Continued from Page 23
LET me guess, these holidays you are, at long last, going to read Ulysses, Moby-Dick and War and Peace. Good for you, but do yourself a favour and pick just one. Alma Classics has published a new edition of James Joyce’s Ulysses, annotated by Sam Slote of Trinity College, Dublin. So you can flick between the text and notes to help you work out what it’s all about. A much easier holiday read, in time for Baz Luhrmann’s film adaptation, is F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, one of the greatest books. Alma has published a new edition of this, too, with one of the more beautiful covers I have seen on a novel that inspires beautiful covers. And in his centenary year we must include Patrick White, Austra- lia’s only Nobel laureate in literature. Start at the start, with the new Text Classics edition of his first novel, Happy Valley, with a fine introduction by Peter Craven. SOME classic opportunities here, including Edith Wharton’s Summer, Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Tennessee Williams’s Suddenly, Last Summer, JM Coetzee’s Summertime — but the one I want to recommend is the sad and beautiful novella Love and Summer by Irish writer William Trevor, who — at least until I read Alice Munro — is the greatest living short story writer. SETH Casteel’s Underwater Dogs is as advertised: photographs of dogs (briefly) underwater, chasing balls in swimming pools and the like. Hours of fun. So is October Jones’s (not his real name) Texts from Dog, a compilation of text messages between an English bulldog, Cooper, and his human companion. A warning, though: it has adult themes, which I wish I’d noticed before handing over to the seven-yearold (though he loves it). Roddy Doyle’s funny little book Two Pints is a series of conversations between two blokes in a Dublin pub, their subjects ripped for the headlines. You can’t get more summer than 101 Best Austra- lian Beaches, edited by Andy Short and Brad Farmer, a glovebox-sized book that makes you want to jump in the car and drive somewhere wonderful. And how can we end the year without mentioning EL James’s erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey? Surely not even Alan Jones thinks 20 million women can be wrong. And while women have been the big buyers of this book, men should consider this: put a copy in her Christmas stocking and maybe later on she will show you her garters.
That’s it. Happy holiday reading to all.