Not Exactly Holiday Reading

Reading & Writing

No visuals today as my Flash Uploader has ceased functioning – but we struggle on.

I’m heading back from the Middle East (having singly failed to get to Jericho or Jerusalem, thanks to the Byzantine arrangements of the Israeli border system), and I just looked back at my holiday reading.

‘The Seven Pillars of Wisdom’ – TE Lawrence (Unfinished)
Maybe there’s a point at which you break through his elliptical, peculiar prose to get to the story – I WILL try again.

‘The Ruling Passion’ – David Pownall
Long one of my favourite authors, I find everything he writes riveting. This is about Edward I’s disastrous decision to hand the reins of power to his weak son, and the future of 14th century England hinging on one man’s obsessive love.

‘Palace Pier’ – Keith Waterhouse
Even late Waterhouse is worth reading. This tells the amiable tale of a drunkard one-book writer trying to get his career back on tracks in Brighton, and discovering a lost novel by Patrick Hamilton.

‘The City & The City’ – China Mieville
Always tricky reading books by mates, and I found this hard to get into once again – but one I did, the murder investigation that takes place in two cities overlaid on one another gripped tightly.

‘At Home’ – Bill Bryson
A history of the English house room by room – not much I didn’t already know here, but some lovely nuggets of information, especially on the subject of mad vicars.

9 comments on “Not Exactly Holiday Reading”

  1. Gretta says:

    You read all of these in a week? Lummy. My pb copy of At Home runs to almost 700 pgs, and will take me the best part of a month to read on its own.

  2. Helen Martin says:

    Perhaps Chris has a form of speed reading like a prof of mine who explained that if you have to read for award panels you can’t read each word singly or you’d never finish. When I said I liked to hear the books’ voices in my head he said I’d find I had to change eventually. I still listen to the voices, but I haven’t finished the Seven Pillars either, although our copy is annotated by someone who saw Laurence in Arabia.

  3. Helen Martin says:

    Perhaps Chris has a form of speed reading like a prof of mine who explained that if you have to read for award panels you can’t read each word singly or you’d never finish. When I said I liked to hear the books’ voices in my head he said I’d find I had to change eventually. I still listen to the voices, but I haven’t finished the Seven Pillars either, although our copy is annotated by someone who saw Laurence in Arabia.
    Not Jerusalem or Jericho but did you get to Petra, Chris?

  4. Helen Martin says:

    Right, there’s one more post to read.(Idiot)

  5. Helen Martin says:

    Right, there’s one more post to read.(I am an idiot)

  6. J F Norris says:

    THE CITY AND THE CITY was the first book I read by China Mieville. I agree it took some getting used to (I don’t even know him), but I persevered and liked a lot of the book. When I had finished I was so impressed that I went out a few days later and bought two more of his books.

  7. Lisa Perry says:

    I read Pownall’s The White Cutter ages ago and really liked it. I sorta forgot all about him.
    I’ve read a few of Waterhouse’s books and will have to keep an eye out for Palace Pier. I haven’t read any Patrick Hamilton yet, though; would you recommend doing so before reading Palace Pier?

    Also, five books in a week? Sounds like my kind of vacation! I read a book a day when I was in London in April. Heaven!

  8. Alison says:

    I really enjoyed At Home. Bill Bryson doesn’t half get slammed in some quarters for being intellectually ‘light’, but I reckon he has a great way of connecting with people and making things interesting without bogging you down.

  9. admin says:

    Lisa, read Patrick Hamilton’s ‘Hangover Square’, but you don’t have to before reading ‘Palace Pier’, which is very (actually too) slight.

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