He's one of my favourite contemporary writers, part of a handful that I will splash out on the hardcover for and sooner rather than later. I've just ordered this and can't wait to dig in. Here's one advantage of living in the UK; his books always come out earlier here.
I always feel like starting a new reading challenge every September - it's that new school year excitement - but this month I'm going to keep my goals modest and hopefully doable. I just want to have a classic on the go at all times, preferably reading one a month but if it takes longer, well then it just does. My classic for September is Henry James' What Maisie Knew. I recently saw the movie which was good if painful to watch (any child of an acrimonious divorce is going to tear up or have an uncomfortable flashback), but the ending felt a little pat. Just from having read James' preface to the 1909 edition, the character of Maisie seems to span more years, growing gradually wiser and perhaps even a little more manipulative than the six-year old who remains at that age for the entire movie. We'll see. It's been a few years since I read James and it takes a few chapters to get into the rhythm of his prose but I'm enjoying it so far and I've forgotten how biting and nasty some of his characters can be. I'm also hoping to finish the first two volumes of Hugh Walpole's Herries series. I suppose it could also qualify as a classic, but a much more obscure one.
Daytripping:I definitely have at least two trips planned which I'm eagerly looking forward to. I'll be going down to London for the day specifically to see two art exhibits. A few years ago, I read A Crisis of Brilliance: Five Young British Artists and the Great War by David Boyd Haycock and there is now an exhibition of 70 works based on these artists - Paul Nash, C.R.W. Nevinson, Mark Gertler, Stanley Spencer (and of special interest to me) Dora Carrington, with the addition of David Bomberg. It's at the Dulwich Art Gallery in a part of London that I've not been to before, so I'm very much looking forward to exploring both the area and the paintings.
I can't dwell too long though, because I need to get back to central London and the National Portrait Gallery which is hosting an exhibit focusing on the portraits of Laura Knight. She has paintings in both the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Canadian War Museum and I've been interested in her work for some time now. I recently saw the movie Summer in February, based on the novel by Jonathan Smith (on my to read pile too) about artists in Cornwall in the early twentieth century in which Knight and her husband Harold featured as friends of the main love triangle. The movie was a bit melodramatic and not particularly focused on the art but there was great knitwear.
I'm hoping to have time to get to a few yarn shops in London as well (I can move fast when I need to) but if I run out of time, I won't be too bereft, because at the end of the month, I'm off to Skipton and Yarndale!