Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Summer reading material.

Elizabeth (World Examining Works on my side bar) suggested people might like to say what they had read recently so that anybody looking for a good book over the summer would have some new ideas. So here are my suggestions:

2 Non-fiction:

'To a Mountain in Tibet' by Colin Thubron. This is one man's pilgrimage to a sacred mountain in Tibet after the death of his mother.
'Four Quarters of Light' by Brian Keenan. This is an Alaskan journey by Keenan which, as well as being a travelogue is also a spiritual journey.

2 Fiction:

This is more difficult as fiction is such a personal thing. But I have just read
Margaret Drabble's 'The Sea Lady'. It is a good read but also demonstrates so well just what a good writer Drabble is.

Dominic has recently introduced me to Fred Vargas - a French woman detective story writer. We have both just read her 'The Chalk Circle Man' - very quirky, most unusual but a good read and I shall definitely read more of her work.

2 old favourites:

'An Enchanted April' by Elizabeth von Arnim. I read this many years ago but it has recently been reissued by Virago and I have just bought a copy from Amazon. It is delightful although not, I think, a man's book. I especially loved Chapter V where the two ladies are negotiating the path to their holiday castle in the rain and the dark. The whole book is a pleasure to read.

'The Hare with the Amber Eyes, by Edmund de Vaal. This book was originally lent to me by a friend. It is the history of a set of Japanese netsuke which have belonged to the same family for generations. It is absolutely fascinating.

I hope it inspires some of you to read over the holiday.


jeanette from everton terrace said...

I love "finding" books this way. I'm adding The Chalk Circle Man to my list and telling my mom about "The Hare with Amber Eyes" sounds right up her alley.

I just finished "The Fall of Giants" by Ken Follett which I loved. The man can certainly weave a story with a full cast of characters. Much of it in England which I always enjoy.

Am now reading "The Book of Fate" which is just a fun little end of summer read my husband passed along but as usual I'm all sucked in :)

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Ooh. I'm happy to participate!

For Non-Fiction I'd have to mention "My Own Country" by Abraham Verghese. Mr. Verghese is the author of "Cutting For Stone", a book of fiction I would also highly reccommend. "My Own Country" is an account of his time as a doctor in Tennessee in the early 80's, just as the AIDS crisis was hitting that part of the country. It is a compassionate and human look at that horrible time and Mr. Verghese comes to the subject with absolutely no judgement, which is rare. A fascinating, human read.

Fiction... Oh, there are so many! I have been saving the new Kate Atkinson for this month... "Started Early, Took My Dog". And, funny that you mention Margaret Drabble... I'm looking forward to reading "A Day in the Life of a Smiling Woman", which is a new collection of her short stories.

I am re-reading Virginia's "To The Lighthouse" this month. Have just finished two mysteries that were very intriguing. "Turn of Mind" by Alice LaPlante and "Sister" by Rosamund Lupton.

And I try to go back and read "My Family and Other Animals" every summer!

Elizabeth said...

The Hare is one of my most favorite books EVER!
I recommend it highly.
The others are the most interesting suggestions which I will follow up.
Elizabeth and her German Garden is a delight that I must revisit very soon.
Hope we get lots of book ideas!

Heather said...

I recently read The Hare with the Amber Eyes and found it fascinating. I believe you have recommended Roger Deakin's books - thankyou for that. He in turn mentions Ronald Blythe and his name has cropped up in several different quarters, so I have ordered no less than 4 of his books from Amazon! Lots of lovely reading to look forward to.

angryparsnip said...

I too posted books on my blog today.
I loved the Hare With Amber Eyes and wrote about it before because of my connection to knowing Edmund de Waal's ceramics.

I so enjoy looking at what others are reading.

What a interesting post today.

cheers, parsnip

John Gray said...

perhaps a little critique on each one by you, would help?

Dominic Rivron said...

I would suggest:

2 non-fiction:
The History of the World in 100 Objects by Neil MacGregor

The Boys Book of Crystal Sets by WJ May. Out of print, but online:

2 Fiction:
To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
Orlando by Virginia Woolf

2 Old Favourites:
Dubliners by James Joyce
Dune by Frank Herbert

I have a funny feeling my list may lack mass appeal. :)

Shirley said...

Sadly, I haven't read any of these favourites. Now I can keep a watch for them. I have heard of the first non-fiction book.

One of my favourite reads this year has been Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda. I just started reading Still Alice and so far am enjoying it. It has had terrific reviews!

Cloudia said...

my eyes have enjoyed reading the peas in your blog-pod!

Aloha from Waikiki;

Comfort Spiral
> < } } ( ° >

Rachel said...

I enjoyed finding some books on this wet Thursday. I have put my selection on my blog (roadtokazakhstan.blogspot) if anyone would like to see them. The selection includes books from Mark Haddon, Lionel Shriver and Paul Theroux and a recent non-fiction book called Over-Diagnosed - making people sick in the pursuit of health - amongst others. I enjoyed seeing the lists so far and I also like anything by Colin Thubron and Margaret Drabble, I think Dominic is right that the Boys book of crystal sets is not going to send me straight out hunting for a copy. Thanks all the same. Too wet for harvest today.

Dartford Warbler said...

I recently finished reading "The Hand That First Held Mine" by Maggie O`Farrell. Well written with beautiful descriptive passages ( some are Stream of Consciousness , reminiscent of Virginia Woolf in places).

A cleverly woven story of several threads. A real sense of place ( mostly London) and an interesting shift between the 1950s and the present day.

Midlife Jobhunter said...

I added An Enchanted April to my list. Not reading as much when I write, but that, too, shall pass when I need to refill my mind.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Good to see that bloggers are readers on the whole - I suppose that is to be expected though. A lovely wide range to go at - so shall publish the list on my blog today. Heather I do hope Ronald Blythe does not disappoint. There is quite a bit of religion in the books but if that side of it doesn#t interest you it is easy to skip over it. However - his knowledge of background in the subject is fascinating.
Thank you for all the time you have taken.

Gwilym Williams said...

Just about to read my latest library book: Zeitgeist by Todd Wiggins - will let you know ;)