It’s been quite a while since I asked my colleagues this question.
Alias Grace, by Margaret Atwood
Fabulous! Don’t know how I’ve missed this masterpiece (published 1996) until now.
The Berlin Games: How Hitler Stole the Olympic Dream, by Guy Walters
The full story of the 1936 Olympics which Hitler hoped would show the world the Nazi dream and which are now best remembered for the four gold medals won by black athlete Jesse Owens
On the road, by Jack Kerouac
A real eye-opener on the beat generation. A very nice story told from a modest and honest point of view, if a bit of a young one. I am thoroughly enjoying this book.
The Leopard, by Tomasi di Lampedusa
This book was published in 1958 after the author ( a Sicilian Prince) had died. It is now acknowledged to be an Italian classic and is a strange read, a bit other worldly. Without a plot, the chapters chronicle days in the life of Don Fabrizio Corbera, Prince of Salina during the time Garibaldi was fighting to unite Italy. The Prince knows the days of his supremacy over the Sicilian peasants are numbered, but he has a strange admiration for the upstarts and newly moneyed merchant class that will replace him. There are beautiful descriptions of Sicilian landscape, houses and insights into the Sicilian characters. I find it interesting but it is taking me a long time to read it.
Anita, by Anne Dunhill
The author is a local author (and descendant of the Dunhill tobacco company family). This is a memoir of her daughter Anita, their relationship and her own life.
As If: modern enchantment and the literary pre-history of virtual reality, by Michael Saler
It’s (among other things) a history of imaginary worlds in literature, a fascinating look at obsessive fandom and the passions of the well-read geek. The H. P. Lovecraft chapter is particularly excellent.
Ulysses, by James Joyce.
A tough read but a beautiful one. Such poetry, such inventions! I love the way the light is shed on details one could find trivial. I am delighted I started it but will I rise to the challenge of finishing it? I hope so but do not dare believe it yet.
David Copperfield, by Charles Dickens
Honestly! For the first time, as I’ve read very little Dickens. So far, so interesting, and for the fourth time I’m being reminded why Dickens is so well-regarded as a writer. I really ought to read more of these.
Lark Rise to Candleford, by Flora Thompson.
A very entertaining read, especially if you can remove the TV series from your mind. Flora Thompson’s memories of growing up in a hamlet in the 1880s was the ideal morale booster when it was published during WW2, as it features lots of making do and mending. It’s also very funny and touching.
And finally, one anonymous recommendation, for the sensation of the moment:
“It’s called Fifty shades of grey, by E L James – the most erotic book I have ever come across. It’s the first of trilogy, and I have had to cover it with another book cover even though the cover is pretty bland!”
What are YOU reading?