Sunday, 15 July 2018

Summer reading

My intentions are always to read more books. Just recently I was musing out loud to Alex that there must be a word in the English language for that slightly anxious feeling you get deep down in your stomach when you think of all the beautiful books that exist in the world that you will never have enough lifetime to read...

To which he replied something along the lines of, "You big nerd."

With all of that in mind, here's what I have recently read, am currently reading, and what I'd like to read in the coming months.

I began the summer with The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society, and it might just be my favourite book so far this year. It's sweet, and delicate, and warm, and just so beautifully constructed. I finished it and immediately went to see the film which was just as lovely. I now have a burning desire to holiday in the Channel Islands and an unquenchable crush on Michiel Huisman who plays Dawsey in the film adaptation (He is similarly gorgeous in The Age of Adaline and Irreplaceable You).

With good intentions to do a balmy evening walk in the Slad Valley this summer, I picked up Laurie Lee's classic homage to The Cotswolds, Cider with Rosie, but I must admit I have struggled to get really into it. It is lovely and nostalgic, with many funny anecdotes, but I am yet to finish it. I'll get there, it is an English classic afterall.

Like almost everyone else this summer, I gobbled up Dolly Alderton's, Everything I Know About Love (not pictured), in roughly 48 hours. It's an easy and very digestible read, and although she's the exact same age as me, we spent our twenties in very different ways! Dolly is funny and articulate, very vivacious in places, but with her own obvious insecurities. It's difficult not to like her and get something out of her memoir. I am looking forward to seeing Dolly talk at Calcot Manor later this month.

Having been incredibly touched by Me Before You by JoJo Moyes a few years ago, I bought the sequel, After You,  recently in a Bath charity shop. It took me a while to get fully absorbed in this book- I really wasn't expecting the plot to be what it is- but once I was perhaps a third of the way through I couldn't put it down. It's not moving in the same ways as the first novel, but it is rather enjoyable in a fluffy literature sort of way nevertheless.

Farm From Home is incredibly visually appealing and I bought it because it celebrates the English countryside through each month of the year, seasonal living being something I am very taken by. Amanda Brooks takes lovely photographs, though I didn't think it was the most amazingly well written book. It is very much a memoir in the form of a coffee table book, (yes, I read a lot of memoirs) recounting her move from being a high flying New York fashion figure to life on her husband's family farm in Oxfordshire. Many people have highlighted that Farm From Home is a celebration of a life that is highly unattainable for most people, and it is, but there's earnestness in the pages too. 

The Worry Trick is a rather practical guide to recognising how chronic worry can become part of some people's lives. I don't make a habit of reading "self help", but it is pretty insightful. Useful if you, like me, wonder where the line between acute worry and anxiety is exactly. 

And The Worry Trick may come in super handy because last night I started reading Joan Didion's gut-wrenching memoir, The Year of Magical Thinking, which contains one of my greatest fears- the unexpected loss of a spouse or loved one. For those unfamiliar with this very raw memoir, The Year of Magical Thinking details a particularly brutal chapter in Joan's life. A few days before Christmas 2003, Joan and her husband John witnessed their daughter fall seriously ill, being placed in an induced coma and put on life support. Just before New Year's Eve, whilst their daughter was still hospitalised, John died very unexpectedly. I had a knot in my stomach before i'd even finished the second page. It is such a devastating read, but is so exquisitely well written. 

With summer only halfway done, my summer reading list is still very much under construction. I am keen to get my hands on a copy of The Making of a Marchioness by Frances Hodgson Burnett because I adore her children's fiction. And as I am visiting Jordan next month, I hope to read Her Majesty Queen Noor's memoir, A Leap of Faith: Memoir of an Unexpected Life. 

Other short and lovely things I've read include:

Bill Nighy's list of things that bring him delight, HERE

This poem, below.

And this quote of unknown origin that sums up my existence with searing accuracy:

"Getting emotional over fictional couples 
is not how I envisioned my adult life."

What are you reading and loving?

Kate  x

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