1.The Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi: A novel that has attracted praise from multiple bloggers and mainstream critics. The publishers blurb describes this as a story of two sisters with two very different destinies. One sold into slavery; one a slave trader’s wife. The consequences of their fate reverberate through the generations that follow. Taking us from the Gold Coast of Africa to the cotton-picking plantations of Mississippi; from the missionary schools of Ghana to the dive bars of Harlem, spanning three continents and seven generations.
2. Le Ventre de Paris/The Belly of Paris by Emile Zola: this is the third title to be published in his Rougon-Marquet series (Zola recommended it be read much later in the series however) and is going to form part of my Zola project. It’s set in Paris near the huge market hall called Les Halles.
3. His Excellency Eugene Rougon/Son Excellence Eugène Rougon by Emile Zola. This is the sixth novel to be published in the Rougon-Marquet series though Zola recommended put it in third place in his recommended reading order list. The novel is set in the highest echelons of Second Empire government. It follows the career of Eugène Rougon and a dozen or so of his cronies as they jockey for political favor and personal gain
4. Six Tudor Queens – Katherine of Aragon, The True Queen by Alison Weir. This is the first novel in a series about the women who had the misfortune to become the wives of King Henry VIII. I’m a sucker for books (fiction and non fiction) about the Tudor dynasty.
5. The Secret Library by Oliver Tearle: an exploration of well-known books that have helped shape the world in which we live, while also giving focus to more neglected works. He also highlights some of the links between various works and historical figures – including those between Homer’s Iliad and Aesop’s Fables and the Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack and the creator of Sherlock Holmes.
6. 100 Great Breads by Paul Hollywood: I did a one day bread making course back in early summer but its only in the last few months that I’ve been putting those tips into practice. I still consider myself a novice – each loaf is getting better than the last one – and it helps to have my dad at the end of the phone for advice (he ran his own bakery for more than 20 years). But I could do with a good bread baking book to refresh my memory. I don’t particularly like Paul Hollywood but his instructions are easy to follow.