Monday, June 18, 2007

Holiday Reading

I have always loved to read. So many of my childhood memories are book related and I really hope to pass this love on to Olive. I always have several books on the go at the one time, and I'm terrible company if something really grips me, I just can't put it down (sorry Matt!) We recently returned from a week long holiday in Sicily and here are a few of the books I managed to work my way through.

The Story of You by Julie Myerson. I love Myerson's writing. So simple and stark. Always with a dark side which haunts me for a long time after I've finished. Although I don't know how much more of her work I can read now as it touches me too much. This tale of a mother who has lost a child just touched on too many of my own fears. I was sitting on the beach under a hot Sicilian sky with tears pouring down my face. Matt said "Can't you read something cheerful for a change?' and I have to agree with him on this one.

So I then re-read an old copy of Bill Bryson's Notes on a Small Island which was in our villa's bookshelf. I was lucky enough to work with Bill on a marketing campaign for A Short History of Nearly Everything when we were living in Sydney. He is a lovely man and this book remains laugh aloud funny.

Another book from the villa shelves was State of the Union by Douglas Kennedy. A typical book group weepie, but he has a very convincing female voice. If you ever want to weep an afternoon away also try The Pursuit of Happiness. My final selection from the villa was a book about a cookery writer who finds her actor husband's mistress with her head bashed in on her kitchen floor so she ridiculously cooks her up and serves her at a dinner party to get rid of the evidence. I can't remember the title of author. Trashy. Isn't there a Roald Dahl/Tales of the Unexpected short story about a wife doing something similar?

Back to the books I took with me. The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O'Farrell. I so enjoyed this book, the switch between past and present worked so well. I loved the Edinburgh setting as that's where I went to university. It was interesting as all of my family except for me have worked in mental health at some point and it's an awful truth that so many women were institutionalised in the early 1900's just for being strong willed, different or having relationships out of wedlock. This book is pacey and gripping with a surprisingly strong twist at the end.

What books are on your holiday reading list for this summer?


mihailik said...

May be the best ever book for me is Pan by Knut Hamsun.

I've read it in translation to my mother's tongue, Russian many years ago. It is nothing but story, and yet somehow it changed my life forever. Then, when I eventually met its English translation, it stroke me the same way.

Tuesday Girl said...

Thank you, I needed new book suggestions for this summer!

Lindsay said...

Mihailik, thank you for the recommendation, I'll add it to my list. I'd be interested to hear what you thought of the books tuesday girl!