Welcome to 'Last Minute Books' - a blog tour featuring a number of authors who would like to check that you've thought of absolutely everything for your holidays. Suitcase packed? Shoes, sandals, trainers, jeans, shorts, dresses, trousers, blouses, shirts......... sunglasses.... suntan lotion.... best smile? And, of course, forgive us do..... But your holiday reads too? Don't forget your reading device. You might prefer printed books but don't forget to pack that kindle or kobo - if that's what you prefer.
Sit back, rest, relax, enjoy the sunshine and let your mind slip away. It's holiday time.
Let's see what questions the tour master has for our favourite authors and we'll try and find some book recommendations for you. Indeed, all our author friends have to answer the same questions - But are their books the same? Let's see what JOAN FALLON has to say about holidays.
A. I love Spain. It is country with so much variety, good wine and great food. I particularly like Galicia, in the north-east corner of the country. The countryside is very green and the coastline is stunning with everything from towering cliffs to rocky inlets and estuaries and lots of coves with sandy beaches. The seafood is the best in Spain and the locally produced white wine, Albariño is magnificent. It is the perfect place for walking, cycling, golf and beach holidays.
A. I like to move around, travelling from place to place by car, exploring the countryside in a slow, relaxing way. For a holiday to be successful, part of the pleasure is to enjoy the local food and wine. I also like to be able to take my dogs with me, so prefer the countryside to the town. Having said that, I also enjoy 'city breaks' and the cities in Spain have so much to offer.
Q. If you could pack someone special into your suitcase who would it be and why?
A. Only my husband.
A. I have to admit that I find it hard to relax and even when that is my stated intention I find myself rushing about to see something new.
A. I would recommend The Samurai’s Garden by Gail Tsukiyama. This delightful book transports the reader to the Japanese countryside in the years before World War II. The main protagonist is a young Chinese man, recuperating from TB in a remote part of Japan. While he is living there, Japan invades his country. He floats in a world of calm and serenity, blocking out the horrors that are occurring in China, and makes some unlikely friends. The people that he meets change his view of the world. Gail Tsukiyama writes very evocatively in a slow, melodic style. Not for everyone but if you are someone who likes to savour your books slowly, you will enjoy this one.
A quite different book, but equally readable is My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante, the first book in her Neapolitan trilogy.
This is a very enjoyable book which takes the reader into the world of post-war Naples. Beautifully written and well translated, this book leaves you wishing to know more about the characters and especially the two friends who are the protagonists of the story.
And my third choice is Capital by John Lanchester. This is set in modern day London and is the story of the families who live in one particular place Pepys Road. It is an excellent read, lucid and fast moving. Lanchester is a wonderful observer of people. A highly recommended read for anyone who knows London or thinks they do.
J G Harlond