“On the Radar” provides small incidental rundowns on books which I’ve discovered, but haven’t yet purchased. These are titles that I’ve either added to my wishlist or am keeping a close eye on, with a view to adding them. In addition, these are books which I feel may be of some interest to fellow readers, and I welcome feedback as always, on your own opinions and thoughts on the listed titles – especially if you’ve already had the pleasure of reading them.
The Diaries of Sofia Tolstoy [ISBN: 978-1846880803] – It was The Guardian in a recent article on this forthcoming title from Alma Books, who piqued my interest for this title. Not difficult when they proclaim that these published diaries from the the Russian master’s wife reveal Tolstoy as being ‘a cruel and difficult man, indifferent to his family, and endlessly critical’. The book’s not out until October but this is one I definitely can’t wait to get my hands on.
Paris (City-Lit Series) by Heather Reyes [ISBN: 978-0955970009] – I can’t recall exactly how this title from Oxygen Books, or indeed the series, first came to my attention but as soon as I discovered it I loved it. Think travel guide for some of the world’s greatest cities – nothing new there – but then think travel guide containing writings from some of the best writers, both living and dead, and what one has here is something very special indeed.
There’s a London edition scheduled for release later this month (June 16th if I recall correctly), but it’s the Paris edition that’s really piqued my interest. With selected entries from Proust, De Maupassant, Flaubert, Orwell and many more (including a number of contemporary authors), this Paris edition of the City-Lit series looks super appealing. What a fantastic idea, and at last there seems to be a literary work on Paris that matches the precious Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway. Check out the City-Lit website or blog for more information.
Little People in the City: The Street Art of Slinkachu [ISBN: 978-0752226644] – Every now and then one stumbles across an idea that’s fundamentally so simple, yet so profoundly realised, that one can’t help but exclaim GENIUS! I made such a discovery in my local branch of Waterstones a couple of days ago, when I spotted the cover for this book. It’s a picture of a miniature figure of a man holding a rifle, with a small girl cowering behind him. To the side is a real bee (albeit dead) that looks as though it has been shot by the miniature ‘Dad’. I’d just been given my first introduction to the incredible world of artist Slinkachu and his Little People.
Slinkachu’s concept is simple. He buys and remodels miniature model railway figures and then positions them to interact with the urban environment. A simple puddle becomes the scene for a search and rescue operation. An empty cigarette packet transforms into a refuge for a pair of curious children. A lumpy white line on the road becomes the scene for a winter-scape, complete with mini sledge and fir tree. Absolutely fantastic and if you want a taste of Slinkachu then head along to his ‘Little People’ blog.
From Ink Lake: Canadian Stories by Michael Ondaatje [ISBN: 9780394281384] – Take a look at the various reading challenges I’m working my way through right now and it’s plain to see that I’m a big fan of the short story form. With such a love for short stories it’s no surprise I’m drawn like a moth to a light bulb to almost any short story anthology, and it seems the bigger the volume the bigger the affinity. I’ve already declared my love for the Short Story Omnibus from the Great Books Foundation (704 pages of short story reading goodness), and now I’ve discovered one of a similar that’s wholly Canadian in nature. Weighing in at a wrist-busting 736 pages, From Ink Lake contains 49 short stories from a number of top Canadian writers and it looks hugely appealing.