A Brighton based Author, Playwright, Insatiable Reader, Publisher ....and foodie.
I thought I would re-read my bookshelves, prior to a much needed cull. Keepers or charity shop? Please help me decide. Most of the books are beloved old friends, some are new, and some are waiting to be tasted. Some need to GO.
I am convinced that one day I will be found buried under the toppling pile of books on my bedside table, but tant pis, there are worse ways to go. I blame it on my mother. She was a true bibliophile, teaching me to read when I was four, begging me with tears in her eyes that “It would be so much fun!” She was right. It was.
Some of her books I inherited (apart from the Dickens which she adored and I had, and have, an aversion to) So, I thought I’d start with some of her old friends.
It's a horrid word. Glut. With overtures of glutton. And all that's associated with 'letting oneself go'. That second helping of risotto, the extra slice of cake, the 'dividend' at the bottom of the cocktail shaker. But - I have had such a glut of good books that I am at loss which to write about. I have been re-reading the inestimable Ms Bedford, as well as Ms Keane - oh, and I am starting for the first time Stendhal. Oh dear. I am glutted out. So is the vegetable world. Tomatoes, courgettes, apples, quinces - they are making me itch to start bottling and pickling and chutneying and - oh you get the picture. It's the perfect time of the year to stand in the kitchen stirring something over the Aga, apple peel on the flagstones, low autumn sun streaming through the sparkling clean windows whilst something jazzy is heard through the open door leading to the music room. Ha, is all I can say. In my kitchen it's mismatched saucepans that really have seen better days but are kept on through sentimental reasons, scarred and burnt wooden spoons, a puppy begging for attention at my feet whilst I stare sullenly at the fridge pondering what I can make out of half a wheel of Camembert, a bag of wilting watercress and a jar of cornichons. But I do like eating seasonally so when I had lunch with at the Modern Pantry with the Sandeep Mahal from the very hard working and wonderful Reading Agency a few weeks ago, we both plumped for the courgette platter. And bloomin' gorgeous it was too, complete with stuffed and deep fried courgette flower oozing with mozzarella, and a wonderful courgette souffle. Oh yes, and vodka spiked tomato relish. Now, they used up their seasonal glut very wisely indeed.
If eating seasonally has it's reasons, so does reading, I think. Autumn is perhaps the time for comfort re-reads.... nothing too taxing, something you can slip into with a hint of relief, like putting on a pair of slippers after tottering all day in stillies. A hint of melancholy doesn't go amiss, as long as we're not talking shudder making sobbing, so nothing that has cruelty to animals in it, nothing too obvious, and nothing that makes us want to jump up and 'do' something. Oh no. The only amount of jumping up that we're going to do is to the kitchen for another bowl of home made soup, or a tray of tea with a tempting fruit scone spread with cold salty butter. Then we can curl back up on our favourite reading place, bed, sofa, or cushion and relax as we turn the well worn pages and let ourselves wallow in a bit of autumn sunshine, shivering a little with delight and awe at the onset of the inevitability of winter.
Perhaps the perfet autumn book for me would be Brideshead. But then, it's pretty perfect all year round.