It’s the annual Reading Festival this weekend, and as a bunch of bookworms we at 4th Estate are very excited to… sorry, what? Oh, it’s Reading as in Reading, the town in Berkshire? Right. So there are no author panels? No writing seminars? Just a ‘limp bizkit’? Hmm. Well, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pack a book or two alongside the tent and wellies…
As Festival Season reaches its peak, we have reams of musically minded material on our bookshelves just waiting for you to discover. Just promise not to read our books on the campsite toilets. And keep them away from the mud:
‘BBC Culture, the arts section of the international BBC site, polled “several dozen” US critics to find the greatest novels written so far this century, with 156 novels in all named by experts from papers including the New York Times, Time magazine, Newsday, Kirkus Reviews and Booklist.’ On this list, we were delighted to see, are SIX 4th Estate novels.
Your brothers are arguing about politics. Mum is losing her mind over the turkey, and your sister, who has decided to promote herself beyond mere vegetarianism and become a vegan, is lamenting the death of the bird like it was once a fond friend. Dad is nowhere to be found, and, frankly, it’s time to follow suit and exit with what remains of your sanity. So slip on your slippers, don your robe, and pick yourself one of those silly hats with the little ball on top. If you’re anything like me, you’ll probably find yourself muttering under your breath and wishing you were the spoilt eight year old again, but that you somehow had retained the knowledge that adulthood really isn’t all it’s made out to be. You leaf through the bookshelves, remembering what it was like to be small and to listen to your Dad reading The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey, or to watch The Snowman and be unaware that the feeling of total peace in those moments would never be that simple or maybe even attainable again. Every Christmas we return to our homes and tables, for better or for worse, different people.
This Christmas we’ve decided to make your present buying a lot less stressful by asking the 4th Estate team to hand-pick books for all your relatives. Hopefully this will mean less umming and ahhing in the bookshop, and more oohing and ahhing on Christmas Day…
Before you start to tire of this scorching summer heat and the apparently bottomless bowls of strawberries and cream, take a moment to remember that the nights begin drawing in from Sunday. Hey, I’m not trying to depress you, honest! I’m simply preparing you for what follows all that summer solstice tomfoolery. But, you may have a point – it is far too early to be turning our thoughts towards autumn, when surely most of us are still looking forward to our summer holidays. And, for literary types, in between figuring out which factor sunscreen we need and whether five pairs of flip flops is four pairs too many, the most important packing-related question remains: what books am I going to take with me?
Stephen Daltry wants to adapt Michael Chabon’s Pulitzer Prize-winning ‘The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay‘ for HBO
Daltry had been signed on to direct, working with Chabon and producer Scott Rudin to adapt the novel for the silver screen (Rudin is also working on the HBO adaptation of 4th Estate’s ‘The Corrections’ by Jonathan Franzen).