Good Saturday to you,
Most likely it will be absolutely roasting outside when this is posted. This is being written on Thursday night and it is very, very warm now too. I was out for a walk a little while ago and it was 27.8 degrees centigrade, according to a temperature gauge passed en route. Far too warm for me. I know some people love the heat but I can only deal with it in very small dozes. Plus the hay fever. Hence I’ll probably spend much of this weekend inside with a book.
I’ve written here before about the Scottish Makar, Jackie Kay. Today I came across a poem of hers I hadn’t seen before, Fiere, and it is excellent, about friendship, love and the adventures those things bring. Plus it’s in Scots, which is always a good thing. The Dictionary of the Scots Language cites its use by Burns and Allan Ramsay, amongst others. Fiere, or fere, is a wonderful word, archaic perhaps, but beautiful, a more vivid word than friend or spouse, which it can mean. Read it if you can.
A lot of us will have spent a lot of time lately with books, print, digital or whatever. Last week I was sent an article from no less than the Times Educational Supplement. I know, oooh, ladidah. Anyway, the TES published a list of 100 books which teachers say all bairns should have read by the time they leave school. I skimmed the list then read it later, making a rough note of what I had read from the list. I came up with 17, which is decent though clearly my education must have been deficient in some way not to have read them all. These lists are subjective so another list would have been come up with by a different group of people. My list, for what it’s worth, is:
- 1984 (Orwell)
- To Kill A Mockingbird (Lee)
- The Harry Potter series (Rowling)
- The Catcher in the Rye (Salinger)
- The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (Haddon)
- The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)
- Holes (Sachar)
- Catch-22 (Heller)
- Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (Stevenson)
- The Hunger Games trilogy (Collins)
- The His Dark Materials trilogy (Pullman)
- Fahrenheit 451 (Bradbury)
- Around The World In Eighty Days (Verne)
- The Fault In Our Stars (Green)
- Treasure Island (Stevenson)
- The Bell Jar (Plath)
- On The Road (Kerouac)
I should point out that I read most of these in my teens, though the most recent of these I read was The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, which I read a year or two ago, and before that The Fault In Our Stars by John Green, which was a bit less recently than that. What one person considers a classic, the next could consider it utter pish. Whatever works.
At the moment I am still re-reading Harry Potter, now on Deathly Hallows. In other JK Rowling news, I have been reading her new children’s story online, The Ickabog, which is decent, and also listening to the new audio version of Philosopher’s Stone, finishing the Sorting Hat chapter read by Olivia Colman, Jonathan Van Ness and Kate McKinnon earlier this afternoon. I did ditch a book earlier this week, which I don’t do often, though won’t name it. It was a comedian’s autobiography, incidentally. Olivia Colman is excellent and her imitation of Maggie Smith playing Professor McGonagall was absolutely class. Simon Callow, Olivia Colman and Numa Dumezweni are my favourite readers so far.
I usually pick the picture which accompanies the post based on the contents but there’s not much I can work with so far! On Sunday afternoon, I walked to Rosshall Gardens, which is not so far from here, and had a wee turn around the gardens avoiding the rain and other people. My favourite part was walking under the trees amidst the flowers. My hay fever had a party afterwards, mind.
Anyway, that’s the Saturday Saunter for today, Saturday 30th May 2020. Thanks for reading. Wednesday will see the return of Loose Ends Redux, which will be right across Scotland. Until then, cheers just now.