The Christmas holidays are not far off, and I've already allocated most of my two weeks' leave to reading. It is 14 precious days when I can sleep when I want, wake up late, and don't have work to think about.
My reading snacks are sorted (thank you, Cookie Time, for the best chocolate chip Christmas cookies ever). The cat is being prepped for all the extra quality time we'll spend together. And all I can see ahead of me are days of golden sunshine, cooling summer rain, and a great deal of very chilled pinot gris (none of this "room temperature" bollocks).
That leaves my reading list. This year, I'm doing an eclectic mix of old and new, recommendations and re-reads. In no particular order, here's my holiday reading list:
Nights at the Circus, Angela Carter
Wikipedia describes this book as being about a young woman who would have you believe she's a Cockney virgin hatched from an egg, with fully-fledged wings. Need I say more? I am particularly susceptible to the phantasmagoric, and this is meant to be particularly good in a muddled, post-modernist way. It will be great to read something that truly feeds my imagination.
The Hundred Secret Senses, Amy Tan
One of my sisters recently re-read this and while talking to her about it, I realised that I'd actually forgotten huge chunks of the plot. This is one of those comfort reads that I've read a few times already, and that I want to go back to. It combines supernatural elements (in the story, one of the characters believes in the World of Yin, basically the Chinese underworld), with a very real, moving depiction of the conflicted relationship between two sisters thrown together by fate.
Bird by Bird, Annie Lamott
"Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird." Any writer will know how hard it is to keep going in the face of rejection, depression and negativity. These are hard times for any writer: novelist, journalist, heck, even an advertising copywriter. Lamott's wisdom is of the gentle, scolding kind. Though thankfully never scalding!
The First Phone Call from Heaven, Mitch Albom
Alright, I know it's Mitch Albom. What he writes isn't exactly literary. It's more like "philosophy lite", the precursor to your first year philosophy paper at uni. But I like his style of fluff, damnit! The story is about a town of people who starts receiving phone calls from the afterlife. Why do I want to read this? Because of this cheesy (yet true) quote: "Have you ever lost someone you love and wanted one more conversation, one more chance to make up for the time when you thought they would be here forever? If so, then you know you can go your whole life collecting days, and none will outweigh the one you wish you had back." Yeah. I know.
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, John Berendt
I've picked up this book at various times in the past couple of years but never made it past the first few pages. I actually have no idea why, because I enjoy the little I have read so far. I may just visit Savannah after this. To tell the truth, I've wanted to drop by the American South for years, especially after reading Anne Rice and Gone with the Wind.
The Goldfinch, Donna Tartt
There has been nothing but positive reviews for this novel, probably quite apt for a novel that has been 11 years in the making. I've barely started it, but it's making quite an impression already.
What's on your holiday reading list?