So, Summertime: sun, sandals and seaside or perhaps festivals, fetes and frisbee… but definitely not rain, rain and more rain to add to the already depressing political climate.
But… there is one summertime activity that is gloriously indifferent to any mood be it tempestuous or parliamentary and that is reading. I am not really a fan of holidays away – why travel all that way to be stuck with people all determined to have an amazing time and which will never live up to the dream? I prefer to holiday solo at home, it is after all meant to be a relaxing time, time to renew the old batteries etc! But I do enjoy choosing the books for said holiday and take great time to choose the perfect range of reading – fiction and non-fiction, new books and old classics. My choices are listed below and are guaranteed to lesson the pain of bad weather, travel delays and irritating people.
Doctor Glas, Hjalmar Soderberg – I shared a love of this little-known Swedish novel with the much missed Literary Agent, David Miller and I am delighted that it has just been reprinted. An extraordinary psychological study of one man’s obsession.
T Singer, Dag Solstad – a modern Norwegian novel endorsed by Geoff Dyer and Knausgaard, I have been longing to read this after we read another of the author’s works in a book group which was so fresh, funny and thoughtful.
Life Among the Savages, Shirley Jackson – I am a huge fan of the strange world of Jackson’s fiction so was so excited to learn of the reprint of this book which is an autobiographical account of motherhood and family life in a ramshackle house in Vermont and not without her trademark macabre humour.
Gorky Park, Martin Cruz Smith – I have never read this book but it is a favourite of Mick Herron whose Slough House spy novels have been such a success in this bookshop and our Crime book group so I am more than willing to take this away with me for a bit of murder and mayhem.
Last of Her Kind, Sigrid Nunez – Nunez won the National Book Award for her book, The Friend which F and I have been recommending to everyone so I am desperate to read more of her books, and happily, this one will be re-printed imminently.
The Lost Boys, Catherine Bailey – Anyone who has read Black Diamonds or Secret Rooms will know this writer and this, her new book, sounds just as exciting. The true account of a family torn apart by persecution and war in Nazi Germany.
Idaho, Emily Ruskovich – winner of the Dublin Literary Award, a dark thriller erupts out of a rural, summer’s day setting.
Rachel Ray, Anthony Trollope – There always has to be a classic in my suitcase and I have never been let down by Trollope and this comes recommended by E who is French and loves this book – no more to be said!
And of course, I shall be diving into Big Sky, the new Jackson Brodie novel by Kate Atkinson. I had forgotten how wonderful this series is but then we read the first in the series for our book group and I am now re-reading the lot before embracing Big Sky – in Brodie heaven!
Have a good Summer and some great reading!