Well it’s almost upon us so Merry Christmas everyone. I wish you a day of joy and relaxation with family and friends, and lots of turkey and pudding all of it cooked by someone else.
If you’ve got time to relax with a good book over the holiday try Started Early Took My Dog by Kate Atkinson, My Dear I Wanted to Tell You by Louisa Young is a beautiful love story set in the Great War, and Caroline Overington’s Matilda is Missing is an intruiging and compelling read. I also loved David Lodge’s A Man of Parts which is a fictionalised biography of HG Wells, and Frank Moorhouse’s novel Cold Light – the third and final book in his League of Nations Trilogy – fascinating if you are interested in politics and social issues in Australia from the 1950s onwards. And for some fifties and sixties British nostalgia Nigel Slater’s memoir in food, Toast, is an absolute delight. Phillips Henscher’s King of the Badgers won’t appeal to everyone, but I really loved it.
And don’t miss Mr. Chartwell – a hilarious and moving story of Churchill’s Black Dog in which the Dog is a larger than life characer.
I also loved Frances Osborne’s biography of Idina Sackville – The Bolter – the woman whom Nancy Mitford used as a model for her character ‘the bolter’ in Love in a Cold Climate. And Evelyn Juers’s House of Exile is a fascinating biography of Heinrich and Nellie Mann in the south of France and later in California, from the mid-1930s until 1950, and features others such as Virginia Woolf, James Joyce, Franz Kafka and Nettie Palmer.
My favourite re-reads this year have been Winifred Holtby’s – South Riding which is now also a stunning 3-part series available on DVD, and Anita Brookner’s Hotel du Lac.
Of course you could always doze in the sunshine or have an early morning swim at the beach instead, and frankly that takes a lot of beating over the holidays.
I’ll be making some changes to this blog in the New Year which (I’m told) will make it easier for me to use and will encourage me to post more often … stop laughing, I know you’ve heard that before but people can change you know.
Thanks to you all for your wonderful support of my books during what has been a hard year for many writers and the book business generally, I am very fortunate. There will be a new book in the latter half of 2012 – I’ll tell you more about it nearer the time.
With warmest wishes for Christmas and the New Year