Where the Mountain Casts Its Shadow – Maria Coffey

Maria Coffey was Joe Tasker‘s girlfriend of 2 years when he and Pete Boardman died on Everest in 1982.

In a way, a good book to read on the way to Uncle John’s funeral, Where the Mountain Casts Its Shadow explores absence and loss, with interviews and autobiography about the impact of mountain climbing on the other people in a high altitude climber’s life – partners, parents and children.

Publisher’s page: Where the Mountain Casts Its Shadow: The Dark Side of Extreme Adventure – Maria Coffey

Retromania – Simon Reynolds

Quite a weighty tome – over 400 pages in paperback – looking at music’s love of the past; revering, recycling, repurposing musical styles and genres across the decades. Particularly fascinating when you get to chapters about times and tunes you remember.

Author’s website: Retromania: Pop Culture’s Addiction to its Own Past – Simons Reynolds

Review: Retromania: Pop Culture’s Addiction to its Own Past by Simon Reynolds – review: Does it matter that pop music is stuck in the same old groove?, Sukhdev Sandhu, The Observer’s, 29 May 2011

New Finnish Grammar – Diego Marani (translated by Judith Landry)

Recommended by all and sundry as their ‘Book of the Year’ or ‘Best summer read’, I found this slight novel rather hard going – not impossibly so, but I struggled to see what all the fuss was about. That said, it provides plenty to ponder on – a man with no memory is (mistakenly it turns out, as you are told early on) identified as a Finn and transported home where he relearns his (assumed) mother tongue. As World War II’s eastern front edges closer towards Finland, he realises that his hard earned new identity is false and joins the Finnish troops on the doomed Karelian front.

Publisher’s page: New Finnish Grammar – Diego Marani (translated by Judith Landry)
New Finnish Grammar by Diego Marani – review by Nicholas Lezard published in The Guardian, Thursday 26 May 2011