Seamus K - Irish tech industry expat living in Sweden.

Tag: books

Beautiful books

I saw the fabulous looking trailer for the BBC/HBO’s adaptation of Philip Pullman’s “Dark Materials” today. I may have to re-subscribe to HBO for that one (while also catching up on the Handmaids Tale, and Westworld). The trailer did remind me that I have no idea where my copies of the books have ended up. Having moved country and house multiple times in the last few years, loads of things have gone missing. Where is my favourite book on Irish history, or my copy of Good Omens? So many moves, so many prized things lost… ūüė•

dark materials hardback

Hardback copies of Philip Pullman’s “His Dark Materials”

I would love to get a set of all three Dark Materials books in hardback for my shelves. Can anyone lend me ¬£150 for a custom printed set? A friend once said to me of the trilogy that – this was a set of books you would put on a high (but not too high shelf) in a prominent place. And then you tell your children they are not allowed to read them ūüôā


hardback jane austins

Hardback Jane Austins, and Mr Darcy

There are a few other books in my collection, or which used to be in my collection, that I would love to replace with good hardbacks (money and space allowing). I was in a friend’s house recently and she had a pretty set of Jane Austins alongside her Mr Darcy mug. The nice thing about these is that as well as being in subtle understated colours, they were smaller. Too many hardbacks are giants of books, that can only be read at home. Books are companions that you should be able to bring places with you!

Swedish Harry Potter covers

Swedish Harry Potter hardcover editions

One thing I have noticed, is that I often prefer the hardbacks which I see available outside of the English speaking world.  In Dublin bookshops the hardback sets can be be bright, almost gaudy, with different colours used on each of the books in a set. But look at these anniversary hardback issues of Harry Potter on sale in Swedish. The artwork is beautiful, the colours simple, and the books look good together. Putting all of them on a bookshelf together would make the room look prettier!


Children’s classics – may not work as well today

I finished reading JM Barrie’s original Peter Pan book this evening. My girls asked me to read it to them. But I quickly discovered the classic text wasn’t really suitable for a modern 4 and 6 year old. You do find it is not the book¬†you think it is, especially if you have grown up with the Disney version. Peter Pan is a¬†selfish shit. Tinker Bell is a scheming shrew who actively tries to murder one¬†of the children. And the whole thing is laced with a rampant sexism that is hard to overlook even with the most generous eye (women/girls are just there to cook, clean and generally act as skivvies for the boys).

On balance I would have to say that it is not suitable for children today. You need to find some other sanitised version.

As an adult though, you can draw a smile from some of the slightly dated language. This passage amused me on the plane this evening:

“The little house looked so cosy and safe in the darkness, with a bright light showing through its blinds, and the chimney smoking beautifully, and Peter standing on guard. After a time he fell asleep, and some unsteady fairies had to climb over him on their way home from an orgy. Any of the other boys obstructing the fairy path at night they would have mischiefed, but they just tweaked Peter’s nose and passed on.”

I know the word meant something else a century ago. But if I read that to my 4 and 6 year old’s I just know that at some¬†stage they would state in public (mortifying their father) that¬†they wanted to take part in “a fairy orgy”!


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