In honesty, I pile up books for the holiday, intending faithfully to read them, only to find myself being attracted to other titles in bookshops or books left behind on a shelf in a holiday home. So who knows what I will actually read this summer?
However, the pile currently includes:
The Night Wanderers by Wojciech Jagielsiki- a novel based on the Lord's Resistance Army in Uganda, which I am visiting this summer
Letters of Ted Hughes edited by Christopher Reid- Hughes' imagination and story fascinate me and this collection offers a real insight into both
All Wickets Great and Small by John Fuller- an entertaining study of grassroots cricket in Yorkshire recently published by my brother-in-law, who is cricket-mad and based in Bingley
The Taxidermist's Daughter by Kate Mosse- a Gothic tale set in nearby Bosham, and rather intriguing as its not often you see taxidermy (something I confess to dabbling in in my teenage years) mentioned in a title!
I plan on reading:
Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
Three Days: A Passion by Tom Fairman
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
I shall be completing the Richard Ford 'Bascombe' novels: The Sportswriter and its sequels, Independence Day, The Lay of the Land and Let Me Be Frank with You - which are fantastically wry and revealing about being a 'grown-up'.
Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman - an overview of decision making and behavioural economics recommended by Mr Addyman
The Crossing by Samar Yazbeck – A Syrian journalist documents her three return visits to Syria between 2012 and 2013. This was a period during which the Syrian people were desperately fighting for survival, both against the Assad regime and the brutal and unforgiving force of emerging Jihadist groups.
Heretics by Will Stour – investigative journalism about irrational beliefs and how they are formed
Golden Hill by Francis Spufford - this novel has received much acclaim since its publication last month. Set in New York in the 1740s (30 years before the American War of Independence) it follows a young man, the mysterious Mr Smith, as he seeks his fortune in the New World. The novel pays homage to the great eighteenth century picaresque tradition of writers such as Henry Fielding and Lawrence Sterne, with plenty of plot twists and dark comedy along the way.
Six Facets of Light by Ann Wroe - Wroe is a beautiful writer who has previously produced fascinating studies of such culturally complex figures as Pontius Pilate and Orpheus. In Six Facets of Light, she explores the influence of light on the work on English scientists, writers and artists, from Isaac Newton to Samuel Taylor Coleridge, J M Turner to Eric Ravilious, paying particular attention to the South Downs and the Hampshire/Sussex coast - in Wroe's words "the most luminous part of England".
The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan. I thought Flanagan's blackly comic Gould's Book of Fish (set in the brutal context of early nineteenth century Tasmania) was brilliant. Ms Burden has selected The Narrow Road to the Deep North as one of the choices for Book Club next term. Many people have recommended this to me as a masterpiece. It is set in the Japanese POW camps on the Burma Death Railway during the Second World War - and is, in part, a tribute by the author to his own father's horrific experiences during the war.
Every Time A Friend Succeeds Something Inside Me Dies: The Life of Gore Vidal by Jay Parini. Gore Vidal is a bit of a hero of mine (see here) and the title of this biography is one of his most famous apercus. Jay Parini is a gifted writer himself and so I look forward to his appreciative (but not uncritical) consideration of a life well lived.