I have 3 red bookshelves next to me here at my desk. On those beautiful shelves you will find my favourite books, except for those that are missing in action ... loaned out to friends that I really trust and admire.
I hope to see those loaned books again one day but if not, okay. They were good books, they will only enrich the lives of those who hold on to them. Accidentally. Inadvertently. Although if the friend who has my Maurice Shadbolt book, A Touch of Clay, could return it I would be so grateful.
So I reorganised my books over two days. It's important. I don't have much but what I have, I like to have right.
The top shelf now contains some favourite novels (like Night Train to Lisbon and When Nietzsche Wept), some very small collections (like anything I can find by or about Katherine Mansfield), and biographies ... although biographies spreads over shelves because there are some in the travelers section ... the mountaineers, the war photographers and journalists ...
On the end of that top shelf there are a stack of travel books ... rarely used while traveling but referred to often when home.
The second shelf contains books written by wanderers and wise people (like Tiziano Terzani's A Fortune-Teller Told Me and Honey and Dust by Piers Moore Ede). Then we move into a small collection about writing and creativity (like The Three Marriages by David Whyte). And they stand next to my collection of books from the Middle East, (with favourites like Mornings in Jenin by Susan Abulhawa and To The End of The Land by David Grossman. And one of my most favourite books in the world, I Saw Ramallah by Mourid Barghouti, a poet who writes the most exquisite prose too).
The bottom shelf is closest to me. It begins with my Italian language books, dictionaries, and the books I have on Genova. Mountaineers appear next. Andrew Grieg's Summit Fever is a favourite but I've slipped Simon Jakeman's Groundrush in there too (about Basejumping, an exploration written back at the start of that interesting sport.)
The bottom shelf also holds the stories of war photographers and journalists - factual and fiction. Favourites ... Small Wars Permitting by Christina Lamb and Denise Leith's What Remains. I have John Simpson's series of books, and both of Frank Gardener's. I just purchased A Thousand Times Goodnight on DVD, that's there next to the dvd Which Way is The Front Line from Here.
That shelf, the one that sits closest to me, ends with a collection of poetry books. I have Pablo Neruda by Adam Feinstein and My Happiness Bears No Relation to Happiness ... the biography of Taha Muhammad Ali, by Adina Hoffman. I have a collection of poetry by Eugenio Montale, sitting next to books full of poetry by Kay McKenzie Cooke and Ren Powell too.
And so you have it, unasked for ... a glimpse of those books best-loved by me.
Music I've been enjoying lately?
Well, whenever I wander over this website, I can't resist staying a while, as their auto-play kicks in ...