Back to Books


For some time I have been struggling with the reading of books. If you read my last poem here on Chapter and Verse you will see how I feel about it. I am pleased to say that I think I have broken the spell. That is to say, I, along with the help of someone else among you, have broken it.

When I began this blog, it was in many ways to break free of my older archived material, and to begin a new voyage of poetic discovery. I entitled the blog Chapter and Verse because I was worried that the poems wouldn’t come, but the book-reading would. Funnily enough, it has been the other way around.

I am a very big fan of the writing of the very enigmatic “Oglach” on the Na Triobloidi blog. His words captivate me at every turn, and through some lengthy exchanges back and forth in the Comments sections of our blogs, we have learned something of each other. Not the least of which is, although we grew up on different sides of the Atlantic, and I believe there is an age gap of about 14 years (I’m the older one), we have grown up with quite similar experiences – his being a born and bred Irishman, and mine, being the daughter of a born and bred Irishman who landed himself in Canada back in the 1950s.

I have come to trust “Oglach” (though I wish he trusted me enough to let me know his real name) and when he wrote about the book pictured above in his memorial tales, “Across the Room and Into the Fire”, I was determined to track the book down and crack it open. We even chatted about this, with his being certain if I could not find it at my local small-town library, surely it would be available through an inter-library loan?

Well! Not only was it available through my own library system, but when I picked it up at the circulation desk this morning, it was a brand new paperback copy! Talk about a coincidence.

One thing Oglach does not know about me, is that I was virtually raised on War movies. My father was a fanatic for them, having been in the British Army himself for 11 years, not seeing direct action (he was only 15 when he signed on), but being sent to Singapore and the Far East after the war had ended. He was a part of the Royal Corps of Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (though to be honest, I never saw much evidence of this in his later life) and though a Roman Catholic, he got along with just about anyone and seems to have thoroughly enjoyed his time as a soldier in the British Army.

As for me, one of the first movies I was ever taken to see as a child was, “The Battle of Britain”, and now I have my own collection of War Movies and a few books. I read “Black Hawk Down” by Mark Bowden a few years ago, which is definitely not for the squeamish, and surely not a big favourite with women who enjoy chick flicks (can’t say that I do). I grappled with the book, but was determined to get through it, and am very glad that I did.

I do not expect to have any trouble reading Oglach’s recommendation of this Dalton Trumbo classic. I am familiar with Trumbo’s screenplays, having seen “Spartacus”, “Exodus” and “Papillon”.

Tho’ yesterday, my book-drought was broken by a breezy whip-through of the gentle epistolary delight, “84 Charing Cross Road” by Helene Hanff, I am itching to find out what happens when, “Johnny”gets his gun.

Thanks, Oglach (whoever you really are). I am indebted to you.