Cousin Bette, Honoré de Balzac
The Radetsky March, Joseph Roth
The Emperor’s Tomb, Joseph Roth
Dancing at the Edge, Graham Leicester
Excellent Women, Barbara Pym
The Lighthouse Stevensons, Bella Bathurst
War and Peace Leo Tolstoy
All the Pretty Horses, Cormac McCarthy
The Crossing, Cormac McCarthy
Cities of the Plain, Cormac McCarthy
Lucia’s Progress EF Benson
Mapp and Lucia, EF Benson
Trouble For Lucia, EF Benson
The Art of Memory, Frances Yates
I have already posted on Cormac McCarthy’s Border Trilogy, Joseph Roth’s two novels set during the fall of the Austro-Hungarian empire and Barbara Pym’s Excellent Women. EF Benson’s books were new to me. I started reading them on the same weekend Chico Chica played at the Rye International Jazz Festival. I later learnt that these stories were set in Rye (renamed Tilling in the books) and that Benson was at one time the town’s mayor. War and Peace had been on my To Read list for decades. The novel about Napoleon’s invasion of Russia was how I imagined it to be but it is so well known that I can’t think of anything to say other than I found it compelling from beginning to end.
There was some non-fiction too: Bella Bathurst’s telling of the story of how one Scottish family went about building lighthouses. This book was given to me when Chico Chica were playing some gigs in Scotland in 2012. Otherwise I would not have read it, after all lighthouses is not something I think about much. Then there was Frances Yates’s The Art of Memory. I had been dipping into this book in 2012 as well so I merely finished it in 2013. It’s a huge topic and this is a very scholarly work which is why I couldn’t take it in one go. As a performer, memory is something that interests me enormously. I hope to write about this in another post.