|Galerie Bortier by Andrea.|
We're almost at the half-way point of the year (can you believe it?!) and, appropriately this week's Top Ten Tuesday is Best Books You've Read In 2017 So Far. Here's my list:
1. The Brontës by Juliet Barker (2010).
|To Walk Invisible written and directed by Sally Wainwright (2016).|
In December 2016 the BBC aired To Walk Invisible by Sally Wainwright, a dramatisation of the lives of the Brontës. I adored it and when I learned it had used Juliet Barker's biography as reference (Wainwright referred to the biography as her "bible") I knew I had to read it. So, in January I began and I could not put it down, reading well over 100 pages a night and going to bed at 8 o' clock to do so! It's the best biography I've ever read, and so far the best read of 2017.
This is a natural history book, an account of the flora and fauna of Selborne in Hampshire. White shares not only the natural details of his area but also his love and enthusiasm for the subject. It's very readable and very beautiful (mostly; there is a grim account of a battle between a toad and a raven).
3. The Diary of a Farmer's Wife (1796 - 1797) by Anne Hughes.
|The Diary of a Farmer's Wife.|
4. The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran (1923).
This is a collection of inspirational fables inspired by Sufism and Syriac Christianity. It's short, but very moving and very beautiful, and, yes, very inspiring.
5. The Cowards by Josef Škvorecký (1958).
This is a combination of a young man growing up and a snapshot of post-WWII Czech Republic. Aside from enjoying it, I also learned a lot from it.
6. The Way the Wind Blows by Alec Douglas-Home (1976).
Yes, I loved a book by a Tory Prime Minister 😨! It's hard to judge a man by his autobiography but he did seem to be a decent chap and might well have been the last decent Conservative Prime Minister (don't know much about Ted Heath who followed him so I'll reserve judgement). Whatever the case it was a good read and I learned a lot from it, about him, politics, and the Conservative governments of the first half of the 20th Century.
I know when it comes to listing my Top Ten of 2017 at the end of the year this one will be on. A fascinating account of Japanese court life in the late 10th, early 11th Century.
8. Cannery Row by John Steinbeck (1945).
I don't reach much Steinbeck because, stupidly enough, I adore the ones I have read and I fear that there will come a day when I'm disappointed. It was a massive four years between Steinbecks and I was overjoyed to see that this one didn't let me down. Cannery Row is an outstanding achievement.
I read this about a week before the General Election (in June: I better make that clear because there's bound to be another one) and it was the perfect antidote to the unpleasantness that surrounded the campaigns. I will always have fond memories of Heidi.
This I read after the General Election when there was no official government, the Tories appeared to be on the point of collapse, and no one knew what was happening (at this point they hadn't yet bribed the DUP with £1b to prop them up). Politics was all I could think about and I couldn't concentrate on anything. I began A Little Princess with the hope of winding down and ended up reading it in one go. I was absolutely lost in it, and this book brought me back from a mini reading lull.
And there is my Top Ten so far! I wonder what books the next half of 2017 brings...