There were a few articles that really struck me in this week’s Guardian. The first one is titled Laws of Nature. Apparently a movement is gaining momentum that grants legal rights to natural phenomena such as rivers, lakes, trees and mountains. Robert Macfarlane investigates the rise of the new animism. I’m all for it if it means that such wonders of nature are going to be nurtured for future generations instead of being plundered and polluted for business purposes as they often are nowadays. But of course it’s not as simple as that. You can read the article here.
Novel Houses by Christina Hardyment is subtitled Twenty Famous Fictional Dwellings. I had it in my mind that writing books where houses are as much a character as the people was something that was done mainly by female authors, but of course I was wrong about that as you’ll see if you read the review here.
Have you read Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy? I enjoyed them some years ago and I think that the new BBC1 dramatisation has been really well done. I hadn’t realised that Pullman had inadvertently invented the name Lyra. It’s quite a rare thing to do, but the inventors of Pamela, Miranda and Vanessa get a name check, however this article doesn’t mention that J.M. Barrie invented the name Wendy, from calling a little girl a ‘fwendy’ originally.
If we were lucky enough to have a daemon (animal manifestation of the human soul) what would yours be? Mine changes from time to time, but then I am a Gemini – allegedly! Having a red squirrel daemon appeals to me at the moment.
With it being Jane Austen’s bicentenary (of her death) there are lots of things in the newspapers about her. Some well known authors write about their favourite Austen books here.
Jane Austen stars in a Bank of England literary links exhibition. It looks like it would be worth going to – if it wasn’t in London! You can read about it here.
I’m interested in the way language changes so a book called That’s the Way it Crumbles: The AmericaniZation of British English by Matthew Engel might be one I’ll seek out, you can read about it here.
One thing that really amazed me when we were in the Netherlands recently is the amount of English that appears everywhere. There’s no doubt that it must be a great help to people who wish to learn a language to have signs in that language all over the place, but I’m just wondering why the Dutch aren’t ‘up in arms’ about it (as the French usually are). On many shop doors in Dutch towns there were signs saying – Come in – We’re OPEN And also MID SEASON SALE signs were on many shop windows. These were in towns where tourists will rarely visit – we were only there because some members of my family live nearby. I even heard Dutch teenagers speaking in English to each other in the street – I suppose it must be fashionable. Can you imagine teenagers in Britain choosing to speak in a foreign language – for fun?!
I’ve been watching and really enjoying The Durrells on TV and I read a lot of their books way back in the 1970s, so I was interested to see that there’s a new biography of them out now, by Michael Haag called The Durrells of Corfu. It looks from the review though that it might be a bit of a missed opportunity as according to this article by Kathryn Hughes (who seems to know a lot about that family) Haag has stuck to the previous Durrell mythology as written by themselves and has ignored the even more interesting aspects of the family.
There’s a roundup of new thrillers here if that is your interest.
I’m interested in reading a new book called How to be Human by Paula Cocozza which is about an urban fox.
Donna Leon fans will want to read this interview. She tells why she has turned to eco-detective fiction. I have to say that I’ve never read anything by Leon but I know that Joan of Planet Joan is a fan so I’m going to give her a go.
Every Guardian Review section seems to increase my list of books to read, but I can’t not read it!