I’m going away for the whole month of October and will not be writing the Buzz for November, so you get a break from me. Instead, the Buzz will be in John Purcell’s capable hands.
So for the first time this year I get to choose the books that are going with me on the basis of pleasure – or at least anticipated pleasure.
In case you are interested in what is coming with me here is the list…
by Jo Baker
I love Jo Baker’s clever idea of telling the story of Pride and Prejudice from the point of the view of the servants to the Bennett family.
If Elizabeth Bennet had the washing of her own petticoats, Sarah thought, she would be more careful not to trudge through muddy fields. It is wash-day for the housemaids at Longbourn House, and Sarah’s hands are chapped and bleeding. Domestic life below stairs, ruled tenderly and forcefully by Mrs Hill the housekeeper, is about to be disturbed by the arrival of…read more
The Examined Life
by Stephen Grosz
I’ve heard great things about this books from many different sources and yet it has not made a ripple here. Stephen Grosz is US psychoanalyst. In this book which someone said brought together the best of Chekhov and Oliver Sacks, he writes about the power of storytelling in every day life and the importance of talking, listening and understanding. Reviews all promise absorbing accounts of his own cases and plenty of wisdom.
We are all storytellers – we make stories to make sense of our lives. But it is not enough to tell tales. There must be someone to listen.
In his work as a practising psychoanalyst, Stephen Grosz has spent the last twenty-five years uncovering the hidden feelings behind our most baffling behaviour. The Examined Life distils over 50,000 hours of conversation into pure psychological insight, without the…read more
A Death in the Family
by Karl Ove Knausgaard
The first volume of Karl Ove Knausgaard’s six part autobiography My Struggle is, so far, no exercise in narcissism as you might fear. I am halfway through it, loving its honesty despite its density and already committed to reading volume two, A Man in Love.
In this utterly remarkable novel Karl Ove Knausgaard writes with painful honesty about his childhood and teenage years, his infatuation with rock music, his relationship with his loving yet almost invisible mother and his distant and unpredictable father, and his bewilderment and grief on his father’s death.
When Karl Ove becomes a father himself, he must balance the…read more
by Christos Tsiolkas
The long awaited and hugely anticipated new novel from Christos Tsiolkas is a nice fat book for the plane. All I know is that it’s about a competitive swimmer and asks all the important questions about the meaning of success and failure.
His whole life, Danny Kelly’s only wanted one thing: to win Olympic gold. Everything he’s ever done-every thought, every dream, every action-takes him closer to that moment of glory, of vindication, when the world will see him for what he is: the fastest, the strongest and the best. His life has been a preparation for that moment.
His parents struggle to send him to the most prestigious private school with the finest swimming program; Danny loathes it there and is…read more
by Rachel Kushner
She’s the current It Girl of US fiction. Having seen Rrachel Kushner read from and talk about this debut novel in NY earlier this year, I can see why. She’s cool and smart and my husband who has already read this compared her with Delillo, which is a big call, I think the word he used on finishing it was’ dazzling’. She writes about the Italian Red Brigades, motorcycles (which she rides) and the art world. What’s not to like? I hear a rumour she’ll be visiting us next year so I want to be ready.
The year is 1977 and Reno – so called because of the place of her birth – has come to New York intent on turning her fascination with motorcycles and speed into art. Her arrival coincides with an explosion of activity in the art world – artists have colonised a deserted and industrial SoHo, are squatting in the…read more
This is the Story of a Happy Marriage
by Ann Patchett
I’m looking forward to this memoir of life as a daughter, wife, friend and writer, especially since Elizabeth Gilbert tells me the two have corresponded for nearly a decade. Patchett’s colourful experience includes training for the LAPD and starting her own bookshop in Nashville. If her previous books are anything to go by, this will be a book full of sharp observation and emotional intelligence.
This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage is an irresistible blend of literature and memoir revealing the big experiences and little moments that shaped Ann Patchett as a daughter, wife, friend and writer. Here, Ann Patchett shares entertaining and moving stories about her tumultuous childhood, her painful early…read more
Have a great time while I am gone and see you back at the Buzz for December!
Caroline Baum is Booktopia’s Editorial Director.
She has worked as founding editor of Good Reading magazine, features editor for Vogue, presenter of ABC TV’s popular bookshow, Between the Lines, and Foxtel’s Talking Books, and as an executive producer with ABC Radio National.
You can follow her on twitter at @mscarobaum
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