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Summer Reading

Summer’s coming.

Laziness allowed. Holidays for relaxing. Turning your mind to gentle musings and books.

Books for summer reading – to be amused, entertained, enthralled, scared, educated! Which one today?

Got an hour to spare, an afternoon, nothing on TV, no visitors today and a gentle summer’s evening in the garden with only the sound of bees to keep you company.

Different books for different times.

One with coffee, a different one with wine, and a thriller with something stronger. And no need for long cooking, just light fresco meals made in a minute and with luck cooked outdoors by another.

So what’s on my bedside table? An eclectic collection of books gathered over the year, amassed for when I had time to read. At the moment I have six.

After Iran


On returning from Iran we immersed ourselves in books of the country and by Persians. There is a vast library of such books and one I especially enjoyed “Reading Lolita in Tehran”, which tells the story of a woman profession at the university who taught English literature. Her troubles during and after the revolution were insightful and beautifully written giving a first hand look at what it was like to be an intellectual, a woman and non revolutionary during that time. The book on my bedside table in by the same woman called “Things I’ve been Silent About - Memories”. This I think will be an evening book with a glass of wine and some good cheese and crackers.

And For Lighter Moments

For a lighter moment in the heat of the day when the warmth of the sun makes you slow and sleepy calls for a coffee and “The Mobile Library – The Case of the Missing Books” by Ian Sansom. No deep thinking required here.

As it’s Christmas I also have there to read is another elliptical book by the wonderful author of “Snow Falling on Cedars”, David Guterson. This one is called “Our Lady of the Forest” and tells the tale of a young woman, a mushroom gatherer who has visions of Our Lady, visions which reach into the heart of a troubled community. For Christmas evening perhaps.

The Serious Read

“Wolf Hall” by Hilary Mantel is the winner of the 2009 Booker Prize and my experience of these books is they take some effort to read. This one tells the story of Henry and his divorce from Katherine and the bloody Tudors through the eyes of his most powerful courtier, Thomas Cromwell.

And A Ripping Yarn

And you need a ripping yarn – so “The Man From Beijing” is there, waiting for the right time. Another book from Sweden by Henning Mankell, he is recommended as of the most ingenious crime writers around.

And finally my bedside table holds “The Glass Room” by Simon Mawer, a somber, haunting tale of individuals struggling to snatch order and happiness in frightening times. This is a novel of beauty travels through Venice and Czechoslovakia and the impact of the Nazis on people’s lives. For a rainy day perhaps.