Coles Books News, Edition 31 – 18th July 2020

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This week it’s been about idling, or rather the desire to do nothing – the reality has been quite different, the busy-ness of business is all consuming, but the prospect of a little idleness is like a beacon on the horizon, a mirage of shimmering light, an oasis in a parched landscape – the attraction of an idle moment is in its elusiveness.

The idler’s idler is perhaps Jerome K Jerome, a man who worked so hard at trying to make something of his life, and yet stumbled across success when writing about idling, his book ‘Three Men in a Boat’ published over 130 years ago has never been out of print since. The following is a lovely extract from his earlier work, ‘Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow’ – he was clearly obsessed with doing nothing!

‘Idling always has been my strong point. I take no credit to myself in the matter – it is a gift. Few possess it. There are plenty of lazy people and plenty of slow-coaches, but a genuine idler is a rarity. He is not a man who slouches about with his hands in his pockets. On the contrary, his most startling characteristic is that he is always intensely busy. It is impossible to enjoy idling thoroughly unless one has plenty of work to do. There is no fun in doing nothing when you have nothing to do. Wasting time is merely an occupation then, and a most exhausting one. Idleness, like kisses, to be sweet must be stolen’

If you too have had a busy week, then we wish you joy for a warm weekend of well earned idleness, and a poem from W.H. Davies, he of ‘Leisure’ which we featured some weeks ago, this time is ‘Joy & Pleasure’.

Now, joy is born of parents poor,
And pleasure of our richer kind;
Though pleasure’s free, she cannot sing
As sweet a song as joy confined.

Pleasure’s a Moth, that sleeps by day
And dances by false glare at night;
But Joy’s a Butterfly, that loves
To spread its wings in Nature’s light.

Joy’s like a Bee that gently sucks
Away on blossoms its sweet hour;
But pleasure’s like a greedy Wasp,
That plums and cherries would devour.

Joy’s like a Lark that lives alone,
Whose ties are very strong, though few;
But Pleasure like a Cuckoo roams,
Makes much acquaintance, no friends true.

Joy from her heart doth sing at home,
With little care if others hear;
But pleasure then is cold and dumb,
And sings and laughs with strangers near.

‘Build, Build, Build’ we hear, but what shall we build? all the great stuff was built years ago by the dreamers and the bold, what chance we get another majestic St Paul’s, a clever Transporter Bridge over the Tees, the gravity defying locks of the Kennet & Avon canal? – Our favourite Coles Signed Edition this week is ‘Palace of Palms’ – a celebration of the dreamers and the bold who built beauty from glass and steel in the gardens at Kew; Cricketing poacher turned game-keeper Ian Gould recalls a life as both player and umpire; our pre-orders for F1 legends Damon Hill & Johnny Herbert are racing along and we’ve added more to the pre-orders for Rob Halford, Steve Hackett, Alan Davies & Oliver Stone; the racy C.A.L.M. from Jehnney Beth & Johnny Hostile has started shipping; more ‘Goals’ signed by Gianluca Vialli are firmly in the back of the net; the last Signed Editions of the memoir of former Prime Minister David Cameron are now available; Saul David’s re-telling of the Battle of Okinawa, ‘Crucible of Hell’, is a tale with an awful outcome; following on from Robin Hobb the other week, we delve into the world of fantasy in ‘The Girl and the Stars’ from Mark Lawrence; for younger readers there’s the delightful ‘The Princess Rules’ from Philippa Gregory and pre-orders for ‘I’m Sticking with You’ by Smriti Halls & Steve Small and the summer read of 2020, Paige Toon’s ‘The Minute I Saw You’ are now available. Finally, from when Wham! met Spandau Ballet, a tale to warm the heart from Shirlie & Martin Kemp – ‘It’s a Love Story’.