Although it’s quite difficult to decide between most of them, if there was only one book that you were ever going to read (from my small summer holiday collection), it really should be Life of Pi by Yann Martel.
I didn’t want to like it. After all, I hadn’t bought it because it was highly praised – and, by that I mean over-the-top praised. So I didn’t buy it. In fact (and I may have mentioned this before), the English version was given to me by a friend some months ago. It was brand new, never read. I put it on the unit in the hall.
It seemed that Piero liked it though as, one day, I came home to find it in pieces all over the flat.
As it was a borrowed book, I had to buy a new one.
Having actually paid money for it, I thought that I might as well read the bloody thing and, you know what? it was wonderful. Truly, truly wonderful and now I want to see the film although I cannot imagine that the film could possibly capture the real essence of the book. It made me laugh out loud in a number of places and is, well, just brilliant. Read it!
The problem was that, although I had bought lots of books for the holidays, including a Charles Dickens, I seemed to hoover up the books like a ….. well ……. hoover/vacuum cleaner. I read a book in less than 3 days on average. So, for the whole holiday, I would have needed a minimum of 9 books. I had 6 and so, as you may figure out, I ran out of books!
In fact, I ran out of books by day 16 of the holiday and was, to be honest, quite panicky. I had even tried to “slow down” the last couple of books. What was I to do? Luckily, I only had to wait about 4 and a half days before F, bless him, came to the rescue with another book for me. Which I then proceeded to read within 2 days!
Don’t get me wrong. I didn’t pick up any of the books with the intention to read it quickly – I just DID read it quickly. It seemed that I couldn’t stop myself. Maybe it’s because I had hardly read all year. I don’t know.
Life of Pi – Yann Martel – brilliant book that everyone should read. Funny and frightening and strange but thoroughly enjoyable. Can I just point out that the pronunciation is like “pie” (English) or “pai” (Italian) and NOT like “pi” (Italian) or “pee” (English). Here, in Italy, all I ever hear is Life of Pee which, somehow, doesn’t have quite the same ring, does it?
Bleak House – Charles Dickens – this was the one that I thought would slow me down. But it didn’t. I read this one in just over 3 days. Typical Dickens stuff and, as he published them in installments, many cliff-hangers throughout. But he can always write a good story. Given the name, I had always thought this to be possibly depressing but it wasn’t at all. Good read. Now, of course, should she want to, Lola can borrow it
The innocent – Harlan Coben – I’ve read a few of his books before and they are really good beach/travelling books if you like crime thrillers. This was no exception and was a good book.
Summer’s Lease – John Mortimer – Never read Mortimer before (famous for Rumpole of the Bailey) but I picked this up because it was set in Italy and, therefore, relevant. Not a huge novel but a good story and a nice bit of whodunit. A little like Agatha Christie set in Italy (Tuscany and Umbria)
The Sword Of Shannara – Terry Brooks – Think Lord of the Rings. This is another of those Fantasy series. It was good but I think I’ve grown out of them now, to be honest. I shan’t be rushing to buy the next one in the series (unlike Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel). Nevertheless, good writing from Mr Brooks, as always.
Under The Dome – Stephen King – Honestly, I don’t think I’ve read King before. I’ve seen many of the films but not read the book. This was a weighty tome but fairly easy reading. Great idea for a story though and I really did like it.
Finally, F, who went back to work after 2 weeks holiday and then returned on the last Friday with the life-saving …
Library of the Dead – Glenn Cooper – He had read this one in Italian. He loved it and so, as he knew I had run out of books, he found the English version in Milan and bought it for me. I read the first chapter on Friday evening and had finished it by about 2 p.m. on the Sunday. Great book and i would recommend it. It’s part of a trilogy and, to my surprise, Last night I found he had already bought the second book for me – so guess what I’ll be reading this weekend on the beach?
Finally, if you wanted three of those books I would pick Life of Pi, under the Dome and Library of the Dead.
If you wanted one from all the books I’ve read this summer, then it would be difficult to choose between Life of Pi and Wolf Hall.