public, us, sitting at home having our eardrums assaulted, have got it all wrong. The advertisements aren’t really louder. It’s just that the sound is compressed in some complicated way and we think it’s louder.
If my first reaction is to grab the remote and hit the mute button because it’s hurting my ears, something has happened. It hasn’t got quieter, that’s for sure. And it’s not at the same sound level because if it was I wouldn’t have noticed the difference. That only leaves one option.
There is of course an answer to this problem -- one I urge everyone to use. Take care of your precious hearing. Switch off the television (well, the minute Coronation Street is over, anyway) and read a book.
On the subject of books, amongst the bin fodder was a letter from the Arts Council of Wales, enclosing the long list for the Welsh Book of the Year. Ten books in Welsh and ten in English by writers living in Wales with a £10,000 prize for each category. Some interesting looking titles are included, but I’m rooting for Christopher Meredith’s book of poetry, The Meaning of Flight, for no better reason than that he taught my children English at High School.
And, since it’s Friday, I also received my copy of Publishing News". Today they’re featuring "home and crafts" books. Apparently crochet and dressmaking is back. The early seventies was the last time this kind of stuff was a big seller. Anyone else remember “Golden Hands”, with Lady Victoria (aged six) learning to knit? This time the publishers have gone for a slightly funkier image with titles such as "Stitch ‘n’ Bitch Crochet: The Happy Hooker" (apparently it’s not your Gran’s crochet book) and "Yeah! I Made it Myself", although the blurb for "Greetings from Knit Café" suggests that the actual projects haven’t changed much, promoting a “range of up to minute patterns from hiking socks to a bikini”. I remember that bikini from way back in GH days. It was a bad idea then and thirty years on, it’s still a bad idea.
Checking the best-seller lists, I see that Sarah Waters new book, The Night Watch, is riding high. She’s a terrific writer and I’ve had a proof copy by my bed for weeks, reproaching me for ignoring it while I sweated over my own latest effort. I’ve also got the latest by the Kates -- Walker and Hardy -- a Lindsey Davies and an Anne Tyler. Sorry Sarah. I’ll get to you. But not this month.
Finally, I’ve only just discovered that you can buy Mills & Boon titles a month early online at Mills & Boon. And Harlequin/Silhouette titles at the Harlequin website. For those of you who can’t wait for your favourite authors, the April titles can be yours in a couple of days with the click of your mouse.