The Secret Life of Poems: Tom Paulin
The Exeter Book of Riddles: Kevin Crossley-Holland (trans)
Great Poets of the Romantic Age (audio - read Michael Sheen)
Green Mars: Kim Stanley Robinson (audio - still underway)
The Suspicions of Mr Whicher: Kate Summerscale
The Age of Shakespeare: Frank Kermode (still reading)
The Kingdom of Ashes: Robert Edric (still reading)
The Secret Life of Poems
A present from happytune. Tom Paulin writes about a couple of dozen well known poems in a unique way. I like Paulin. He's the only modern poet who is satirised on 'Dead Ringers'. In this book he minutely analyses the words used by Milton, Emily Dickinson, Wordsworth etc. down to syllable level and conversely relates them upwards to huge political themes. It's a rewarding read, if you just go with what he's doing.
The Exeter Book of Riddles
A present from H. Translations of Anglo-Saxon riddles. They are vivid, poetic, often very suggestive. A good read.
Great Poets of the Romantic Age
On audio. I blogged about this before. Michael Sheen's reading is incredible. The Rime of the Ancient Mariner stopped me in my tracks.
Green Mars: Kim Stanley Robinson
On audio. Not as good as Red Mars, but still very good. I like the growly right wing very yang reading by Richard Ferrone, which seems such a contrast to the flexible lefty yin writing of KSR. I decided to see what else Ferrone has done on audio - would you believe the Left Behind books which are my benchmark for right wing religious crap.
The Suspicions of Mr Whicher
A pretty good documentary overview of the real life Road Hill House murder case of 1860, which helped define Scotland Yard, the detective genre, even the terms we use to talk about crime. It's an easy read, with plenty of research behind it.
The Age of Shakespeare
Shakespeare's Language by Frank Kermode is brilliant and quite a tough read. This on the other hand is easy (I've read half of it since yesterday). A quick review of the milieu in which Shakespeare wrote, quite critical of partisan theories who say Shakespeare was 'really' this or that.
The Kingdom of Ashes
Ah Robert Edric. An austere Northern writer, whom I like a lot. He hasn't really come into the mainstream. To me he's more authentic and less flashy than Ian McEwan. This novel is set at the time of the Nuremburg trials in the late forties. The hero is a young English interrogator, investigating German officers accused of atrocities. I've only just started it, but I like interrogation stories.
Gender - as usual most of the books I read are by male writers. It used to be the other way round. I am biased in favour of women in real life - I don't feel obliged to be even handed to men at all. However, I do read more books by men.