Some recent books

March 25, 2009

I recently read and really enjoyed the graphic memoir Fun Home by Alison Bechdel (of comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For fame). Subtitled A Family Tragicomic, Fun Home covers Bechdels childhood growing up in a funeral home, her coming out to her family as a lesbian at the age of 19, leading to the revelation of her father’s closeted life as a married gay man and his death shortly after. Bechdel looks back over her childhood and adolescence, coloured by her new knowledge of her father’s sexuality and his death at 44 which she believes was suicide. One of the things I loved about this book was the many literary references. Both her parents were interested in the arts and reading, especially her father, and the book is littered with classics and what their stories may have meant to her father, her mother and their lives.
The cover of Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel
Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel
Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel
I want to read more London-based and London-themed books while living here: Lights Out for the Territory by Iain Sinclair, Hawksmoor by Peter Ackroyd and Mother London by Michael Moorcock. I wonder if I should read a Charles Dickens novel or two while I’m at it. Has anyone got any recommendations? Yesterday I took a bus to Greenford library to borrow Lights Out for the Territory. The book is full of tales of wandering around London. I’m excited about reading it. When I left the library and went to Greenford tube station I was quite excited to find they have wooden escalators!
Wooden escalator, Greenford Underground Station, London
Wooden escalator, Greenford Underground Station, London
Greenford Underground Station, London
I had never heard of them until reading about the tragic fire at King’s Cross Underground Station in 1987 that killed a number of people and one of the changes made afterward was to replace all the wooden escalators with metal ones! I had never seen any until yesterday. Greenford tube is not underground so I guess they get to keep their wooden escalators!

I wanted to read A Journal of the Plague Year by Daniel Defoe, set in 1665 when the plague swept through London (and written in the 1720s). But after starting it, I think this may end up like Robinson Crusoe – I got less than halfway through and stopped because it was really long-winded and boring. Oh well.