Reading Recommendations

Hooray!  The holidays are here!  Six blissful weeks of pottering and walking and cooking and reading lie ahead of me. 

Off to the bookshop this weekend to pick up my summer reading.  Any recommendations? 

26 thoughts on “Reading Recommendations

  1. I am just back from a wee holiday, I loved ‘Me Cheeta: The Autobiography’ by James Lever and Cheeta which is on sale at amazon at the mo. I also enjoyed The White tiger by Aravind Adiga.

    Have a great summer

  2. “Red Dog” – a sweet little book by Louis de Bernieres that may make you cry, so try “War reporting for Cowards” to make you smile (with some sentimental bits too) – enjoy the hols (biting my tongue about the six weeks ;o) Roo

  3. Maybe not the lightest read ever, but very good:

    – A good of small things – Arundhati Roy (fabulous, fabulous book)
    – Suite francaise (Nemirovsky)
    – On Chesil Beach (McEwan)
    – Sea of poppies (A. Gosht, excellent book, but the first in trilogy, 2 others not published yet sadly)

  4. I second both God of Small Things (swoon) and A Fine Balance (favourite book of the last decade). Have you read any Banville? I LOVE The Untouchable – based on the life and downfall of Antony Blunt, curator the Queen’s paintings, was a cousin of hers and was, in the end, a notrious traitor for the Russians. It’s spell-binding.

    Oh and anything by E.M. Forster or Australian writer David Malouf (An Imaginary Life changed my life…).

    Also, am reading these cookbooks:

    Kitchen Essays by Agnes Jekyll (written in 1922 and is a hoot) and am re-reading (and re-loving) Honey From a Weed by Patience Gray.

    Oh, lovely to have a yawing book-reading holiday ahead. Double yay!

  5. I’d third God of Small Things, and second EM Forster and David Malouf. For more Australiana, try Eucalyptus by Murray Bail – although possibly hard to find in Scotland?

    I’m going through a classics “phase” so reading and re-reading Dickens, Virginia Woolf (To the Lighthouse is especially fine), Huckleberry Finn, Anne Bronte & George Eliot (Middlemarch).

    For food writing you can’t beat Elizabeth David or Nigel Slater – Toast: the story of a boy’s hunger is my fave.

    Happy book picking!

  6. For something a little more fun and holidayish, I can highly recommend the Twilight series, sounds trashy, but they are fab. You’ll be soooo in love with Edward Cullen by the end. The books have been in the top sellers top ten here in Oz for nearly a year, and for good reason.
    More literary suggestions include;
    – The Poisonwood Bible (Babara Kingsolver).
    – Middlesex (Jeffrey Eugenides).
    – Blackberry Wine (Joanna Harris).
    – A Thousand Splendid Suns (Khaled Hosseini).
    All fabulous books and highly recommended by my book group.

  7. I second the suggestion of Middlesex, but I’m really commenting to suggest Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer.

    and Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpi Lahiri (short stories, but her novels the Namesake and Unaccustomed Earth are also excellent).

  8. Ah – school holidays! How well I remember them. (My life is now one continual holiday, so lots more time for reading.)
    I have lots of suggestions for you.
    The most exciting things I’ve read this year have been the first 2 parts of Stieg Larsson’s Millenium Trilogy. (Third part comes out for you in October.)
    Another “unputdownable” one is Douglas Kennedy’s “Woman in the Fifth”.
    Also “The Elegance of the Hedgehog” by Muriel Barbery.
    For another Australian writer try Tim Winton- “The Riders”, “Cloudstreet” or his newest “Breath”.
    Then there’s always anything by Michele Roberts, Barbara Trapido or Irene Nemirovsky. (You may have noticed a slight French leaning. Can’t help myself.)
    Happy holidays!

  9. “The Road Home” by Rose Tremain. My Mum passed it on to me, saying ‘it tells it as it is’. She was spot on, but it’s done with a gentle touch and compassion.

    “Snow Falling on Cedars” – beautiful and “Our Lady of the Forest” – weird but a good read if your familiar with forests and are fascinated by drifting lives, both by David Guterson


  10. I was surprised not to see—
    The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and also
    The School of Essential Ingredients.
    Both are quit fun summer reads. Enjoy~

  11. If you like crime fiction – stephen booth is my latest find – but if you can find the sea room by adam nicholson you will find it fascinating despite a slow start – all about a scottish island – it is non-fiction but a great read – hope you let us know some of your summer reading picks! Enjoy

  12. I would second “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Pie Peel Society” – lots of fun (it’s an epistolary novel!) but it’s a quick read, you may be better off getting it from your library. 🙂

    A note from your friendly librarian.

  13. Wendy – I propose we divide and conquer, I’ll buy half of all these, you buy the other and we can book swap! What brilliant suggestions from everyone.

  14. Goodness! So many books, so much time! Wonderful. Many thanks to you all. There are quite a few on the list that I’ve read already but many I haven’t too. Got so excited by the suggestions I went to the book shop today. I started Christina’s suggestion “To The Wedding” this afternoon and have cried already. Next will be Yvonne’s Douglas Kennedy suggestion followed by Gordon and Lucy’s recommendation, “A Fine Balance”.

  15. If you haven’t already read it, Audrey Niffenger’s “The Time Traveler’s Wife” is fabulously engaging.

    I also just read Dawn French’s kind-of-autobiography “Dear Fatty” which made me laugh out loud. A lot.

    Lucky you, having such long holidays! I’m always so jealous of teachers at this time of year!

  16. Have you read the Stieg Larssons? They were favourites for Summer reading this year in Australia – Bill Granger, Maggie Beer both suggested them. I couldn’t wait for the 3rd one to be available here, so ordered it from UK but also bought it from France . However, in my excitement, I ordered the audio book which confused me completely. Now I have to work out how to play it!
    The Muriel Barbery is quite charming and the film of same
    has just come out in France this week. Can’t wait!
    Do you like Michele Roberts? Lucy introduced us . I have just bought one of her early ones, “During Mother’s Absence” from Abebooks.
    Hope your weather will be suitable for relaxing in the sun.

  17. The Time Traveller’s Wife is AMAZING! So I second domestickate’s suggestion. Actually I am going to pull it off the shelf now. It’s been made into a movie with Eric Bana, to be released later this year and I just can’t wait to see how it’s been interpreted.

    Also, Behind the Scenes at the Museum is Kate Atkinson’s first, and it’s incredible.

    And I just read the Twilight series (actually, I posted about it… Read the whole thing in less than a week. Terrible, fluffy fiction, I’m a sucker for it).

    And if you want light fiction, anything by Marian Keyes.

    And intelligent fiction, though not quite literature, I don’t think: The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons.

  18. Hi, the two best books that I have read recently have to be ‘Secret Garden’ and the ‘House at Riverton’. They are beautifully written and so enjoyable that I was really sorry when I had finished them!!!

    Enjoy a relaxing ‘school holidays’.

  19. This might be difficult to find, outside online retailers, but I recommend Daniachew Worku’s ‘The Thirteenth Sun’. Worku takes the bones of Faulkner’s ‘As I Lay Dying’ and turns them into a meditation on Ethiopian society in the 1960s, with one character standing in for Haile Selassie, and the others representing various bodies of people: newly-educated youth, for example, or peasants. It’s a pessimistic book, but a searching and intelligent one. It might help to think of him as an Ethiopian magic realist, although his magic realism is closer to Jose Donoso’s hallucinatory ‘Obscene Bird of Night’ than to anything by Marquez.

    I’d second the Malouf recommendation too, and I’ll add his ‘Remembering Babylon’ to Lucy’s mention of ‘An Imaginary Life.’ ‘The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon’ is handy if you want to be able to read a book in small doses. W.G. Sebald’s ‘Rings of Saturn’ is a good place to start if you haven’t read him already. Bruno Schulz’s ‘Street of Crocodiles.’ Colette’s Cheri and Claudine books. It depends on the kind of writing you like. (I’m trying to think of novels that are fairly short and pleasurable.)

  20. More great suggestions.

    I’ve read The Time Traveller’s Wife and enjoyed it very much. One of my friends is still in a huff with me as when she started reading it I told her it had a happy ending…

    Yvonne – I haven’t read either the Stieg Larssons yet but he is definitely on my list for the summer. 🙂

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