Book Quote Friday: The Happy Ending

      Sometimes, at the end of a rough day, all you want is food, bath and the miraculous good fortune of a happy ending in your bedtime read. 

     I know there’s been a bit of a Rose Tremain love in on this blog lately (I most recently talked abut her short story, Moth), but after seeing her speak at the Vintage events I’ve worked my way back through a fair part of her back catalogue. As a general conclusion, it rocks. If you haven’t read much of hers, you should probably stop reading now as seeing the name of the book will tell you the ending of said book (tis tricky to write a post about a happy ending without revealing the ending, of course) and these books are so good that I wouldn’t want to do anything that would discourage you from reading any of them.


Tracey Emin: Love Is What You Want

Ok, here’s a fun  and divisive activity: go up to a group of friends (or strangers) and tell them you’re excited to go see the Tracey Emin retrospective exhibition that’s currently on at the Hayward Gallery in London. I reckon, out of a group of ten, five or six will go ‘no, she’s a fraud/awful person/exhibitionist opportunist’, one or two might go ‘who?’ and carry on drinking and the final two, three or four might express something between vague, sheepish interest and an interest equal to yours (or, more accurately, mine.)
(If you're not sure who she is, maybe click the highlighted words and watch the videos below. I'm not actually sure how well know she is outside the UK.)

I went to see said exhibit earlier this month and I thought it was excellent. There, I said it. EXCELLENT. Moving and raw and immensely affecting. I think her work is vulnerable and touching and immensely powerful in its honesty. Also, I think her work on fertility, childhood and abortion (namely, her childhood, fertility and abortions) has gone some way to lifting the veil of secrecy and shame that tends to hang over such things, and I don’t understand how people target her for her controversy when she’s just expressing what has been a difficult and controversial life. Art is self-expression, after all, so what else would she express? Most of it is actually about a longing for love: familial, nostalgic, sexual, platonic. 

What I did find slightly creepy was the number of mothers with children and babies in prams watching the video installation How It Feels; if you’ve seen that you’ll probably be able to imagine how unsettling that might be. But then, I guess that’s the whole point of it. By expressing her own experience of it, she unites others who’ve experienced it but can’t, or don’t want to, say. Tellingly, there were people of all sorts there, and lots of them too.

Anyway, that’s probably enough from me, except to say GO AND SEE IT if you can, if only to put meat on the bones of the arguments against.

This is the gallery’s overview of the exhibit:

Her thoughts on the retrospective:

And a clip of a Sky Arts interview, ‘In Confidence’, in which Laurie Taylor exhibited, to me, a complete ignorance on the processes and meaning of art (that part isn’t really in this short excerpt though):

The Tracey Emin: Love is What You Want exhibit is at the Hayward Gallery until the 29th August 2011.

For more information on Tracey Emin, see her page on Artsy.



     So, I have some news - Tolstoy is my Cat is now available on Kindle!

     Yep, I have stumbled onto another platform. Apparently the benefit of purchasing a subscription is that it automatically updates using 3G, so all the posts appear on your bookshelf like latest editions. So you never need miss a post.


Book Quote Friday: Bohane

City of BohaneYou know, sometimes you come across a book that shatters your concept of what a book could, or should, be with a new hook, a fresh turn or a incredible imagination stretch. You lay it down halfway through and exhale deeply, incredulously, not wanted to let it go from your hands but needing to take a break to come to terms with the onslaught. The magical and spell-binding onslaught. You’ve had that, right? This book is one of those. 


Calling All Book Bloggers!

     I was recently reading The Bookseller magazine (as I am now a bookseller myself) and I came across a great article by Scott Pack that stated that newspapers were missing a trick by not inviting book bloggers to place the odd review in print, blogging now being the more dynamic medium.

     Read the article in full here.

     What I'm wondering, dear book bloggers, is how you feel about this:


More4 TV Book Club Review: The Book of Human Skin

      So, being amongst the luckiest girls in the world, the TV Book Club on More4 asked me recently whether I’d mind awfully reviewing parts of their Summer Reads 2011 series of books for them. Yes please, I said, quietly air-grabbing and doing a dance.

     This is the first of my choices: ‘The Book of Human Skin’ by Michelle Lovric.


Over-Egging the Pudding

     As some of you may have noticed from my general absence and my slow comment replies in the first half of June, I have recently been away from my desk and en vacance around the south-western region of France. It was tres jolie et reposant, travelling from Bordeaux to Biarritz, Beziers to Bergerac (I didn’t plan those alliteratively) in weather conditions often not dissimilar to the UK (i.e. cloudy with a bit of rain) but occasionally glorious. Anyway, if you look at that route on a map, you’ll see it goes straight past Lourdes.


Book Quote Friday: Returning to the Book

     From the film, I mean.  

     I was too young for Bridget Jones the book when it came out, but was ideally placed for Bridget Jones: the Movie and Bridget Jones: the book genre/purveyor of massive pants. I knew it was a book, of course, and knew it was a classic, but never felt any great urge to seek it out as I’m not the biggest fan of chick lit or British comic writing (sorry!). However, having finished the magnificent 'City of Bohane' earlier in the week (blog post about that coming soon), I found myself on holiday in my beautiful French farmhouse with nothing to read and someone else’s bookcase to raid; i.e. THE DREAM. So, Bridget Jones’ Diary finally entered my hand.

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