Site icon BookerTalk

Sunday Salon: it’s not summer reading list

It seems every newspaper or magazine I pick up at the moment has an article about great books to read for the summer. These articles have one premise in common – that we’re all about to spend the next coupleof months lounging about in our gardens, at the pool or on beaches with noses glued to a book.

Now there are two things wrong with that premise in my case. One is that beach/pool holidays are absolutely not my thing. I did all that sun lounger by the pool thing when I was younger but now spending an entire day like that would leave me feeling extremely uncomfortable and bored. An hour or so on a terrace before breakfast or towards the end of the afternoon, when the intense heat has subsided to sub Mercury levels, is much more to my taste.

The other problem is that you can’t sit out in the garden with a book if it’s raining, well not unless you want very soggy pages. But for those of us living in the UK, that’s the reality of our summer so far this year. Instead of blue skies we’ve had weeks of grey skies. Different shades of grey admittedly but not ones that lend themselves well to a few hours of peaceful reading in the garden to the sound of a few twittering birds and distant lawnmowers.  And as for sitting there in shorts and t shirt – well forget it. Jeans and a fleece are more like it most weekends.

If this is summer, I want my money back…

Does this mean I’m shutting my books up until autumn when at least I won’t feel short changed because I’m driven in doors? Not at all. I have plenty of good books just waiting to be opened. Here’s what’s on my horizon for the next few months:


Petals of Blood by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o. I really must finish this novel which was seen by the Kenyan government as such a savage indictment of their regime that they imprisoned the author without trial. I’ve been reading this book now for about a month. It’s a tremendously powerful book, almost too powerful and painful which is why I find I can’t read more than a few pages at a time.

Hotel du Lac, the Man Booker prize winner by Anita Brookner. I’ll be reading this as part of the Anita Brookner reading month hosted by Ali at heavenali in July. I enjoyed this when I read it many years ago but have forgotten much else about it.

Cleaner of Chartres by Sally Vickers. This is the book club choice for the month. I don’t know very much about it other than it’s been a popular choice at book clubs this year.

Country Girl, Edna O’ Brien’s autobiography. This went on my wish list immediately after I saw her talk at the Hay Festival and then read her landmark novel The Country Girls, but it’s taken a while to come through from the library.  The Telegraph called it ‘the perfect autobiography’ in its review last week so I have high hopes for it.


I’m hoping Kate Atkinon’s Life after Life gets to me. I was number 10 in line for this at the library so maybe by August I’ll have got to the top of the list.

Memory in the Flesh by Ahlam Mosteghanemi who is one of the best-selling female authors in the Arabic world.  I’m going to read this to represent Algeria in my Reading along the Prime Meridian challenge. 

To coincide with a short holiday in Italy  I’ll be looking for recommendations of something by an Italian author (more meaty than Andrea Camilleri’s  Inspector Montlbano series). Anyone have any suggestions?

So that’s what is going to be on my bedside table in coming weeks. What are your plans??

Exit mobile version