Some Books I Love

Saturday July 12, 2008

Comet in Moominland

Still busy getting ready for the move, so this will just be a short post. My local branch of Waterstones bookshop is doing a display over the summer about local authors, and have got in touch to ask me to recommend three of my favourite books, and to write a bit of blurb about each. After a bit of thought, I came up the following list. I’ve included the blurb that I sent to accompany my recommendations as well, just for the sake of it.

It is said that half of the world’s population now lives in cities. Calvino’s slim collection of dreams and fables and tall tales is perhaps the sanest guide there is to life amid the endlessly proliferating sprawl. Should be required reading for all town planners.

An extended poetic meditation on absolutely everything, Lucretius’s book is an exquisite love-song to the material world. My idea of utopia is of a place where, instead of a Gideon Bible, in every hotel room there is a copy of On the Nature of the Universe.

A comet appears in the sky and the world is threatened with destruction. A philosophical muskrat pronounces that the end is nigh. And Moomintroll and friends set out to the Misty Mountains to consult the astronomers. Jansson’s book is a reminder of the fact that, even in the darkest times, there is much value in friendship, and in the baking of a good cake.

# · David Chapman

In Bhutan, every hotel room has a thangka or two on the wall, and a Buddhist scripture in the drawer of the bedside table.

I thought that was pretty damn close to utopia.

I have put Lucretius on my list — thank you for the recommendation.

I have always loved the Moomintroll books.

# · Dave

I guess it makes sense that that would be your favorite of the Moomin books, what with the Muskrat and all. (Me, I’m most partial to Moominland Midwinter. I idnetify strongly with Moomintroll in that book.)

I guess I’ll have to get a better translation of Lucretius and give it another go. It’s been decades.

# · Mathias

I wasn’t aware that the books about Moomin existed in more languages than Finnish and Swedish! Nice to see that someone from “far far away” have actually heard about them too :)

# · Elee

Mathias, everyone’s heard of the Moomins! There used to be a children’s animation in the UK in the 1980s that was quite dark and scary, but lots of people have also read (and loved) the books.

# · ramon sanchez

just to say i am really enjoying lucretius I’m about half way through and i begin to see why people read and study the classics.truly we have had a dark age between his world and ours. thanks for the recommendation ramon (:(:(:

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