I had occasion to visit the small town of Colne a few weeks ago. Colne is small market town just over the border in Lancashire. It has two memorable features, terrible traffic congestion on the approach to the M25 motorway and Boundary Mill, a cut price outlet that was originally in an old mill and now has part of the view of car dealerships and fast food outlets along the road as you sit in the traffic congestion. I have just checked and there are now 5 stores in the group. They used to be coach trips from all the towns across both Yorkshire and Lancashire taking bargain hunters there on a daily basis. There may still be?
Anyway, this time I was in the main street in the town where a daughter had a meeting. I left her and wandered down the street. There on the other side of the road was what looked like a book store. Oh joy, and what a treat it was. A real treasure house and I ended up being late to collect daughter, I was so engrossed.
It mainly sells non-fiction, but there are selected fiction titles there also. You may be able to see in the photo from the Come to Colne website that there is Kate Atkinson and Big Sky (very good by the way) and a Jo Nesbo along with some great nature books. Rebirding is particularly good.
So what did I get? A book on reading by Clive James – see the title of this post. I’ve mentioned his work before, when he left us last year. His writing continues to make me smile. Latest Readings is a series of relatively light discussions on what he was reading while he ‘waited for the lights to go out’. Being ill obviously had no effect on the sharpness of his mind or his wit. It has encouraged me to go back to The Balkan Trilogy by Olivia Manning. I read the first book and then got distracted. I’ll find the other two and their follow up, The Levant Trilogy. He was obviously obsessed by Hemingway, and I’ll give him a miss I think but will revisit Conrad. It is a delight and we are much the worse for his passing, though he does have a new book on poems to read out loud, The Fire and the Joy, completed with his daughter, the artist Claerwen James. It was completed at the very end of his life when he was no longer able to read, but could recite and then critique his favourite poems. It’s also on my future reading list.
I also added to my newly discovered interest in Ancient Greece and in this case Rome too. ‘The Story of Greece and Rome’ by Tony Spawforth is a gallop through antiquity from the 6th millennium BCE to the collapse of the Roman empire. Well I think it is, I’m still reading it. It’s an ambitious book as it aims to tell the extraordinary story of the classical world in its entirety. So far so good.