Morality

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“The Departing Angel”

Ooh, this is great! Carel Weight is an artist I discovered on Instagram, and who painted mainly between 1945 and the 1970s.

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What I love most is his ability to interpret morality in a modern setting, exactly as medieval books of hours did. For those of us setting off on the Advent journey this is rather nice.

The pictures above are from his series the Seven Deadly Sins (pride; anger), and also show his ongoing fascination with London suburban life:

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This selection are spread across Battersea and Clapham, the places that I knew growing up even if mainly from the back seat of the car.

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And how about this for observation?

Reading outside the box

I posted a couple of months ago about the excellent Instagrammer @sophia_stories and her hashtag #readingoutsidethebox, which got me really thinking about what I tend to read: a lot of female writers, definitely, but usually white, middle-class and from the first half of the twentieth century.

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Now I’m not going to abandon those authors, but they do of course present a certain world-view (see here for Kate McDonald who writes about the deliberate social conservatism of many these writers), and it’s been refreshing to start reading very different voices. Partly this is the result of being in a relationship with someone who can also roar through Waterstones like Genghis Khan on a good day, but tends to scoop up new publications, authors from the Indian subcontinent and non-fiction, so my across-the-bookshelves borrowing is getting far more varied.

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Enter The Reading Women, a blog and podcast that has so far introduced me to this funny and angry book of essays (by the way, her anger at alcohol pressured on young women is fully justified although thankfully it’s not something I’ve had to deal with),

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a range of memoirs including the one at the top of this article, and crime fiction including this debut about a young Muslim Canadian detective:

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In the way of all algorithms, the Internet then led me to The Good Imigrant, which I devoured last week. A collection of essays that covers everything from learning to wear your “black” hair when you’re a mixed-race kid in rural Somerset who doesn’t identify as black to the different voices of home, work and friends, to the hidden racism facing Chinese and other East Asian populations in the U.K., to a series of funny and rage-inducing articles about literal type-casting of actors. I’d say this is a book to buy so I won’t post a whole load of shots from it, but these are both from a piece by Riz Ahmed. One about the restrictions of casting slots and how this interacts with national self-images, and also the continual indignity of airport checks:

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The world is a poem of my senses

The world is a poem of my senses.

The squares, the rushing cars; the trees, the dusty green
acquire their time from me;
the world is a poem of my senses
and ceases when I do.
This proximity, this lengthy moment, the soft feel of skin, are only in me, for me; an impression
or a ring around the illusion of my senses.
When I borrow from you an objective eye
I see (as through reversed binoculars)
how you walk along the bright street
the two of you, in the light of the awnings,
you are far away, ever further, still
you are, but smaller, disappearing.

Eeva-Liisa Manner. More poetry from @sophia_stories feed.

Reading in heels

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Slightly cheesy title, but a fun monthly box that gives you or a friend a new (often newly-published) book plus a clutch of treats for a very affordable price. Put it this way, the price of the book takes up most of the price, and postage is an affordable £2 a month. I’m not sure if I’ve got room in my house for this but it’s a fun way of getting a treat each month and reading something a bit different so I’m going to give it a go for a couple of months and the November box was a wonderful autumnal mix of some true life crime, camomile tea, chocolate treat and cinnamon-y bath oil.

Order now for December…

Softly

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Came across Kristy Kun’s incredibly tactile art at the Su Lam Chinese garden in Portland last month. I loved how in her interview for he show she said she just can’t stop her fingers from playing with fibres. Find Kristy on Instagram @opulentfibers

October 2017.

Surprising

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An unexpected find on a walk recently, I love the mix of beautiful and elegant scripts here that have been put together with as much love and care as colours in a painting.

Haggerston, October 2017.