It is time to return to my self-imposed Reading Challenge task of tackling the ‘Landing Eight’ selection. After several literary distractions (of which more below) I have decided to tackle The Periodic Table by Primo Levi which I have long intended to read. I have been racking my brains trying to recall where and when I acquired my copy. It is an Everyman Classics hardback edition with an introduction by Neal Ascherson. I am almost sure that I bought this one new (I often put my name and date of purchase or gift on the title page, but not this time) when I was a student in Preston. If I remember correctly, I bought it with the proceeds from winning a student prize. Of course, next week I might have a blinding flash of memory and recall the real circumstances. Anyway, as The Periodic Table has languished patiently on my TBR Pile ever since then, the moment to read it has finally arrived.
I mentioned the literary distractions that have lured me away from my blogging mission. One such diversion was Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall, which I found recently on a bedroom shelf. I had completely forgotten that I had ever bought it. It just goes to show how beneficial it can be to clean ones shelves on occasion. The results often amaze me: gems from a foray to a charity shop tucked away for safe keeping. I should make a memo to self about cleaning book cases more often.
There was a Guardian interview with Mantel this week in which the author talks about the ending of her Thomas Cromwell trilogy. I can see that I might need the tissues handy at the end just as I did in the closing pages of A Place of Greater Safety when I was crying over the execution of Camille Desmoulins. You know how the story is going to end, but it is just the way she tells it. Mantel manages to bring historical figures that you may never have thought too much about before, alive and kicking. I have a feeling that I may resort to the tissue box once more when Cromwell’s story draws to a close.
Other digressions have involved reading books (with my bookseller’s hat on) for reviewing on the brilliant writers’ website www.writing.ie . Recent reviews have been on Tana French’s Broken Harbour and Chris Ewan’s Safe House. I have also been trying to keep up with my commitments to Irish News Review with this piece on the sand sculptures on at Dublin castle this month. I have a notebook with ideas jotted down for articles from various activities, so I have no excuse not to keep writing.
At the same time I must push on with Primo Levi; more next time!