Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Holiday Reading

Mr Norfolkbookworm and I have just returned from Greece where we've spent two weeks absolutely falling in love with the island of Kefaloni/Cephallonia.  It has been an island we've wanted to visit for a while but we thought we'd let the 'Captain Corelli' effect die down.

While we had lots of time for reading and relaxing the beauty of the island sent us our exploring more than usual and so (for me) I did read less than usual during a two week break.  However this is all relative as I did still read 17 books!

In no particular order:

  • A Different Class - Joanne Harris: This was really dark and about how events from the past echo into the future. It is set in a school and felt horribly topical. Not a pleasant read in some ways but very good.
  • The House by the Lake - Thomas Harding: A non fiction book about one house built on the edge of a Berlin lake, a lake which saw the Berlin Wall run down the middle of it...This book covered the social history of Germany from 1900 to 2014 and was compelling from page one.
  • The After Party - Anton DiSclafani: I loved this author's first book but felt that this one really suffered from second book syndrome as it was decidedly 'meh' and one that is quickly forgotten.
  • The Improbability of Love - Hannah Rothschild: This was a recommend from a friend on Facebook and while I liked both strands of the story I wasn't convinced they actually came together and I really hated the narrator.
  • The Shepherd's Life - James Rebank: Another recommendation from a friend and this one I loved. An autobiography and philosophical musing on life as a shepherd.  Sounds dull but it was beautiful.
  • Leave Me - Gayle Forman: I've really enjoyed her teen books and found this adult novel to be a good holiday read but not one that I'll revisit or remember much about in a few weeks.
  • Vinegar Girl - Anne Tyler: A reworking of Taming of the Shrew and a book that managed to keep the spirit of the original play while removing some of the nastiest mysoginistic threads with a believable strong female lead.
  • Foxlowe - Eleanor Wasserburg:Another recommendation from a friend and another book that I liked the main idea but not the final product.
  • Super Sushi Ramen Express - Michael Booth: A book about traveling around Japan in search of the food, a brilliant book but one that made me crave the food which wasn't so good as sushi in Greece isn't often found (or wanted the Greek food was delicious).
  • Dust that Falls from Dreams - Louis de Bernieres: I know I should have read Captain Corelli but the new book won, it was beautifully written with some lovely use of language but it didn't have the depth of his earlier novels and I missed this.
  • Five Rivers Meeting - Barney Norris: An unexpected gem! Five seemingly unrelated people find their lives meeting just as tributaries of a river do...
  • The Museum of You - Carys Bray: Another book with second novel-itis. A good story but I didn't love the characters or ever quite beleive in them.
  • The Apprentice Witch - James Nichol: A friend's novel which I approached with trepidation as usual for the pressure to like this book was immense.  I'm pleased to say I loved it, and will try to review it in depth soon.
  • This Must be the Place - Maggie O'Farrell: A really good 'chick-lit' read for a holiday, again nothing special but an enjoyable read.
  • Chasing Stars - Malorie Blackman: This was another reworking of Shakespeare, this time Othello but with a space setting.  This is published as a young adult novel but it is certainly good enough to be considered an adult book too.  It has some nice twists on the original plot and a Star Trek feel.
  • Birds, Beasts and Relatives - Gerald Durrell: Corfu is in the same island chain as Kefalonia and as the resort we were staying in felt so old-world Greece this book was just right for a holiday read - I just wish we'd seen some of the creatures Durrell found!
  • The Garden of the Gods - Gerald Durrell: After Birds, Beasts I just had to keep in the Greek moment and so instantly read the final part of the trilogy.

Kefalonia was a beautiful island, we're planning a return visit in a few years - more of my photos can be found here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/norfolkbookworm/albums/72157670924505955

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