Holiday Reading Challenge

My bedside pile

It’s that wonderful time of the year once again.  Finally, I can sit down for more than five minutes without experiencing serious inner torment.  And since reading is best done while sitting down, it makes perfect sense for me to spend my holidays enjoying an enormous stack of books.

Because study procrastination habits have become somewhat of a lifestyle by the end of the year– I like to keep myself accountable by blogging about my literary adventures.  For anyone interested in reading about these adventures (I’m trying to make this sound exciting, have you noticed?) you can look forward to hearing about the novels below, as well as some undetermined titles.

1. Sense and Sensibility by Joanna Trollope

Joanna Trollope is not Jane Austen.  But she does get to play Jane Austen for the Jane Austen Project.  This ambitious venture from UK publisher HarperCollins, involves the re-release of Austen’s complete works, reimaged by six different contemporary authors.  Cue angry hissing from the Jane Austen purists.

I was a more than a little sceptical about this idea – reworking Austen for the modern-day Miss Bennett is not exactly a new concept.  However, upon cracking open Sense and Sensibility (2013) I was pleasantly surprised.  More to come . . .

2. The Wild Girl by Kate Forsyth

In the forward to her book, Forsyth reminds the prospective reader that the Brothers Grimm were not wizened scholars from a forgotten time as popular culture remembers them.  In fact – they were young men, living through the tumult of the Napoleonic wars and working to preserve traditional stories around the time Jane Austen was penning Mr Darcy.

This one comes highly recommended from Random House (according to a sticker on the cover). I do love a tale of folklore and romance so, why not?

3. Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

Hannah Kent is a young Australian author who received an international book deal worth upwards of $1 million for her debut novel – Burial Rites.  The book was inspired by a visit to Iceland where Kent, aged 17 at the time, heard the story of Agnes Magnusdottir, who beheaded in 1830 – the last woman to be publically executed there.

This book has had some amazing write-ups and I’m interested to see what such a young writer made of the story.

4. Norwegian Wood by Murakami

 Maybe I am a literary heathen because I have never read any Murakami.   Norwegian Wood has been sitting on my bedside reading pile for weeks  so I think its time has come.

5. The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton

Last summer it was Hilary Mantel, this summer Eleanor Catton is on my reading list as the 2013 recipient of the Man Booker Prize.  At over 800 pages long, the Luminaries is a hefty number.  Apparently it’s a worthy read, but I may have to hone my heavy-duty reading muscles (and potentially my arm muscles) before I tackle this one.

6. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

 You may have seen my Neil Gaiman reviews in the past – here and here.  He writes fabulously imaginative but seriously adult fantasy novels.  The Ocean at the End of the Lane is his latest and I bought it for his name without bothering to read the blurb.  I’m that confident.

7. All the Birds Singing by Evie Wyld

I bought this book at Shakespeare and Company when I was in Paris earlier last July – my very first trip there in fact. Maybe I shouldn’t have been loitering in an English-language bookstore when I was meant to be dusting off my high school French.  Whatever, I regret nothing.  I’ll admit, I was attracted to this novel mainly for its beautiful dust jacket – against the old adage.  I guess I’ll find out whether you can ever get away with judging a book by its cover.

So that’s how my summer is shaping up.  If you’ve read something beautiful,  I’m always open to new additions for my list!

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