Thursday, 12 July 2012

Book Finds

'All Fall Down' by James Leo Herlihy is my literary find of the week. It's a Penguin from 1960, and it's one of only a handful of books by the author of the novel that the brilliant film, 'Midnight Cowboy' was based on. This particular Herlihy novel read a little like Salinger - with a teenage protagonist obsessed with keeping journals filled with overheard conversations, and endlessly observing and analysing his (as they say) dysfunctional family. It's a wonderfully written, funny and gut-wrenching novel, and I can't believe I've never heard of it before.

Herlihy was apparently a gay contemporary of Tennessee Williams, and pals with amazing people like Anais Nin and Talulah Bankhead. His home in Key West became a hang-out and haven for dispossessed hippies and drop-outs and even Ishwerwood (no slouch when it came to debauchery) was reportedly surprised by what went on. I've spent the whole week mulling over this novel and looking forward to discovering more of his work.

Nick from 'A Pile of Leaves' just sent me this fab photo of Herlihy - signed for Anais Nin... (now I must look him up in the index of that huge and wonderful biography of Nin I read over ten years ago, and see if he's there...)

My other bookish find of the week was a shop. Jeremy and I were in Blackburn so that I could give a reading at the library (it was surprisingly well-attended, given the weather! and I had a warm welcome!) Earlier in the day we discovered a wonderful bookshop called Rebound - link

Do check it out if you're in Blackburn. It's a gem - with a little cafe, but we missed out on that, turning up for the last half hour of the day. I came away with a small pile of old Puffins, of course...

And finally today...  look at this pile of spooky stuff. Prompted by the unsummery weather, I've been building up a little collection of scary/ghostly/spooky books ready for autumn. First though, I've got 6 left from my pile of 16 books I set aside for midsummer. I'm roaring through them... and have only had to abandon two at the 50 page mark, and one at the 100 page stage...!


  1. That looks a fabulously spooky pile. With the Moomin melancholy coming in at the edge.

    I'm planning a Sherlockian September.

  2. 'Here Be Moomins...'! Which Sherlocks will you read, Nick?

  3. I have Gaslight Grimoire – a Mammoth book of new Holmes stories – both on my Kindle – and the Beekeeper’s Apprentice.

    Me and my friend Nicky were walking past a shopful of London tat and she was attracted by a Holmesian toby jug, which inspired a plan to visit that Baker Street museum, and the Sherlock Holmes pub with all his ephemera in.

    I might also have a go at writing a story for Pile of Leaves, post-Efbenson – called Doctor Watson’s Peculiar...