We asked our authors to share their holiday reading plans with us.
I’m about to finish Kate Clanchy’s Meeting the English (a nice enough novel of manners), and then I’m going to read Carthage by Joyce Carol Oates, who, I think, is an excellent (and prolific) writer. Then I’ll finally have a go at Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch, more because of the hype than the real wish to read it. And then it’s probably Galbraith’s (i.e. Rowling’s) second Cormoran Strike novel. For a module next term I have to read British Comedy Cinema in the Routledge Series, and for my young adult book reviews the sequel to Gayle Forman’s If I Stay (soon to be a major film). Not to mention Mukherjee’s Emperor of Maladies and the nice little stack of contemporary Austrian literature I have to go through… You see? “Summer’s lease hath all too short a date.”
I’m reading Independent People by Halldor Laxness, a fabulous story of an Icelandic crofter’s struggle for economic independence in the early 20th century. Bjartur fights against the gods, the local politicians and even his family in order to achieve his dream. Reading slowly now as I really don’t want to finish it.
I’m reading Winter of the World by Ken Follett. This is the second book in the Century Trilogy which follows the drama and destiny of five interrelated families in America, Russia, Germany, England and Wales from the beginning of the First World War to the present day. The book is extremely well researched, complex, intriguing and above all, entertaining.
This summer, I am reading Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch. I chose it for two reasons. First, I read her 1992 book The Secret History while I was in Japan and loved it. Second, this year I am going to visit New York and I like to read books that are set in the place that I am going to visit. The Goldfinch is a long book, over 800 pages, and I am about half-way through it. I am enjoying it. The main character and narrator, Theo Decker, undergoes a traumatic experience and the story is the story of his life after that event. In the part of the book that I have just read, Theo goes to live with his father in a place near Las Vagas called The Ranches at Canyon Shadows. There, Theo meets a Russian boy called Boris and the almost dream-like time the two boys spend together in this almost empty housing development out in the Nevada desert reminds me of Alain Fournier’s Le Grand Meaulnes: lost boys in a subtly unreal and strange adventure. A great, albeit sprawling, book.