Monday, August 3, 2015

Reading Materials

I've done a pretty good job of avoiding illnesses through 2015. That is, until Friday. Then, during the day I started to get short of breath, snuffly and thick headed. As per usual, I've not felt bad enough to stop me going to work but I haven't been running, and opted out of playing chess on Friday night. And with the winter being the coldest I've experienced in my 10 years of living in Melbourne, all I've really felt like doing over the weekend is sitting in a warm room reading a good book. The thing is, what constitutes a good book?

Well a good place to start is the longlist of the Man Booker Prize, which was announced a couple of days ago. I am always inspired by the Booker longlist and amazingly I just picked up Anne Enright's "The Green Road"  to read when I saw the announcement of the list on Twitter, including the book I was intending to read. The Green Road has started in amazing fashion, a most readable book about real, and difficult issues. If it carries on in this vein, then it will be a truly amazing read.

Anne Enright is a previous winner of the Booker Prize, but I've never read her before. The thing is, there is so much to read that we're never going to be able to read everything we want to read. I have bookshelves with the best part of 40 unread books. So I'm planning on getting through some of these before I buy anything new (except perhaps for some more longlist books!)

I go on holiday with Caroline in 7 weeks time and have a reading list before then. I've been reading a fantasy series by Australian author Kate Forsyth. I like reading fantasy series or detective series to break up some of the heavier reading.  I've read half the series and it is enjoyable with some interesting characters and a Celtic background. I'll hopefully finish the other 3 before we go to Europe.

Kate Forsyth's excellent fantasy series
Seeing we'll be travelling to France, driving around it, before heading to see family in England, I thought it would also be good to read something vaguely related to somewhere I'm going. I'll be driving around France with Caroline and one of our stops will be in the south western town of Carcassonne. I've read novels based around Carcassonne such as those by Kate Mosse, like Labyrinth and Citadel. But something sitting on the shelf waiting to be read is "Narrow Dog to Carcassonne" by Terry Darlington. It tells the story of a trip to France by 2 English pensioners who on their canal boat. I love reading books about unlikely adventures, and it almost classifies under the fantasy heading!

I'll also be going to Carcassonne, like Terry Darlington
The most amazing novel I've read in the past couple of years about unlikely journeys is probably Rachel Joyce's "The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry". Funny, sad, bizarre and very real all rolled into one beautifully written novel. Well, I'm ready to read the sequel, "The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy". Harold Fry was a pensioner who received a letter from an old acquaintance, Queenie Hennessy, which inspired him to walk from Cornwall to Durham, about 600 miles (950 km). This pilgrimage enabled Harold to meet a numebr of interesting characters along the way, while we readers were treated to a wonderful unfolding of the storyline. The story seen from Queenie Hennessy's eyes promises to be as much as a roller coaster ride of emotions.

So that gives me some reading to do before I go away. Then I'll have the interesting task of choosing holiday reading! Oh, and I might be able to get some chess reading done at some stage. Probably not, though!

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