The Happy Reader – Autumn 2015.
The person being interviewed in this season’s magazine is the multi-faceted actor Alan Cumming. Cumming is more than actor, he’s a performer, a cabaret singer, an artist and author. Chances are you know him from somewhere. The interview with him is really varied and I must say for the first time in a couple of issues, it’s clear to see that Alan is incredibly well read across a mixture of genres, and his love for the written word comes across clearly.
Up for the discussion is the season’s book ‘The Purple Cloud’ by M P Shiel. A book that is all about the end of the world, where there only seems to be one psychotic survivor. In modern day society we would probably view this book as incredibly ahead of its time as it seems to discuss the serious and very scary aspects of climate change. But as usual the hidden gem of this issue of the Happy Reader is an article entitled ‘Bear Food’ in which Naomi Alderman talks about her trip to the Arctic with the incredible Margaret Atwood. In the article Naomi talks about the impact of being somewhere so natural, and quiet, can affect busy minds who live in bustling cities like London or New York. There was something about it that just seemed to resonate with me, and even if it doesn’t make you realise how much we have changed as human beings over the centuries, it will certainly make you appreciate the things we take for granted.
Another brilliant magazine, long may it continue. The Winter copy arrived just the other day, so I’ll be sure to post a review when done.
The Happy Reader Issue No 3.
In the Summer 2015 issue of ‘The Happy Reader’ we catch up with the actor, comedian and newly published author Aziz Ansari. I love Aziz Ansari and after reading this interview, I’m even more excited about getting my hands on a copy of his book ‘Modern Romance’ but as enjoyable as it is reading about his reading habits (a dangerous addiction to the website Reddit) it was perhaps the second part of the magazine that captivated me most. Reading about Corsica, which is the setting for the seasonal book choice of ‘Granite Island: A Portrait of Corsica’ by Dorothy Carrington. Learning about his picturesque place was really interesting but the story that captivated me the most was ‘Being a Shepherd’ an article written by Oscar Rickett and follows the story of Erwyd Howells, a freelance shepherd, who leads a very simple and humble life. There was something about his story that really resonated with me. In the modern age where everyone demands results straightaway, where we are surrounded by material objects and technology it’s easy to lose a taste for the more simple things in life. Even love. When Erwyd talks about his late wife, it was enough to bring a tear to my eye. It’s one of those rare stories that seems so beautiful and perfectly told that you appreciate the written word and those who write them so much more. Thank goodness for you Penguin Classics, and your wonderful seasonal magazine ‘The Happy Reader’.
Until next time, my lovely followers, happy reading.
The Happy Reader Issue No 2.
In the second issue of the seasonal magazine by Penguin Classics we’re treated to an interview with artist and rock star Kim Gordon (Sonic Youth bassist, guitarist and vocalist for those who aren’t familiar with the name) and this issue just exudes coolness. Kim is very intelligent and it comes as no surprise that as a child she read the likes Nitezsche and Jean-Paul Sartre. The interview refers to lots of books, so it’s a great issue for discovering new authors and genres and I stuck a few of the novels she mentioned on to my now ridiculously long list of books to read.
The second half of the magazine once again focused on a selected book, for those eagle eyed blog readers you may remember that I mentioned that it was ‘The Book of Tea’ by Kazuko Okakura. The idea is that you read the book before the next issue so you can come to it and hmm and ahh at the pages that are packed with wonderful insights and theories on the book. Sadly, as you may have realised I have gone through a phase of falling behind with my reading (which I am now trying to rectify in full) so I hadn’t had the pleasure to read this season’s book. Nevertheless I feel that it sounds intriguing enough to add it to the TBR jar.
Another delightful issue from the folks of Penguin Classics, however I feel that I enjoyed the last issue more as I’m more familiar with Dan Steven’s and his work. That being said it was great to learn more about the woman considered a legend by many and I also loved the additions of literary ‘snippets’ at the beginning of the issue and the letters page towards the end.
I’m looking forward to starting on the next issue which interviews the wonderful Aziz Ansari (whom I love as the hilarious Tom Haverford in Parks & Recreation) he’s also recently penned his debut novel ‘Modern Romance: An Investigation.’ So I’m really excited to learn more about him and what he loves to read. I’ll be sure to post a review when I’m finished, and who knows perhaps I’ll be able to read some of the selected books and review them at some point too.
Sorry it’s been a little quiet on here but believe it or not it’s because I have been busy reading! Followers of the blog will know that I was having something of a dilemma as I was doing a car share to get to work which was cutting into my precious reading time. Fortunately work required me to be in earlier than the car share was allowing so I have been having to commute on the train once more, so I have had plenty of time to kill. And by kill I mean fill with the joy of wonderful reading.
I had stockpiled a large of amount of reading material and decided that now would be the perfect time to get started, which is why a few weekends ago I cracked open Issue No1 of The Happy Reader. A seasonal magazine for book lovers.
Each issue sees a ‘notable book fanatic’ being interviewed about the books they’ve read, loved, rated and hated. This issue was the turn of Dan Stevens. I’m not sure if I’ve ever mentioned this on the blog before but I have always been, and always will be, a fan of the period drama. Dan Stevens will be most known to the fans of Downton Abbey amongst you, whose portrayal of Matthew Crawley had us swooning, sighing and crying in equal measure. In this interview he reveals his passion for reading and writing, it bounces off the page with genuine excitement, after suggesting some books to read over the Winter months (I did tell you I had something of backlog) the second part of the magazine selects a book and looks at various aspects of it. This time round it was the Victorian classic ‘The Woman in White’ by Wilkie Collins, which I have added to my ‘To Be Read’ list. The whole thing is contained in a wonderful little package containing stunning photos and little notes in the side margins. At an incredibly fair £3 this is the perfect seasonal read. I should also add that at the end of the issue they reveal the book for the following season, in Spring 2015 it’s ‘The Book of Tea’ by Kakuzo Okakuro.
In my opinion any magazine that manages to encapsulate the true passion of a book lover, lots of book recommendations that you may NEVER have considered or heard of, as well as insights into specially selected books is a complete win, win in my opinion. Hurrah to Penguin Classics for once again leading the way in literary beauty. Here’s to the rest of the Seasons.
Happy reading you lovely people.