Thursday, September 18, 2008
Holidays are great for many many reasons, but I love being in Turkey because reading for pleasure, at a proper pace, becomes do-able again. So here's the holiday reading list, some details and links to be added later when I get more time.
Hard Times, by you know who. I hate Dickens because of his riotous sentimentality and his inability to write women as real people; as Woody Allen once joked his wife divorced him because he put her under a pedestal, and CD does the same. But it bounced along and had some good characters and you can't despise a book that features a dog called Merrylegs.
The Last Days of Newgate by Andrew Pepper. Recommended by Rachel of North London, it's a Victorian thriller with tinges of sordid realism, murder and melodrama. Beautifully done, go buy (or just borrow it off me). Also the Suspicions of Mr Whicher, which is a kind of factual accompaniment to the first two books, a shrewd and beautifully researched book about a real Victorian murder which happened in Road, near Bath.
I like taking big books about Hollywood in the suitcase and this years was Lee Server's superbly written autobiography of one of tinseltown's original hardmen, Robert Mitchum 'Baby I don't Care'. It's brilliantly done with a massive pile of anecdotes featuring everyone from Howard Hughes to Frank Sinatra. It seems you were nobody in Hollywood unless Mitchum had either hit you or taken you to bed.
Then Down River, which is overwritten nonsense from the Richard and Judy booklist. Everyone on this holiday thinks it's great but frankly it's deeply missable, and now I'm re-reading Dumas's Three Musketeers, which I didn't give proper time to the first time around, and I'm very much enjoying the second time about.
I did think I'd start my own book this holiday but the pool has got in the way. Shame that.