Last week’s entry was super-serious – Greece; euro; in; out; democracy – so it’s time to lighten up. In no particular order, here are my ten favourite books at the moment. Would love to hear yours.
1 Just Kids, Patti Smith – a birthday present and not sure whether I’d have bought it for myself, but would have missed out desperately if I hadn’t read it. Inspirational and emotional, but in detached yet beautiful prose. Like looking down a hall of reminiscences you wish were your own.
2 The Debt to Pleasure, John Lancaster – even when you realise what’s happening, there’s still a bit of your brain that’s in denial. Fiendishly clever and bubbling with prose that’s a joy to read.
3 Duplicate Keys, Jane Smiley – I read most of it on a flight where a storm was raging and lightening flashed through the windows. Don’t know if this one captured my attention as an escape from a grim and bumpy flight, but I didn’t want to put it down.
4 Out of Africa, Karen Blixen – it feeds my wanderlust and love of freedom. Elegant prose and a tragic love affair help too.
5 Dolce Agonia, Nancy Huston – inter-woven stories at a reunion over a Thanksgiving dinner. A sharp portrayal of secrets and differing perceptions.
6, 7,8 A Time of Gifts, Between the Woods and the Water and The Broken Road, Patrick Leigh Fermor – I love travel writing of all kinds and these are in a league of their own: an account of a journey (mostly a walk) from the Hook of Holland to Constantinople in 1933-34. I tried to pick just one and gave it up as a bad job. Lyrical and magical, they reveal a lost world.
9 The Goldfinch, Donna Tartt – it was a toss-up between this and The Secret History, but The Goldfinch made the cut. It’s immersive, which is right up my street, and I’m in awe of how the story is maintained without that three-quarters-of-the-way-through-dip. Best for a trip, because it’s not a short read.
10 Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austin – predictable and I don’t care! The first book where I fell in love with the characters and I keep going back to it. Razor-sharp observation and proof that people haven’t changed much in 200 years.