My reformed reading habits have me meandering through books, and I often end up too safely cloistered in my favourite genres – travel writing, fiction and classics. In an attempt to ensure improved dietary reading diversity here are the books I have pre-selected for 2017:
The non-UK Islands of Identity Read – The Leopard by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa based in Sicily
Travel to the island of Sicily to witness a fading aristocracy in 1860 via book and film – the ideal escapism to ward off the post-Christmas slump.
The In Translation Read – The Yellow Rain by Julio Llamazares
Written in Spanish, set up in the Pyrenees. A lonely novel of haunting memories that I anticipate will resonate with the gloom of February. Unlike January, this month will embrace bleakness as opposed to escape it.
The male biography – Toussaint Louverture: A Revolutionary Life by Philippe Girard
In 2016 I resolved to read at least one biography, and having enjoyed Sylvia, Queen of the Headhunters I will move to the island of Hispaniola and read about Toussaint Louverture based on my interest in Haiti, its history and slavery.
The River Novel – Empires of the Indus: The Story of a River by Alice Albinia
I absolutely love fluvial tales. I’ve been up and down the Congo river several times in Heart of Darkness, Blood River: A journey to Africa’s Broken Heart and Facing the Congo. Now it’s time to navigate another famous river by book – the mighty Indus.
The Non-fiction Read: The Soul of an Octopus: A surprising exploration into the wonder of consciousness by Sy Montgomery
I’ve stopped eating my fellow mammals. I am an aspiring, ever failing vegan. I’ve also realised I don’t read enough non-fiction. Perhaps this read will take me a step closer to the vegan goal. Two birds one stone. Ouch. Failed vegan yet again.
The UK Islands of Identity read – The Guga Hunters by Donald S. Murray
A remote Scottish island read. What more could I need? Well perhaps a Summer holiday visit to the Scottish islands as well……
The Historical Fiction read – Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
This will feed an ongoing Tudor fascination of mine. High acclaimed winner of the Man Booker Prize in 2012. A long overdue read.
The Female Biography read – Mary, Queen of Scots by Antonia Fraser
Following on chronologically from July, this month I move into the regal Scottish world. There are so many biographies about male historical figures so I’d like to balance 2017 out with a female one as well – and better still by a female author.
The Book that’s been unread on my bookshelf far too long read – The Children’s Book by A.S. Byatt
I acquired this book second hand at a book fair in September 2012. It stares at me longingly, accusingly. I glance at it guiltily every time it’s time to choose the next book to read, and inevitably betray it in favour of another book. Come September shall be the chosen one.
The Travel Writing read – An African in Greenland by Tete-Michel Kpomassie
Travel writing is too heavily dominated by the Westerner’s perspective of travel and distant lands, and consequently so is my reading on the subject. I am intrigued by Greenland, and I look forward to seeing it through the eyes of an African traveller. Winter will be setting in, and travelling to Greenland will be a suitably icy introduction to winter.
The Arctic Read – Arctic Dreams by Barry Lopez
Come November I will plunge deeper into winter with this classic Arctic read, and be reminded that it really isn’t all that cold in England after all.
The Christmas Read – Tidings, A Christmas Journey by Ruth Padel
Poetry is so noble; the most powerful form of art and expression. It takes great talent to be concise, obey form and conjure up lasting images with words. What better way to end 2017 than with a festive book of poetry?
Have you read and reviewed any of these books? If so, I will happily post your reviews here.
Can you recommend any films or documentaries to complement the books I have chosen? Please do get in contact and let me know.