Thursday, 19 November 2020

What are you reading?

I belong to a book group and have done for the last 15 years or so - maybe more! Over the years this group has evolved but there are usually about 6-8 of us who meet once a month reading books from the library. This means we get whatever they’ve currently got 10 copies of.

This time it was George Orwell’s "The Road to Wigan Pier". I am a fan of Orwell’s work. I like his tight prose, his fantastic descriptions and his ability to bring everything to life. However, reading this in week two of Lockdown Two, with death rates rising around the country as well as the world - well, to be honest I could have done with something a bit more uplifting. I got as far as Chapter Three and switched to something a bit more cheerful. I did want to sleep, after all.

Before that I read "Wild Mary", the biography of the amazing Mary Wesley. Like most writers, she had a fascinating and turbulent life, with many lovers - not surprising given her beauty and intelligence. That was a book that will stay with me for a long while, not least because she was 70 before she got a major publishing deal.

Also from the library is Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig, who is one of the best writers about dealing with mental health problems that I’ve come across. He’s been through it, still goes through it, and is able to write so well about it. Any of his books are worth reading.

Having abandoned Wigan Pier, I started "Step by Step" by Simon Reeve. I found his account of his early life fascinating - another man who had a lot of problems with depression in early life and seriously contemplated suicide. But through a lot of hard work he has ended up with a career he loves, and a family he adores. Not bad!

I’ve also got several novels to be read - Rosanna Ley’s latest, From Venice with Love - her books are always a lovely mix of foreign travel and Dorset, but this one is also set partly in Cornwall, so I shall enjoy getting lost in that.

I picked up Jessie Burton’s the Confession in the supermarket a while ago and then realised that I’d read the hardback version from the library last year. Damn. But it was long enough ago that I have forgotten much of it.

So that’s my eclectic mix of reading over the last month or so… What about you?


The Small Fabric Of My Life said...

What an interesting selection.
Currently, I am re-reading Nigel Slater's Christmas Chronicles as I do every winter. I like the diary style and try to read along at the same time so this one takes me from November to February.
Alongside that I enjoy thrillers. I have just read a couple of Nicci French novels, Blue Monday and Day of the Dead. I am also reading Lemn Sissay's autobiography and the Bee Keeper of Aleppo which I started in the summer and have come back to.
I am also ready Breath by James Nestor which is a fascinating exploration of why we breathe and how this affects every aspect of our health and wellbeing.

Lulu said...

Hello Sue, yes I can understand skipping Orwell during the first lockdown! I am currently reading Nick Hornby ‘How to be Good’, which I almost gave up on because I found it too manish, but it got better, and as promised –made me titter a little. It is a silly, quick read, but not my thing really.

I’m only a winter reader. When the weather’s bad, I lie in at the weekends with a cuppa and book. The rest of the year I am up early scuttling around the garden with the birds. That said, I have read some wonderful bedtime books with my kids recently, and story time is my favourite time of day. We love Michael Morpurgo (‘Twist of Gold’, ‘My Friend Walter’ and ‘Why the Whales Came’ being our favourites). My dad actually read Twist of Gold not realising it was a children’s book! We are just finishing ‘Wonder’ by R.J. Palacio, which is lovely and heart-warming, but like Morpurgo’s books, has had us in tears.

You have reminded me that I must read some Matt Haig. When he was writer in residence at Falmouth Uni in 2017, I saw a really inspirational talk of his. Matt spoke frankly about his mental health issues and the students seemed to really benefit from it.

…And off course, I shall have to put your books on the reading list too, as I love your blog writing!

Hope you have a good weekend. Lulu x

ADDY said...

I'm currently reading The Canterbury Tales. Having heard so much about it, I decided to educate myself. I am quite surprised how modern some of it feels despite it having been written 700 years ago. I have always been wary of book clubs as I usually only have time to read just before I shut my eyes for the night, so would never be able to read a book in a week. I'd feel under pressure to finish it.

Betty said...

thats a lot of reading! I must try harder but find it difficult to get through a whole book and end up giving them back to the library have finished!

Betty said...

half finished typo!

Flowerpot said...

The Small Fabric - welcome and thanks for your fascinating list of books - I will definitely have a go at some of those. I read The Beekeeper of Aleppo earlier this year then Lockdown One struck and I couldn't deal with it. I must finish it! Hope you return!

Flowerpot said...

Hi Lulu, I like Nick Hornby's books, and also Michael Morpurgo - both very talented in very different ways, I think. Interesting that you saw Matt Haig speak - I bet that was interesting. If you would like signed copies of my books please contact me via my blog and I can arrange for you to buy them direct. All the best Sue X

Flowerpot said...

Betty - I've always read too much if anything! Glad to hear you are using the library though - I order mine online and they do click and collect service. Important to keep it going I think.