Thursday, 21 August 2014

Summer reading 2014

Samuel Pepys: salty
These are the books I'm lugging with me for my week away. I'll be delving, as usual, into Samuel Pepys, and savouring his salty, vivid prose, although it does sometimes feel rather Sisyphean. Henry Green's first novel, Blindness, was written whilst he was still at school; I hope to be left very jealous. I'm revisiting Aldous Huxley, having chanced upon After Many a Summer recently; I'm taking Eyeless in Gaza, his most sincere novel. A classic I've never looked at, and timely given the publication of the final volume, is Patrick Leigh Fermor's A Time of Gifts.

Concerning contempory fiction: Continuing my attempts to catch up on Hilary Mantel's backlist before her next book comes out, I've got Eight Months on Ghazzah Street, a study of isolation in Jeddah. I love those sinister, eerie earlier works. Having loved, as many did, Middlesex, I've left off reading Jeffrey Eugenides' The Marriage Plot for ages, so that's coming too, and for similar reasons, Don DeLillo's Libra, another author whose works I'm hungrily devouring. Zadie Smith's NW friends assure me is brilliant so she's along for the ride.

I'm also very much looking forward to two works of non-fiction: Peter Stothard's Alexandria: The Last Nights of Cleopatra, and Helen Macdonald's already bestselling H is for Hawk. I've  read T H White's The Goshawk in preparation, and am tempted to get my own hawk. I wonder if they'll let it through customs?

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