“On the Radar” provides small incidental rundowns on books which I’ve discovered, but haven’t yet purchased. These are titles that I’ve either added to my wishlist or am keeping a close eye on, with a view to adding them. In addition, these are books which I feel may be of some interest to fellow readers, and I welcome feedback as always, on your own opinions and thoughts on the listed titles – especially if you’ve already had the pleasure of reading them.
My first On The Radar post is a while is actually somewhat unique in that all of the titles I mention below are to be found on The Guardian’s recommended holiday reading list, printed in their newspaper today – Saturday 18th July (or online for those who don’t get the newspaper). The list is extensive, split into genres and there’s something in it for everyone (I’m sure of it). Here’s what was in it for me and why:
Footprints in Paris by Gillian Tindall [ISBN: 9780701181024] – I have a real affinity with city exploration, as attested by my love for the city-lit guides from Oxygen Books, and this one from Gillian Tindall, which explores the 200 year history of the Parisian Latin Quarter, looks to be exceptional. If the Guardian doesn’t ‘sell it’ to you with its exquisite recommendation – “charming disinterment of a lost 19th- and 20th-century Paris of small boarding houses packed with immigrant workers and cultured dames d’un certain age”, then a quick skim of the synopsis on the publisher’s website surely will.
The Vagrants by Yigun Li [ISBN: 9780701181024] – As some may know I’m often drawn to world literature and this recommendation is no exception. Winner of the Guardian First Book Award for his short story collection A Thousand Years of Good Prayers, this first novel from Li is based on the true events of a small provincial town’s rebellion against Mao’s Communist rule. It’s a rebellion which began after the execution of one of the town’s young women, and it’s one which involves ordinary Chinese people. The Guardian says that “the stark, unshowy prose only heightens the book’s power”, which is a real draw for me, but the synopsis on the publisher’s website signs, seals and delivers it for me. Come to Dada!
The Collected Stories by Lorrie Moore [ISBN: 9780571239368] – Sometimes I wonder if I really do live on Planet Earth, because I’m ashamed to say that I’d never heard of Lorrie Moore until today. Hailed as one of America’s top short story writers, it’s the Guardian’s evangelical praising of Moore that’s got this book firmly planted on the radar screen – “..how very funny Lorrie Moore’s stories are, and how intensely pleasurable to read. She’s one of the finest in the field, and this fat paperback is an essential collection.” I can’t think of a more glowing reason to add another short story collection to my shelves.