Thursday, March 10, 2011

yellow, bumble bee, books


Posted by PicasaYellow is the cheerful colour of this time of year. Apart from daffodils, there are in flower just round here in gardens and in the wild, gorse, primrose, lesser celandine, winter jasmine, and this forsythia.

The sun disappears this afternoon and the wind, laden still with icey whispers, blows round my ears. Undeterred a bumble bee, must be a queen in search of somewhere to build a nest, zig zags ahead of me, as I walk up Mount Sion.

Although I buy fewer books nowadays and  have a reading list that stretches to the moon, I still get a thrill on the rare occasions when a book arrives in the post. Today not one but three books are brought to the door by the postmen. One is The German Genius  by Peter Watson  (Barrett Bonden reminded me of its existence and recommended it  in Works Well ), which I can't wait to read. The other two are books of poems by Heather Dohollau. It was she that Lucy Kempton  so successfully introduced to Qarrtsiluni for its translation theme, with translations  into English by the author from the original French. These books are delightful to handle, lovely heavy paper and  light board covers, but it is the content which above all makes my day today. I always have to read poetry slowly and when it's in French even slower, but these poem have already gripped me from the start with their sense of mystery and the mystery of place and a gentle melancholy too of the sort which cheers rather than saddens the spirit.   "... de combien de nuits a besoin le jour pour être jour? "How many nights does the day need in order to be day?"  Elsewhere she refers to walls in the morning laineux de lumière,  literally"woolly with light", an image which strikes me original and startlingly accurate, when you think of the soft light of dawn.

2 comments:

Barrett Bonden said...

Re. The German Genius. You add a point I failed to mention. It's a long book (about 800-plus pages as I remember) and yet its three dimensions combine to produce the perfect shape. One might almost say it was definitive in its bookishness. Fits the hand ideally. Well chosen typefaces. And then, of course, there is the little matter of the contents...

What's also suprising is how unsatisfactory many books are when it comes to shape. I fear the Americans frequently favour landscape rather than portrait format and I find this dis-orienting. I recently discarded a book, one-third read and acquired at some expense from a bookshop on the Eastern Seaboard, which suffered from this debilitation. I should add it had several other more indigestible failngs also.

Plutarch said...

You are right about landscape. Wide type areas and narrow margins are as bad as small print.Type should be easy for the reader, rather than become an exercise in concentration. You're right too about The German Genius. It looks comfortable. I can't wait to get started.