Today’s Top Ten Tuesday from the Broke and the Bookish is a free-for-all - The Top Ten anything you like. So, I spent all of about 10 seconds thinking of what I was going to write about before realising I was totally bereft of inspiration. Either that or I’m just too bone idle to put any effort into creating an entertaining them for your delectation. I’m off on holiday next week so I have a suspicion my brain may already have packed its bucket and spade and be mentally asking, “Are we there yet?”
The Falaise family jaunt to France is actually only the start of a little burst of travel for me as September will also bring business trips to Canada and Russia, with a trip to Dubai looming in October. So, in pleasurable anticipation of foreign fields, I thought I would present you with a list of the books I am hoping to get through on beach, plane and in hotel and airport on my travels - work and mini-Falaise (who unaccountably believes that holidays are for having fun with her) permitting.
1. Post Captain by Patrick O’Brian. This is the second in the Aubrey and
series and, surprisingly, for a naval series, much of the action takes place on land. O’Brian’s admiration for Jane Austen is often commented on and this particular volume is sometimes said to be his particular tribute to her. I loved Master and Commander, the first in the series, and I have this one slated for my holiday reading in Maturin . Mama Falaise and Old Man Falaise are coming with us (as we are fashionably “gramping”) and OMF will no doubt smirk infuriatingly at me as he recommended O’Brian to me more than 15 years ago, only for me to demur. France
2. Ten Days that Shook the World by John Reed. Listed at number 7 on New York University’s list of the top 100 works of journalism, John Reed’s first hand account of the early days of the October Revolution in Russia has been controversial almost since its first publication. Reed was a self-confessed admirer of the Bolsheviks and is, in fact, buried in the Kremlin. Nevertheless, it has been praised for its literary quality by commentators from both ends of the political spectrum. It’s not particularly long so I hope to get through it on my flight to
3. Snowdrops by A.D. Miller As one of the reasons for being allowed to buy my Kindle was that it would stop me from taking piles of books away with me, it behoves me to include at least a couple of e-books on this list. Snowdrops has been included in the Booker prize longlist, despite receiving mixed reviews. The novel centres around the life of an English lawyer, approaching his forties and working in
. As an English lawyer in his early forties who has worked with Russian clients and has friends in law firms in Moscow, I don’t know whether reading this book is a good idea or not but it will be on my Kindle and going with me to Russia. Moscow
4. Cain by Jose Saramago. Cain was the last book written by Nobel laureate Saramago before his death last year. I have been given an electronic ARC of the English translation by the kind people at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. The book is a reworking of some of the best known episodes from the Old Testament through the eyes of Cain, who is hurled around in time and space after being condemned by God to wander forever, having killed his brother, Abel. I’ve already started this and it is quite amazing, although I doubt the Church will be very happy with it.
5. The Gunpowder Plot: Terror and faith in 1605 by Antonia Fraser. Although I studied the 17th Century for A-level history back at the tail end of the ‘80s, I’ve not really been that interested in the period until recently when I’ve suddenly developed a curiosity. It may be linked to my re-engagement with Shakespeare and his milieu but anyway, I’ve downloaded this narrative history of eth Gunpowder Plot onto my Kindle and suspect that I will try and find a few hours in
to transport myself back in time. Alberta
6. The Great War for Civilisation: The Conquest of the
Middle East by Robert Fiske. Typical, isn’t it. I buy a Kindle, which has the great quality of being able to store absolute monster books and then the first monster I decide to buy isn’t available on it. Weighing in at almost 1300 pages, this is a collection of many of Fiske’s articles on the key themes running through the history of the modern Middle East. I’ve read The Age of the Warrior, a more recent collection of his writings and found it thought-provoking and well written so I am looking forward to this one, although I don’t always agree with his prejudices. This one will be coming with me to . Dubai
7. A Game of Thrones by G.R.R. Martin. I’ve finally succumbed to the weight of public opinion. Following the HBO TV series, it’s been talked about so much in newspapers and in blogs that I downloaded it to my Kindle and will give it a go. I do like fantasy in general but I am just not sure that this one is going to appeal to me. I will, however, approach it with an open mind and will be prepared to be convinced.
8. Indemnity Only by Sara Paretsky. Everyone’s allowed a bit of nice, light reading on a trip and I’ve decided to have a reread of Paretsky’s V.I. Warshawski series. VI is a wise-cracking, feminist Italian-Polish private investigator from
. I’ve read the first few in the series but, for some reason, stopped some years ago. I’m going to start at the beginning again with Indemnity Only. Definitely one for the long flight home from Chicago Canada or , I think. Dubai
9. The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje. Those of you who read these pages regularly (for which I thank you and, if you’re not one of them, hello and welcome!), will know that I have a long term plan to read the 1,001 Books You Must Read Before You Die. I am well behind schedule on this and should have read The English Patient months ago. I’ve started this a couple of times since then but have become distracted each time. So, hopefully, some quiet time on my travels will allow me to have a good, solid run at it.
10. The Big Red Train Ride by Eric Newby. Mrs F and I have a longstanding intention to travel across
on the Trans Siberian Express when the British Government finally allows me to retire. In the meantime, however, I will slake my thirst for this trip by rereading Eric Newby’s classic account of the trip he and his wife took in 1977. Times have changed significantly since then, of course, and when we finally manage to make the trip, it will be fascinating to see whether our trip bears any relationship to Newby’s. Russia
I should also mention that there will hopefully be a number eleven to this list. I have been granted access to an ARC of the new Terry Pratchett, Snuff, by the wonderful, wonderful people at Harper Collins. I am, unfortunately, struggling to download it properly. If I can get it to work, this will definitely be an early holiday read. If not, I will be a touch sulky.