Saturday, 25 October 2014

My bedside table books



As the season of buying gifts is approaching, I thought I'd let you know what books are on my bedside table, waiting to be read. Books make the best Christmas presents, in my view, so perhaps some of these will inspire you...here are four books that I think could make a perfect gift for almost anyone.

1. 'Us' by David Nicholls, Hodder

The Blurb:

'I was looking forward to us growing old together. Me and you, growing old and dying together.'
'Douglas, who in their right mind would look forward to that?'

Douglas Petersen understands his wife's need to 'rediscover herself' now that their son is leaving home. He just thought they'd be discovering together. So when Connie announces that she will be leaving too, he resolves to make their last family holiday into the trip of a lifetime: one that will draw the three of them closer, and win the respect of his son. One that will make Connie fall in love with him all over again.

The hotels are booked, the tickets bought, the itinerary planned and printed.

What could possible go wrong?

Why did I pick this book?

I, like a few other million people, loved 'One Day', so it was a no-brainer for me to buy the book. Plus, having hosted an event for David Nicholls at England's Lane Books, I know the writer is a really nice person too, so even more reason to read this novel as quickly as possible.

Perfect gift for anyone who loved 'One Day'.

2. 'Three Lives' A Biogrpahy of Stefan Zweig by Oliver Matuschek, Pushkin Press

The Blurb:

"Oliver Matuschek's fine, comprehensive biography of Stefan Zweig fills in all the personal details that Zweig's habitual reserve led him to leave out of his own memoir. Three Lives is a fascinating book."Anthea Bell

Drawing on great wealth of newly available sources, Oliver Matuschek recounts the eventful life of a writer spoilt by success - a life lived in the shadow of two world wars, and which ended tragically in a suicide pact.

Why did I pick this book?

I have loved Stefan Zweig's beautiful, melancholic prose for some time, and his life seems as tragic as the characters of his many novellas and novels, such as my favourite, 'The Post Office Girl'. So, when a few years ago, I spotted this biography in a independent book shop, I had to get it. Sadly, the book has remained unread on my bedside table, but I will make a pledge to read it before this year is over.

This would make a great present for the serious reader - Zweig has cult status amongst the 
literati. 

3. 'Elizabeth is Missing' by Emma Healey, Penguin

The Blurb:

How can you solve a mystery when you can't remember the clues?
What if you could remember just one thing?

Why did I pick this book?

I've been reading about this novel in women's magazines all autumn, and the story of an old woman who is trying to solve a mystery of her friend's disappearance really appealed to me. Especially as the woman is in the early stages of dementia and her mind is constantly playing tricks on her, so that the mystery disappearance she's really trying to solve is one that happened some 70 years ago. It's sad, funny and tragic at the same time. I'm half way through, and loving this novel.

I'm thinking of getting this book for my mother-in-law. She loves books about 'old times', and I know she would also enjoy the thriller side of this novel.

4. 'Clever Girl' by Tessa Hadley, Vintage Books

The Blurb:

Stella was a clever girl, everyone thought so.  Living with her mother and a rather unsatisfactory stepfather in suburban respectability she reads voraciously, smokes until her voice is hoarse and dreams of a less ordinary life. When she meets Val, he seems to her to embody everything she longs for - glamour, ideas, excitement and the thrill of the unknown. But these things come at a price and one that Stella, despite all her cleverness, doesn't realise until it is too late...

Why did I pick this book?

Tessa Hadley is another of my favourite authors who I've also had the pleasure to host an author event for. This is her latest novel, now in paperback, and I cannot wait to get into it!

This is a bit of a girly book, although far from chick-lit, so good for a female friend's Christmas stocking.

Don't forget to pop back to check on reviews of these books in the weeks to come - I also post all of my reviews on Goodreads - click here to become my fan.

3 comments:

Catherine said...

Not new, but I recently enjoyed Freedom by Jonathan Franzen.

Helena Halme said...

Catherine, Jonathan Franzen is one of my favourite authors, but enjoyed Corrections more than Freedom. Still, that was good too. Hx

Catherine said...

Haven't read Corrections yet! Will get right on it!