Who’s reading what, where and why over the holidays
Two titles you could class as travel are How to Build a Time Machine by Paul Davies (sort of a historical account about the possibility of interstellar travel in our lifetime) and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. Don Hany will appear in the telemovie of the Peter Temple novel The Broken Shore on ABC TV next year.
I am most looking forward to finishing Clive James’s superb translation of Dante’s Divine Comedy.
On the deck of my house at Killcare (on the NSW central coast) in the shade of a gum tree. My favourite ( recent) travel book is Simon Sebag Montefiore’s wonderful Jerusalem: The Biography.
Ataturk: The Rebirth of a Nation by Lord Patrick Kinross. It’s a biography that chronicles the beginning of Ataturk’s career as a Turkish soldier through to his death in 1976.
I might get most of it read up the mid north coast of NSW visiting family over the summer break and doing a bit of fishing. The rest I’ll finish at home in bed, most likely. John Bell, AO, is the co-artistic director of Bell Shakespeare.
Barracuda by Christos Tsiolkas — it’s his latest and would seem to be appropriate summer reading.
Holiday apartment at Sunshine Beach on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. Chef Luke Nguyen’s latest book, The Food of Vietnam, combines travel and eating, two of my favourite things. A more mainstream choice would be Tim Cope’s On the Trail of Genghis Khan. Stephen Mahoney is senior manager, corporate communications, Australia and Asia Pacific, for Etihad Airways.
The Black Doctor is an unpublished novel by Jacky Abbott who attended my late husband Bryce Courtenay’s The Last Class writing workshop in September last year.
Shipman House, a familyrun inn on the edge of Volcanoes National Park on Hawaii’s Big Island and home to the Captain Cook Memorial. Arabian Sands by Sir Wilfred Thesiger, whom I had the good fortune to spend a few hours with at his home in London in 1999 — he was the ultimate nomad. Christine Courtenay, AM, is the marketing representative for Guest Apartment Services, Paris, and director of the Australian Himalayan Foundation.
I am looking forward to reading a book about food. I often find myself travelling vicariously through chefs such as Anthony Bourdain, Rick Stein, Antonio Carluccio and Jamie Oliver. I recently got a copy of Italian Food by Elizabeth David. British chefs and foodies often refer to her books and her travels as seminal in the ‘‘discovery’’ of European cuisine. This book was written in 1954 — can you imagine?
In a rented holiday apart- ment on the Gold Coast in between chasing my four kids (all under 10) from pool to beach to family-friendly restaurants. (Another round of chicken nuggets and chips anyone?) Fortunately there will be a kitchen. I hope to use the adults in our group as guinea pigs for some of the ideas I find in the [Elizabeth David] book.
It probably isn’t regarded as a travel book but I loved the cultural j ourney of Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts and his elaborate and vivid descriptions of almost every aspect of life in Mumbai. I’m craving to have a spicy curry at Leopold’s Cafe. Vince Sorrenti is a multiple winner of the Mo Award for Australia’s best stand-up comic.
The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan.
I’ll be reading it on holiday in Tasmania . . . so presumably will start on The Spirit of Tasmania ferry. Wish me luck for a smooth crossing.
I always read a book from the area in which I’m travelling. So on my recent trip to Prague I read some Franz Kafka, including Metamorphosis and a selection of his short stories. In Budapest, I read Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations ( he supposedly wrote some of it while visiting Aquincum, the capital of Pannonia, a former Roman province). Last year, Rob Carlton won the Silver Logie for most outstanding performance by an actor in a leading role for his portrayal of Kerry Packer in Paper Giants: Birth of Cleo.
Barbara Kingsolver’s Flight Behavior — I’ve had it so many months on standby and she is one of my favourites.
My home, by the beach
I recently read Patrick Leigh Fermor’s The Broken Road: From the Iron Gates to Mount Athos. In the 1930s he walked from Holland, across a Nazifying Germany, through the Balkans and all the way to Istanbul. Tom Keneally’s most recent novels are The Daughters of Mars and Shame and the Captives.
My bedside table is always full of books, mostly new and weighty cookbooks. For leisure reading, I look to good juicy fiction and I have Tsaplin’s Testimony by Igor Gelbach, a thriller set in Soviet Russia, on top of the pile.
(My hotel and restaurant) Lake House is open 365 days a year and my reading is mostly in the wee hours. But when I do have time to spare, sitting on my balcony overlooking the valley and village of Daylesford. Almost anything by AA Gill, such as his The Angry Island about Britain. Alla Wolf Tasker, AM, is the culinary director and proprietor of Lake House in Daylesford, Victoria.
The Australian beach is always a popular spot for festive reading
Favourite travel or destination reads: