Saturday, 9 August 2014

Weekend Update

"Medicine, law, business, engineering: these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love.. these are what we stay alive for."- Dead Poets Society

Happy Book Lovers Day everyone!

Some lovely news: author Kenneth Oppel of our latest book club pick, The Boundless has happily agreed to our Q & A session! Fee free to submit any questions in relations to his book or his writing! We will be taking in questions until August 12th. Comment below to leave your questions!

At last, we turn to this month's selections (for those of you that have just popped by, the book club matches books with a theme every month, to which there are curated titles selected to vote on come meeting day!):

Where The Streets Have No Name

The last few weeks of summer are upon us. It's a reminder to tie up loose ends, take longer walks, and enjoy what's left on our list of to-dos for this season: what better way to glorify these moments than through the comfort of armchair travel! 
This time, we look to reads that will make set us down on a path less taken but give us an ever greater sense of wanderlust and worlds beyond. Sometimes, it might be closer than you think...


Cider With Rosie by Laurie Lee

A beautifully produced centenary edition of this classic story of an English childhood, with cover and illustrations from Mark Hearld and an introduction from Michael Morpurgo.

Summer was also the time of these: of sudden plenty, of slow hours and actions, of diamond haze and dust on the eyes; of jazzing wasps and dragonflies, haystooks and thistle-seeds, snows of white butterflies, skylark''s eggs, bee-orchids, and frantic ants... All this, and the feeling that it would never end, that such days had come forever... all sights twice-brilliant and smells twice-sharp, all game-days twice as long... we used up the light to its last violet drop, and even then we couldn't go to bed.

Cider With Rosie is the best and most vital kind of memoir, rich with colorful, sensuous impressions of life in an English village after the First World War. It overflows with stories and characters made fantastical by the writer's child-perspective, and it draws the reader irresistibly into the lost land of the past. With this beautiful special edition, Vintage Classics celebrates 100 years since the birth of the author, Laurie Lee, and salutes this remarkable, surprising and well-loved classic.

A Time of Gifts

A Time of Gifts by Patrick Leigh Fermor

Summary: In 1933 Patrick Leigh Fermor was eighteen. Expelled from school for a flirtation with a local girl, he headed to London to set up as a writer, only to find that dream harder to realize than expected. Then he had the idea of leaving his troubles behind; he would "change scenery; abandon London and England and set out across Europe like a tramp . . . travel on foot, sleep in hayricks in summer, shelter in barns when it was raining or snowing and only consort with peasants and tramps." Shortly after, Leigh Fermor shouldered his rucksack and set forth on the extraordinary trek that was to take him up the Rhine, down the Danube, and on to Constantinople.
It was the journey of a lifetime, after which neither Leigh Fermor nor, tragically, Europe would ever be the same, and out of it came a work of literature that is as ambitious and absorbing as it is without peer. The young Leigh Fermor had a prodigious talent for friendship, keen powers of observation, and the courage of an insatiable curiosity - raw material from which he later fashioned a book that is a story of youthful adventure, an evocation of a now-vanished world, and a remarkable unfolding of the history and culture of Central Europe. Taking in not just haylofts but mountain heights, country houses as well as cottages, with stops along the way in the great cities of Hamburg, Munich, Vienna, and Prague, A Time of Gifts is a radiant evocation of people and places and one of the glories of modern English prose.

Italian Way: On and Off the Rails from Milan to Palermo by Tim Parks

Summary: Tim Parks' books on Italy have been hailed as "so vivid, so packed with delectable details, they] serve as a more than decent substitute for the real thing" (Los Angeles Times Book Review). Now, in his first Italian travelogue in a decade, he delivers a charming and funny portrait of Italian ways by riding its trains from Verona to Milan, Rome to Palermo, and right down to the heel of Italy.

Parks begins as any traveler might: "A train is a train is a train, isn t it?" But soon he turns his novelist s eye to the details, and as he journeys through majestic Milano Centrale station or on the newest high-speed rail line, he delivers a uniquely insightful portrait of Italy. Through memorable encounters with ordinary Italians conductors and ticket collectors, priests and prostitutes, scholars and lovers, gypsies and immigrants Parks captures what makes Italian life distinctive: an obsession with speed but an acceptance of slower, older ways; a blind eye toward brutal architecture amid grand monuments; and an undying love of a good argument and the perfect cappuccino.

Italian Ways also explores how trains helped build Italy and how their development reflects Italians sense of themselves from Garibaldi to Mussolini to Berlusconi and beyond. Most of all, Italian Ways is an entertaining attempt to capture the essence of modern Italy. As Parks writes, "To see the country by train is to consider the crux of the essential Italian dilemma: Is Italy part of the modern world, or not?"

The Ice Museum: In Search of the Lost Land of Thule

The Ice Museum by Joanna Kavenna

Summary: A legend, a land once seen and then lost forever, Thule was a place beyond the edge of the maps, a mystery for thousands of years.? In this exquisitely written narrative, Joanna Kavenna wanders in search of Thule, to Shetland, Iceland, Norway, Estonia, Greenland, and Svalbard, unearthing the philosophers, poets, and explorers who claimed Thule for themselves, from Richard Francis Burton to Norwegian explorer Fridtjof Nansen. Marked by breathtaking snowscapes, haunting literature, and the cold specter of past tragedies, this is a wondrous blend of travel writing and detective work that is impossible to set down.

Castles in the Air: The Restoration Adventures of Two Young Optimists and a Crumbling Old Mansion

Castles in the Air by Judy Corbett

When Judy Corbett caught sight of a large stone mansion in the craggy foothills of the Snowdonian mountains she had little idea of the adventure on which she was about to embark. She and her husband-to-be. Peter, had long had pipe-dreams of buying an old ruin and escaping the city, the pace and excesses of modern life. But it was only when they''d moved into a squalidly filthy, cold and wet Gwydir Castle that they began to realize what restoration dramas they''d let themselves in for. Restoring the sixteenth-century castle reduced the couple to near penury. But the magic of the house, its history and the landscape ensured that they stayed to tell their own unique story.