Recently I asked Downie about what she was reading. Her reply:
The Shepherd’s Life: A Tale of the Lake District – James RebanksVisit Ruth Downie's website.
This is a fabulous book on so many levels: a family history, a fascinating chronicle of a way of life that’s barely changed for centuries, and a howl of frustration at the lack of understanding between the education system and its rural consumers. It’s also a demonstration of the value of books. “We needed books by us and about us,” says Rebanks, and in writing this one he’s ensured that the ‘invisible’ shapers of England’s beautiful Lake District are invisible no longer.
Murder in Absentia – Assaph Mehr
Mehr’s imagined world based on ancient Rome feels at once familiar and dreamlike. In Egretia, magic is real and potentially deadly. While rival incantatores have been banned from calling up competing winds to speed ferries across the bay – they’ve drowned too many innocent sailors – the powers of magic appear to have fallen into malevolent hands. Failed incantator Felix the Fox is investigating a mysterious death in a growing atmosphere of menace. I can’t help thinking the idea of Death by Magic might be closer to the mindset of some of the ancient world than our modern rationality. And speaking of magic…
Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear – Elizabeth Gilbert
I’m writing this in the week before Vita Brevis is published, and it’s good to calm the rising nerves with a cool dose of reality. “In conclusion,” Gilbert says, speaking of her book The Signature of All Things, “a whole bunch of people had some opinions about my novel for a short while, and then everyone moved on, because people are busy and they have their own lives to think about.”
The Page 69 Test: Caveat Emptor.
The Page 69 Test: Tabula Rasa.