Spitfire: The Biography - Jonathan Glancey
Headlong - Michael Frayn
Marazan - Nevil Shute
Pied Piper - Nevil Shute
Taking Woodstock - Elliot Tiber with Tom Monte
The Red Baron: The Life and Death of an Ace - Peter Kilduff
Children's Writers' and Artists' Yearbook 2010
The Misanthrope, Comedy Theatre
Films seen at the cinema:
Getting the train to work during the snow, plus Christmas, meant more reading than usual. If I commuted by train every day I would bankrupt myself buying books, so it's probably a good thing I don't.
The author of Spitfire annoyed me from the off with his subjectivity. You're not going to win my affection by using the Forward to criticise New Labour, nor do I care how many model Spitfires he constructed in his childhood bedroom. (He also had a go at Dark Blue World, which I thought was a fantastic movie.) Get beyond that, though, and he's written an interesting and very necessary account of the Spit's career.
Peter Kilduff has written several books about the Red Baron; I enjoyed this most recent one, but I didn't notice much that hadn't been said before.
I read two Nevil Shute books in a day; they are both light and gripping. Marazan was his first novel, and although it's a little rough, themes and patterns for his later works are already discernible. Pied Piper, about a 70-year-old man leading a group of children through occupied France, was touching and exciting.
Headlong is literary and funny and nail-biting. I learned a great deal about art, some of which may be true.
Then came Christmas and Taking Woodstock, which, had I known, my mum had already bought me when I saw the film. There's a lot more gay sex in the book, and I learned some things about the late '60s S&M scene in New York that I could have lived without learning, but the overall sweet and gentle spirit is that of the movie.
My other Christmas read was the Children's Writers' and Artists' Yearbook 2010. Hey, I can dream.
Next: I look back at the past year's cultural activities and draw insightful conclusions. Or not.