Readers’ corner – August to September 2022

Every month I take a look at the books I’ve been reading, and an article or two that I’d recommend from my travels on the internet.

If you’ve read any of the books and articles I mention, I’d love to hear what you think. (Likewise – any pointers to good reading are welcome). The comments form waits at the bottom of this post…

Here’s what’s been keeping me busy since my last post:

The Lincoln Highway – Amor Towles (Penguin)

The edition I read has a blurb by writer Tana French on the front cover that says: “An absolute beauty of a book. As soon as I finished it, I wanted to read it again.”

My verdict? What Tana said.

This is a big novel – there are several main characters but it centres around Emmett Watson and his brother Billy, who make a long journey across 1950s America in the wrong direction. Stories and lives intertwine, good and bad things are done, tears are shed and lives are changed.

It felt to me like one of the gentler Coen brothers films, and like them was filled with details and thoughts and ideas that I can’t wait to devour again.

I’ll be buying myself a copy so that I can read it once a year– all I can say is you should too.

Where did I lay my hands on it: The local library

Love After Love – Alex Hourston (Faber & Faber)

A beautifully written book about therapist Nancy Jansen, who has a wonderful husband, three children, a dog and a beautiful house – and who then embarks on a passionate affair with a colleague.

In fact, it is only because the book is beautifully written that I finished it, doggedly, despite a growing sense of irritation with the heroine’s wilful self-destructiveness. At the end, I still had no real sense of her motivations (but then, neither does she).

I won’t be buying myself a copy of this one.

Where did I lay my hands on it: The local library

Recommended online reading

The Things You Think Matter… Don’t

I get a lot of emails from Ryan Holiday, one way and another. He’s a prolific writer and owner of a bookshop in Texas. He writes about things he’s been reading, and about the Stoics, his role models.

I bookmarked this one by him some time ago and reread it again recently. His point:

“We put way too little time and energy into the things that do matter (e.g. being a decent person) and way too much time and energy into the things we think matter…but don’t (e.g. getting into a decent college).”

It’s worth a read on days when you feel overwhelmed, I think – as a reminder that life is short and that it’s important to prioritise the things that matter.

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Main picture: Chris Light, CC BY-SA 4.0

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