What’s on My Reading List (Updated Every Monday. . . or thereabouts)
Book links may sometimes be to Amazon, but don’t forget that it’s an independent bookshop that makes a neighborhood feel like home.
1. The Book I Gave Up on Last Week: Under the Wide and Starry Sky by Nancy Horan
(Confidential to N.H.: Oh, N.H., I am so very, very sorry. I devoured Loving Frank–as popular, historical fiction goes, I found it compelling enough to keep me up at night. I couldn’t get into the same treatment of Fanny Van de Grift Osbourne. It’s not you–it’s me.)
2. The Book That Makes Me Miss Being an Expat: How to be Danish by Patrick Kingsley
3. The Book That’s About Nothing and Everything and Perfect to Read When Your Physical State Doesn’t Support Long-Form Stories and Even Better than an Old Law & Order episode on TBS and OMG I JUST FOUND OUT IT’S A PBS SERIES TOO: The Poisoner’s Handbook by Deborah Blum
The great thing about commuting via public transport is that suddenly I have time to read again. Here are some titles I’ve devoured in the past few weeks:
1. Falling Angels by Tracy Chevalier (Read it with a chaser of a visit to Highgate Cemetery.)
2. My Notorious Life by Kate Manning (A novel about a 19th-century midwife that is a mystery and a heartbreaker and a sneaky reminder of why reproductive freedom matters.)
3. The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides (Eugenides is a genius.)
4. Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore (I’m deep in now–dusty shelves and scenes at the Google cafeteria and all.)
1. Shakespeare’s Local by Pete Brown
God I love living in a country where an award is given annually for “Beer Writer of the Year.” Well done, Pete Brown. This book is well-researched and chatty and imaginative and friendly. It covers the history of The George Inn, and if you love London, it’s impossible not to love this book.
1. The Bird Artist by Howard Norman
I’m rereading the novel that made me want to be a writer and made me fall in love with Newfoundland.
2. Anything by Margaret Atwood
I’ll be taking the Queen Mary 2 to move to England, and she’ll be on board. That previous sentence makes me laugh out loud–as in, “Who says things like that?”–but it’s true! In conclusion, I am going to be prepared.
1. Loving Frank by Nancy Horan
I’m about halfway through as I write this, and this book is over-emotional, a bit melodramatic and is like reading a Harlequin romance written by a college professor and I CAN’T PUT IT DOWN.
This is the most magical of books–the “I know it’s one in the morning and I should go to bed and I’m going to be exhausted tomorrow but I JUST CAN’T STOP READING” variety of novel.
Glasgow in the 1880’s. London in the 1930’s. A mysterious death. A trial. A great friendship and great art. You won’t be able to put it down.
1. The Lambs of London by Peter Ackroyd.
If you have been indoctrinated into the cult of Shakespeare, then this, my friend is the historical novel for you.
2. The program from 55 Days by Howard Brenton
You know that old theatre adage (translated for lay people,) “choices need to be clear without needing program notes.” Last night was the first night in London I felt compelled to buy the program, but I cared enough to dig more about the intellectualism of the production–so there’s a conundrum there.
3. Mrs. Dalloway
I’ve never read it, and I’m struggling a bit. I want very much for the novel to speak to me, but I’m finding the literary analysis of it more engaging than the real thing. Perhaps I’ll write my own literary essay entitled, “Virginia Woolf: I Want to Love You, But You Make It So Hard.”