In a new semi-regular series, Quietus writers and friends talk about the books they read for pleasure and the rituals and habits they keep to while reading, with Lara C. Cory, Frances Castle of Claypipe Music, and tQ Books Editor Robert Barry
Frances Castle is reading Sabrina by Nick Drnaso
I live in a small London flat and don't have a bedside table – there just isn't the space. Instead I keep a pile of books, magazines and an old iPad piled up on the floor close at hand. Occasionally the pile topples over, or the wardrobe door knocks into it and, books slide under the bed and get forgotten for a while.
I tend to read at night when my partner is asleep, for this I recently got a little USB light attachment that clips onto a book. It actually works quite well, casting a blueish white light on to the page, and means I can read into the night when I should probably be sleeping. The iPad of course is perfect for reading in the dark. I have an account with Readily which means I read more magazines than I ever did. I'll read pretty much anything music related, all the glossy music magazines and the ones relating to tech, I like to read about new synthesizers, plugins and musical gadgets.
Proper paper magazines, that are part of the pile are Illustration, Pressing Matters (a printmaking magazine) and Electronic Sound. I have to admit to having some unfinished books on this pile that occasionally I’ll pick up. Inspecting it this morning I found Nick Drnaso’s graphic novel Sabrina – I’m more than three quarters of the way through it. it's beautifully done, but I’ve found it a tough read. It’s very bleak, the flat drawing style fitting the banal suburban America where the book is set. A girl is missing, then discovered murdered, and the story follows not only the effect the death has on her friends and family, but also how it is reported online, the untruths and ‘fake news’ that twist what happened. It’s quite an overwhelming and thought-provoking read.
Another half finished book is Roland Camberton’s Scamp, the recent reprint, with the great John Minton cover. It’s a period piece, depicting a post-war bohemian London that is all but lost. I’m not sure what made me put it down, how it slipped to the bottom of the pile. I think because perhaps I felt that Patrick Hamilton just did it better, but I do want to finish it. I also have Camberton’s second book Rain on the Pavements (also with a Minton cover) that I’m still to start.