Books of the year 2010 | Paul Muldoon

Life by Keith Richards


Among the books that stood out for me this year was Keith Richards's Life (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, £20), a fairly comprehensive history of the man, in which he nonetheless somehow fails to mention that the time he fell off the library ladder in his house in Connecticut he was in search of a coconut, while the time he fell out of the coconut palm in Fiji he was almost certainly looking for a slim volume of verse. Perhaps it was something along the lines of Thomas Hardy's Unexpected Elegies, selected and with an introduction by Claire Tomalin (W W Norton, £9.99). It includes one of my favourite Hardy poems, "Under the Waterfall": "Whenever I plunge my arm, like this,/In a basin of water, I never miss/The sweet sharp sense of a fugitive day/Fetched back from its thickening shroud of gray."

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This article first appeared in the 22 November 2010 issue of the New Statesman, Advantage Cameron