Today is world book day, but still our sizeable book collection remains boxed in a garage roof space in Kildare.
It’s a horrible thing to do – to go through them, one by one – consigning them to darkness and the inevitable mustiness which will now forever fragrant every turned page.
But that process – of what HAS to stay on the available shelf space, and what is resigned to its fate in a box – we did on the basis of what are the favourites that need to stay in daylight.
Scanning the shelves – here’s a short selection (containing affiliate links) that I would happily be re-reading, if it were not for the pesky military history and biographies that seem to be constantly distracting me :
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes– (Arthur Conan Doyle). The first Holmes stories, and the first one’s I read as a teenager; I now associate all of the stories with winter-time, pre-christmas reading.
How I Came to Know Fish – (Ota Pavel)
The Drowned and the Saved – (Primo Levi). I have many of Levi’s books – he was an Auschwitz survivor, and was obviously tormented by his own survival.
Amongst Women– (John McGahern)
The Call of the Wild – (Jack London). We visited London’s ranch at Glen Ellen in Sonoma (The Valley of the Moon) in 1999 while on honeymoon. What a beautiful place.
Time’s Arrow – (Martin Amis). Think Momento, but actually backwards. The main character wonders why he drives his car while looking over his shoulder. Headwrecking in a good way.
A Month in the Country – (J.L Carr). This is an exquisite, short novel – that was also made into a rather fine movie.
Bright Lights, Big City (Jay McInerney). I am guessing it would be shockingly 1980’s at this point, and the movie version with Michael J.Fox – even more so.
Goodbye, Columbus (Philip Roth). Think this was one of the first books I bought after starting college.
On The Black Hill (Bruce Chatwin)
A River Runs Through it and Other Stories (Norman Maclean). In my humble opinion – this has the most wonderful ending lines of any book that I have ever read.
Now nearly all those I loved and did not understand when I was young are dead, but I still reach out to them. Of course, now I am too old to be much of a fisherman, and now of course I usually fish the big waters alone, although some friends think I shouldn’t.
Like many fly fishermen in western Montana where the summer days are almost Arctic in length, I often do not start fishing until the cool of the evening. Then in the Arctic half-light of the canyon, all existence fades to a being with my soul and memories and the sounds of the Big Blackfoot River and a four-count rhythm and the hope that a fish will rise.
Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world’s great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs.
I am haunted by waters.