Firstly, a holiday read. As I will be in Mallorca in a few weeks time, it seemed only pertinent to pick up this classic of Catalan literature which has just been issued by Penguin books. Merce Rodoreda has been hailed as one of the finest Catalan writers of the twentieth century and this novel, ‘Death in Spring‘ was published just after her death. It concerns a young man’s coming of age in a remote Catalan village, having to learn ‘how to live in a place of crippling conformity’. I loved Rodoreda’s ‘A Broken Mirror’ (1962) which chronicles three generations of a rich family from Barcelona, from the 1870s to the Spanish Civil War and while ‘Death in Spring’ sounds like a different beast altogether, the prospect is enticing.
Next is a Waterstone’s bargain: ‘The Mad Boy, Lord Berners, My Grandmother and Me’ by Sofka Zinovieff:
‘Faringdon House in Oxfordshire was the home of Lord Berners, composer, writer, painter, friend of Stravinsky and Gertrude Stein, a man renowned for his eccentricity – masks, practical jokes, a flock of multi-coloured doves – and his homosexuality. Before the war he made Faringdon an aesthete’s paradise, where exquisite food was served to many of the great minds, beauties and wits of the day…’
And last but not least, the most essential purchases of the week were new Doctor Who novels. During the original television run of ‘Doctor Who’ (1963 – 1989) almost every serial was made into a novel which, in the days before video recorders, constant repeats and DVDs, were the only way in which fans could relive some of their favourite stories. They were published under the ‘Target’ imprint from the early 1970s onwards and became a lifeline for fans…
…and, finally, the ‘Target’ imprint has been resurrected by BBC books and we finally have some new additions to the range. One – ‘City of Death’ is an adaptation from a 1979 which wasn’t written at the time, but the rest are based upon the stories from the resurrected show, starting with the very first story, ‘Rose’, adapted by the scriptwriter (and ‘showrunner’) Russell T Davies. I have written before about how much the original ‘Target’ range means to me and these have made me very, very happy.