I’ve ploughed through quite a few books in the last couple of months, so thought I’d give a brief update. Many have been travel books, mostly because it’s my favourite genre but also partly because it counts as inspiration. I’ve really enjoyed all of them, and would recommend them as good reads.
A Piano in the Pyrenees by Tony Hawks – certainly not as funny as his other books, but definitely charming and easy to read, and written in such wonderfully conversational and engaging way. I wonder what’s next for him, other than more skateboarding…
London Irish and Big Jessie by Zane Radcliffe – I first came across the Northern Irish writer when I read and loved his most recent book, The Killer’s Guide to Iceland, and his first two novels are along similar lines, with a mix of drama, murder, mystery and biting comedy.
The Almond Blossom Appreciation Society by Chris Stewart – the third book about life settling in the south of Spain by the former Genesis drummer. I’m not normally a huge fan of “Brits living abroad” books but Chris Stewart’s three books, much like A Piano in the Pyrennes, above, are exceptions. They’re easy to read, witty, and peppered with lots of interesting and amusing reflections on British and Spanish life.
Stamping Grounds by Charlie Connelly – I read this after loving Attention All Shipping. This is the his account of following Lichtenstein in their 2002 football World Cup qualification campaign. Being keen on Europe’s minnow teams myself, I found this a compelling book, mixing a fascinating travelogue of the tiny principality, informed football observation, and madcap comedy adventure. A brilliant read from the “award-winning broadcaster”.
Mustn’t Grumble by Joe Bennett – The first book of his I read was A Land of Two Halves, and I liked Mustn’t Grumble just as much. This is the adopted New Zealander’s account of a trip back to his native England eighteen years after leaving. It’s brilliantly cynical about English culture, the tourist industry, and peoples’ everyday lives, interests and concerns. Thought-provoking, funny, and a definite page-turner, and I really enjoyed it.
I’ve nothing left in my “to read” pile now other than a Faroe Islands travel guide. Any suggestions?