The Reading Room

Books for July

This month’s purchases….

moA decidedly wet summer so far has presented Retroculturati with the perfect excuse (if one was needed) to plough through some books. Regular visitors will perhaps recall my choices for June, if you cannot and find yourself desperate to know then please click here.

This month is all about fiction, one classic, one excellent modern day author and one newcomer. I have started with Sebastian Faulks ‘Where My Heart Used to Beat’ published in paperback by Vintage. The author requires little introduction and this, his latest book, first published in hardback in 2015 is very much in keeping with what one comes to expect from Faulks. The book takes in England, France, Italy in 1944, the 1960s and the trenches of the Western Front in the Great War. Faulks seldom disappoints and eighty pages in I find myself suitably immersed.

Hemingway certainly needs no introduction. His books have been published over and over and this edition comes via Arrow Books, part of Random House publishers. This is the story of writer and adventurer Thomas Hudson, the book was first published in 1970, nine years after Hemingway died and became an immediate bestseller. I bought it on a whim, the weather was awful, I dived into a bookshop for shelter from the rain and sought refuge and comfort in something, anything set in a faraway, sunnier clime than here in England. I found it in Islands in the Stream. Hemingway had a gift for describing a scene. It is certainly the stuff of a bygone age, a carefree escape to the Gulf Stream island of Bimini and the coastlines of Cuba.

Finally we come to Richard Jackson and his debut novel Confessions of a Terrorist. Published by Zed Books based in London, it is the story of two men from opposing sides confronting each other across a table in a small cell. The author knows his stuff, his background is in the field of intelligence gathering and the style and substance of this novel confirms that the author has first hand knowledge of his subject. The story is set out in a series of recorded transcripts between a wanted terrorist and a British Intelligence Officer, I bought it with the wonderful memory of Mohsin Hamid’s remarkable ‘The Reluctant Fundamentalist’ still weighing on my mind. The book reminds me of the Hamid classic and I welcome similarly well written novels based on conflicts which makes the select few ‘uncomfortable.

So dear readers, these are my choices for the month ahead, do fee free to share yours on here too!

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