I picked up a few books just before I left for Europe, all of which I am very excited about:
Three Houses by Angela Thirkell – I haven’t read this yet but I am very much looking forward to Thirkell’s memoir of the homes where she grew up. It sounds rather like the sort of book Slightly Foxed might have eventually gotten around to publishing if Allison and Busby hadn’t gotten there first.
In these beautifully nostalgic memoirs, eminent author Angela Thirkell recalls in rich detail the three houses in which she grew up and the childhood memories their walls contain. Focusing first on ‘The Grange’, where her grandfather, the celebrated Pre-Raphaelite painter Sir Edward Burne-Jones, set the cultivated tone, Thirkell also reminisces over her parents’ home in Kensington Square and the Burne-Jones seaside retreat, where Angela’s cousin, Rudyard Kipling, lived across the green. Her elaborate portraits of the three houses and the lives within provide an invaluable insight into late Victorian life, while the personal recollections of Thirkell’s famous grandfather reveal a loving family man behind the renown.
The Harold Nicolson Diaries, 1907-1964 edited by Nigel Nicolson – I have been wanting this for ages and finally broke down and bought it. Only my concern over damaging the paperback cover prevented me from taking it along to Europe with me. Once I’m back, you can bet this is what I’ll be picking up first.
Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson – I borrowed this from the library, read it the same day, and then went out the next day to buy my own copy. That is how much I adored this extraordinary fantasy novel. I am already looking forward to reading it again and you can be certain that it will be high up on my “Best of 2013” list.
Alif has encountered three strokes of bad luck. The aristocratic woman he loves has jilted him, leaving him with only a mysterious book of fairytales. The state censorship apparatus of the emirate where he lives has broken into his computer, compromising his business providing online freedom for clients across the Islamic world. And now the security police have shown up at his door. But when Alif goes underground, he will encounter a menagerie of mythical creatures and end up on a mad dash through faith, myth, cyberspace, love, and revolution.