Is there anything better than holding a new book from one of your favourite writers in your hands, anticipating the feeling of being completely absorbed into another world, whether real or imagined?
Nope, I can’t think of anything better either. Needless to say that it was an absolute delight to head to my local bookstore, Mostly Books, last week for a VIP shopping night to get a jump start on my summer reading. I had to call on all of my inner strength to come home with just four books, but I’ll think you’ll agree, I’ve got four cracking reads coming up.
My first pick was Devotion by Hannah Kent. I’ve been eagerly awaiting this book since I attended an historical fiction writing workshop led by Hannah two years ago where she mentioned that she was in the midst of research for a locally based story. Hannah’s research is meticulous, and blended with her poetic prose and sensitive portrayal of women, her books tend to be equal parts beautiful and heartbreaking.
If you are interested in hearing some more about the real history behind the narrative, check out Richard Fidler’s interview with Hannah on ABC’s Conversations.
Speaking of Richard Fidler, I also picked up his latest book, The Golden Maze, a history of the city of Prague, which was published last year. As someone interested in history but prone to boredom when reading through dense tomes of dates and events, the readability of Richard’s previous books have been a huge plus. While some may find the injection of his personal stories to place disruptive, for me it is this personal connection that make his books utterly fascinating.
My third pick, also non-fiction, is The Luminous Solution by Charlotte Wood. The Luminous Solution presents a series of essays in which Charlotte shares her reflections on creativity, resilience and—if the chapter titles are a good guide—a myriad of others things. I read a recent review that said this is one of those books that you end up keeping on your bedside table so that it is always close at hand. That’s a pretty big call, so I’m excited to get stuck in and see for myself.
My final selection is Ruth Ozeki’s The Book of Form and Emptiness. I have to confess that I haven’t read any of Ruth’s work before, but after hearing her speak at our recent OzAsia Festival’s writing and ideas program ‘In Other Words‘ I couldn’t not read this book. I mean, who hasn’t wondered about what our world would be like if the inanimate objects that surround had a voice. I expect they wouldn’t have many flattering things to say about us humans. The premise of this novel is not quite that, but I still can’t wait to delve into Benny’s strange new world.
In case you’ve read through this post and are wondering where the reviews are, I haven’t got there yet. This is my reading list for summer, so check back in again in a wee while and I will hopefully have an updated post. And just to be clear, I don’t personally know any of these authors, and my only connection with Mostly Books is that I spend way too much money there.