I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that a friend had lent me Staring at the sun: overcoming the dread of death by Irvin D Yalom. Well, one of the many references in it that caught my eye was to the story 'The Death of Ivan Ilyich' by Leo Tolstoy. Naturally I had to seek it out and buy it. I was expecting much angst and Russian hand-wringing, and yes, it's about a dying man struggling to come to terms with what's happening to him; but it's actually quite an easy read and there are some lovely observations in it about the human condition (no surprise there, methinks).
Elsewhere, I have booked some tickets for a forthcoming festival in Corby and the first event I'm going to next Friday is a performance of 'The Man Who Planted Trees,' by theatre company Impronto Teatro, which the programme promises will be 'bold and beautiful puppetry, physical theatre and vibrant storytelling'. The piece is an adaptation of the story of the same name by Jean Giono of a secluded shepherd who plants a forest, one acorn at a time. Intriguing - especially since we are warned to 'wear stout footwear' if we are going to join the audience! Naturally, I've bought a copy of the book, in an edition that is adorned with beautiful woodcut illustrations.
I've recently finished reading Fragile Things, a Neil Gaiman short story collection that my son Sam lent to me. The final tale, 'The Monarch of the Glen', is a novella based on the character Shadow, who first appears in the novel American Gods. Yes, you've guessed it: I'm now reading American Gods - in which there are several references to Herodotus' The Histories.
Do I need to say what I've just added to my 'must read' list?