Sunday, 16 May 2010
One week ago today, Richard Adams turned 90! I've been checking it out with the relevant authorities, and it turns out that 90 is Actually Quite Old. Who knew?
Rather than send him a birthday present, I thought I would take the opportunity to let you all know that he is AWESOME and you should all BUY HIS BOOKS.
Okay, so you've read Watership Down. If you read it as a kid, do yourself a favour and read it again now. It's not perfect -- Michael Palin called it 'politically naive', and you don't question Palin -- but it did teach me the word 'myriad' by page one, when I was twelve. I won't go on about this book any more, other than to say it is a great example of the love of narrative.
I've only read five books by Adams, and they all offer something different. The main point I should make is that Watership Down is his idea of a kid's book. That thick, dark, epic novel... that is him keeping it real with the kids. My favourite of his, The Girl in a Swing, shows you how dark and soul-gripping he can be when he writes for adults.
The fact I've only read five of his books is a travesty, considering how long I've loved his stuff, but it's not all my fault. Those five are, except for one instance I intensely regret, the only of his books I have ever come across in any sort of bookshop.
I hear there's this thing called the internet, which could somehow help me bypass this lack of bookshop-love, but that's not the point. The point is that a great writer is being forgotten about. He is slowly slipping out of our national memory (and the stock in old bookshops is not a bad way to measure our national memory, I think.)
I don't know what to do about that, other than mourn it, shout about it, and look sad. That's what I'm doing now. Picture it.
I thought about entering him into the (deeply influential) LTR Hall of Fame, but Michael says we don't have one. He says they are elitist. When I told him that they were meant to be elitist, he stormed out and went upstairs to eat a KitKat.