reading

Read a Book Day

Yesterday was Read a Book Day apparently – as it should be every day. Anyway, here’s a poem to encourage such an activity.

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Beach Reading

Essential to any beach trip this summer
is Mouna Lellouche’s Obsidian Nights,
an exploration of the self and modernity,

and best consumed in its original Berber,
of course. She’s been gone a year now.
There’s no book that shouts ‘READ ME!’

louder than the waves which crash
upon the rocks than John Phillipston’s
fine new exploration of equine prostitution

in early modern theatre, ‘Tis Pity
She’s a Horse’
. I woke one morning
and she’d just cleared out. And, finally,

any time spent relaxing underneath that –
no note, nothing – Mediterranean sun
would be incomplete without the latest –

she’d only taken the little suitcase –
Oriana Malmoud, whose new book,
The Insubstantiality of Things, is a sustained critique

of consumer culture – pizza again tonight –
which, she argues, can only be combated
by a new set of moral imperatives.

Book Group

The last Thursday of every month was Book Group,
When the books would gather together
To discuss Graham.

“He has barely touched me I am sure I am
Only here so he can show off to his friends,”
Complained Ulysses, in a stream of self-consciousness.

“Consider yourself lucky,” cried Fifty Shades of Grey.
“He’s always got his dirty hands all over me. Look at my cracked
spine and turned down corners!”

“At least he’s prepared to put you two on display,” sobbed
Coping with Erectile Dysfunction, limply, from behind
The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.

“The problem isn’t him, it’s you,” declared the Oxford English Dictionary, with meaning.
“You get too involved. With me, it’s just a quick in and out.
We have an understanding.”

“That’s all very well for you to say, pronounce, utter, articulate,”
muttered Roget’s Thesaurus, who always had some words
To add to the conversation.

Graham entered the room, carrying a box.
Dipping into it, he pulled out a slim, shiny metal object.
He stared at it all night, his interest kindled.

The books sat silently on the shelf.

Holiday Reading

Leila lying at the lido,
Lapping up some Don DeLillo.

Bob basking on the bietzsche,
With his daily dose of Nietzsche.

Paul poised by the pool,
Pouring over VS Naipaul.

Tania wrapped in beach towels,
Explores the works of John Fowles.

Cilla instilled inside her villa,
Still engrossed in Friedrich Schiller.

Deborah delays before she dips in,
Immersed entirely in Solzhenitsyn.

But I’m hiding under my duvet,
Reading a biography of Michael Bublé.