Culture vulture

16th July 2004 at 01:00
Trish Bolton is looking forward to a summer of salsa and stories.

Holiday reading

I'm going to have a week on the Argyll peninsula, and I want to revisit The Summer Book by Tove Janssen. It's a wonderfully calm book about the summers she spent on a remote Finnish island with her grandm\other. You see their relationship and all of nature through the eyes of a child. I also want to catch up with The Number One Ladies' Detective Agency series, by Alexander McCall Smith, which sounds a hoot, and some New Zealand literature, because I lived there not so long ago. I want to read The Mango's Kiss by Albert Wendt, which is about myths and legends from Maori culture and the Pacific Islands.

Summer projects

I manage the summer Reading Challenge, which is called Reading Rollercoaster this year, for Warwickshire public libraries. It will be very busy, with 5,000 children coming into 31 libraries,sharing their reading with parents and library staff and enjoying crafts, arts and storytelling.

This year we're encouraging adults to join in and promoting crossover books. I've recently enjoyed (Un)arranged Marriage by Bali Rai, about a 17-year-old boy from Leicester who thinks he's going on holiday to India and gets left there to become "more Asian" and marry the girl his father has chosen. And I can thoroughly recommend Celia Rees's Pirates.

Away from it all

As well as a week in the Argyll hut that belonged to my grandparents, I shall spend another week at the Edinburgh Festival. I'll try to see a bit of everything: comedy, music and dance.


I started salsa after a holiday in Mexico when I realised what fun it was dancing in clubs between 11pm and 3am. I love Argentinian tango; not the ballroom kind but the original working-class dance, which is very melancholy, passionate and intense. At Edinburgh I'm hoping to hear a concert of tango music by 20th-century composers such as Cage and Stockhausen.

Summer shows

I'm going to a segregated performance of The House of Desire by Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz at Stratford. In the 17th century they used to put the women in the stewpen; men would cross-dress to be among them and the girls would band their beads on the balustrade. We're going to be upstairs, and afterwards there's salsa dancing and tapas.

Trish Botten, 51, is head of Warwickshire's children's and lifelong learning library service. She was talking to Karen Gold. The Reading Rollercoaster is in most UK public libraries from today throughout the school holiday. Websites:; Culture vulture appears regularly in Friday magazine, which returns from holiday on September 3

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