The Reading Room

Escape to the Sun

What I’m reading this ‘summer’……

It’s that time of year when I have to make the agonizing decision over what to read on my winter vacation. This year I am heading to the Carribean and the island where Ian Fleming and Noel Coward sipped many a sundowner as well as the setting for Dr No, Live and Let Die and er, The Blue Lagoon. So begins the endless decion making of what genre, how many, what to read for a long haul flight etc etc and this year has been made harder still by my decision to box up and move my entire library which runs into the hundreds.

With boxes now taped up this is no time for indecision and, as you can see, there is a definite Cold War feel to the choices made. I have chosen Charles Cumming because, like Edward Wilson, his early books are really very good but personal political views have crept in of late in his books and it is something I can do without. John Le Carré is another whose work meandered into the arena of political vendetta to the extent that I cannot be bothered with little of his in the past fifteen or more years and Our Game and The Secret Pilgrim are about as late as I am going to go.

Francis Bennnett is a three book master, an author whose grasp of spy fiction was first rate but retired from writing far too prematurely. The trilogy is a joy and one I have read a number of times now. If you can find his books he really is worth reading. Jeremy Duns is in there with Songs of Treason from his Paul Dark series of retro spy thrillers, always a safe bet and Cold War Europe takes some beating for a novel’s setting.

Graham Greene requires no introduction or reasoning, I have mixed it up a bit with Reflections and Ways of Escape as a foil to the novels of his I chose. No holiday of mine is complete without a venture into Greeneland. Hawksmoor by Peter Ackroyd is a crime thriller which I have been meaning to read for an age now, jumping between the 18th century and 1980s London, the author described the novel as ‘the perpetual present of the past which re-emerges in the most unlikely ways’ I tend not to read much crime fiction so perhaps this will persuade me to alter my tastes?

I do enjoy the process of selecting books for holidays, it adds to the excitement but there is always the fear my interest will have subsided by the time I get there, with no choice now but to go with my first choices I hope I have got it right!

Categories: The Reading Room

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