The Listener by Tove Jansson

bookshelves: autumn-2014, shortstory-shortstories-novellas, published-1971, translation, radio-4

Recommended for: BBC Radio Listeners
Read from August 30 to September 05, 2014

Description: Made for 4 Extra. Two young teenagers look after a sick man through the night. From Tove Jansson’s debut 1971 collection. Read by Indira Varma.

Creator of the Moomins, Tove Jansson, a Swedish-speaking Finnish novelist, painter, illustrator and comic strip author is one of the most successful children writers ever. In her debut collection published in 1971 she tells of what we experience in youth, love, getting older and dying.

Translated by Thomas Teal into English for the first time in the UK to celebrate the centenary of her birth in August 2014.

Producer Karen Rose. Executive producer Jeremy Osborne.

Made for BBC Radio 4 Extra by Sweet Talk Productions

The Sleeping Man: Two young teenagers look after a sick man through the night.

The Wolf: Mr Shimomura wants to draw a dangerous animal, but first he must find one.

A Love Story: For the first time, the painter fell in love with a sculpture of a woman’s buttocks!

Letters to an Idol: She owned all of his books about love. He was her idol.

Lucio’s Friends: Everyone loves Lucio. Don’t they?

Famous for her Moomin books, this was TJ’s debut collection for adults translated this year to celebrate the centenary of the author’s birth. Neato! Each story has something to mull over, to roll around the mouth and smile about.

Beautifully read, calming in nature, these stories were lovely to listen to in the hammock under the shedding leaves in a 2014 Indian summer. The fourth story, ‘Letters to an Idol’ moved this delightful encounter from three to four nd because there were no Moomins in these stories, I shall import four to reflect this rating.

3* Finn Family Moomintroll (The Moomins, #3)
5* Moominland Midwinter (The Moomins, #6)
3* Moominvalley in November (The Moomins, #9)

4* The Summer Book
3* Travelling Light
1* The True Deceiver
4* The Listener

The Dice Man by Luke Rhinehart

bookshelves: sport, published-1971

Read in April, 2008

Description: The cult classic that can still change your life… Let the dice decide! This is the philosophy that changes the life of bored psychiatrist Luke Rhinehart — and in some ways changes the world as well. Because once you hand over your life to the dice, anything can happen. Entertaining, humorous, scary, shocking, subversive, The Dice Man is one of the cult bestsellers of our time.

Read this in those few sober moments on a 50th birthday jaunt in Dublin. The thing about that city is that every other building is an Irish Pub, YES that’s right! and every other other establishment is a sports shop. So dice in hand we went through St.Stephens Green, nodding politely at James Joyce’s bust (as you do), to have some snake-eye craic.

So following dice-law we ended up with

11 rugby shirts – and only when we got home did we realise we had purchased ‘five nation’ defuncts. Still, Cotton Traders make a fine garment, don’tcha think!
6 – Guinness pint pots
2 – Shilelaghs (the plush version)
Each-way betting slip on The Kings Castle, which romped home in a place at 20-1

Blame those ivories.

The book itself is crap, however the idea is brilliantly lunatic – mad I tell ya! So when life seems a bit tame, bring out those dice.