A game of two halves this week, with two brand new books and two secondhand smashers.
I started the week buying Lynsey Hanley’s ‘Respectable: The Experience of Class’. I liked her last book, ‘Estates’ – a personal history of British housing estates and their decline – and this new one promises a look at class and how it affects you, clings to you, what it means to you and what it means when you move from one class to another. Hanley’s book will sit alongside books by John Grindord (‘Concretopia’) and Owen Hatherley (‘A Guide to the New Ruins of Britain’; ‘The Ministry of Nostalgia’) as great examples of my generation looking at how the culture which nurtured us is changing and disappearing.
Next, a beautiful book – Helen Oyeyemi’s ‘What is not yours is not yours’. I haven’t read any of Oyeyemi’s earlier works, so I thought I’d take a gamble and risk £14.99 on this collection of short stories. It really wasn’t difficult with a beautiful cover, exposed spine/ stitching and an uncommon, delicately thin paper.
After Saturday’s usual troll around the charity shops, here are my Saturday Smashers:
Murray Smith’s British Film Institute monograph on ‘Trainspotting‘. I love these BFI monographs. There are two series: BFI classics and BFI Modern Classics, with each slim volume devoted to an individual film. The writers come in all shapes and backgrounds, some well known – Salman Rushdie (‘The Wizard of Oz’) – others less so. Each also brings their own angle on the film. Some are crushingly academic, while others are deeply personal. My favourites include the fantastic Camille Paglia on ‘The Birds’, Richard Dyer on ‘Brief Encounter’ and Mark Kermode on ‘The Exorcist’. They can be quite expensive, so whenever I see one in a charity shop I always grab them.
And finally, John Burke’s novel of the film adaptation of Ian Fleming’s ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’ (?!?). A book to sit alongside my Puffin books collection, this pretty little number boasts some great photos from the film, in particular that of one of the cinema’s most terrifying creations: The Child Catcher…