I’ve been trying and failing to link to an article in the Times Online on staycation fashion – lots of impractical but elegant slouchy outfits. If I’m going to be finger-painting (ta Ladyfi!) and bike riding, then I’m not going to be wearing silk pants and artfully arranged scarves, thanks very much. However, I do think one of the most important aspects of a good staycation – apart from fabulous food – is reading. I am gathering a pile of books that I can’t wait to dive into. Here they are in no particular order:
The Hour I First Believed – Wally Lamb
I am a big fan of Wally’s and am looking forward to this novel, which has been long in the making. Source: a shopping accident in a Burg bookshop only this morning.
Perfect Match – Jodi Picoult
Holiday reading. Source: last night’s book club.
The Art of Travel – Alain de Botton
How can I not read this while staycationing at home? I love de Botton’s prose – the first chapter deals with the vast abyss between what we anticipate about travel and what we find we get there. His succinct answer is: ourselves. We get to the tropical island and find that we have taken ourselves and our own leaky, needy body with us and paradise is somewhat lost. Looking forward to more, and I may be forced to share some jewels here. Source: clever husband.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society – Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
I have to fess that I was greedy and have already read this, but I can recommend it for anyone else’s holiday reading. It is light but not fluffy, and a sweet story. Source: present from my mother-in-law.
Walking in the Shade 1949 – 1962 – Doris Lessing
Part 2 of the mighty Doris’s autobigraphy. Here’s something that felt cutting: “First novels, particularly by women, are often attempts at self-definition, whatever their literary merits.” I look forward to more such insights. Source: book club.
The Women – TC Boyle
I loved Boyle’s Talk Talk and also Drop City, so I hope this measures up. Source: clever husband.
The Children’s Book – AS Byatt
I have read this already, but have to include it because it’s looking to be my book of 2009. I hope Byatt wins not only the Booker Prize, but many medals and much adoration for it, because it is such an achievement. I may pull myself together and write a book review, but if I don’t and if you have loved anything she has ever written, then go and read it immediately and be pleased that you did. Source: very clever husband.
Snow – Orhan Pamuk
I am halfway through this and finding it chewy. I particularly love the perspective – it’s told in third person by a practically invisible first person narrator who surfaces only occasionally – and am regarding it as an exercise in how to write. Source: Amazon a good two years ago, so it really is time to crack on.
Wolf Hall – Hilary Mantel
Mantel never seems to put a foot wrong, and I am looking forward to reading her novel about Thomas Cromwell, whom the Guardian in its review refers to as a “beefy pen-pusher and backstairs manoeuvrer”. Source: my lovely au pair girl (aka mother) arriving shortly from England.