Monday, November 29, 2010

Book Crush

Book crush.

Yes. I have been known to fall a little bit in love with certain books. Once I get drawn in I can’t stand to be parted from it so it goes in every bag. Sometimes I carry it just to keep it close because you never know when you’ll have a moment to pick it up again - waiting for the train, on the train, waiting for my coffee. Right now that book is: Let the Great World Spin by Column McCann. It’s not especially new but it didn’t appear on my radar until a friend from work started raving about it (it also one the National Book Award).

Set in New York in the 70s, it begins with a crowd of onlookers spotting Frenchman Philippe Petit walking on air as he walked across a tightrope between the towers of the World Trade Centre.

Those ordinary people have witnessed something extraordinary and Irish novelist McCann isolates some of those characters and lets their stories unfold, overlap and collide. It’s such an evocative read and New York is treated with as much respect and complexity as one of McCann’s characters. It’s one of those books you read with a pencil, just so you can underline the perfect line.
Here’s just a couple: ‘‘It was a look that suggested she was part of a mystery she wouldn’t let go of’’.
‘‘A bridge lay between us, composed almost entirely of my brother’’.
Anyway. This the book I’m loving right now. More are on the way, I’m sure, but right now - it’s this one.

Photograph: Leonard Freed/Magnum
PS: If you get the chance, read the book first then watch Man On Wire - the fantastic documentary about Petit's 1974 wire-walking feat. Amazing.

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Some Books I've Really Enjoyed

  • Apples For Jam by Tessa Kiros
  • Saturday by Ian McEwan
  • Philip Larkin: A Writer's Life by Andrew Motion
  • The Bell Jar by Syliva Plath
  • Ex Libris by Anne Fadiman
  • Stasiland by Anna Funder

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