Here, there and ev­ery­where

It’s shap­ing up to be a sum­mer of con­tent for travel-hun­gry book­worms

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Holiday Reading Special - COR­RIE PERKIN COR­RIE PERKIN

The Pike by Lucy Hughes-Hal­lett. It’s the bi­og­ra­phy of Gabriele d’An­nun­zio, a ro­man­tic idealist and poet and writer who be­came an in­flu­en­tial right-wing rev­o­lu­tion­ary, and helped set the stage for Italy and Europe’s de­scent into fas­cism and war.

I’m hop­ing to es­cape Syd­ney for a few days to my hide­away at Way Way on the NSW north coast. I’m a big fan of Sy­bille Bed­ford and I love Plea­sures and Land­scapes. She was a con­tem­po­rary of El­iz­a­beth David. When it comes to a Brit writ­ing about Italy and its food, Bed­ford is by far my favourite. Plea­sures and Land­scapes is a se­ries of ar­ti­cles she wrote for Vogue, Esquire and other mag­a­zines. The piece in the book called The Qual­ity of Travel is some­thing I read over and over as a touchs­tone of what a great writer can achieve. Ste­fano Man­fredi re­cently cel­e­brated 30 years of ser­vice to the Aus­tralian hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try.

Cloud At­las by David Mitchell. I met the au­thor in 2005 when I worked for the Perth In­ter­na­tional Arts Fes­ti­val as a pub­li­cist. I saw the movie a few months back — it was com­plex, with dif­fer­ent plots skil­fully woven into the story and so beau­ti­fully made.

I will be spend­ing a week in Bali and I plan to read by the pool in our villa. Sin­ga­pore-based Susie Lim-Kan­nan is di­rec­tor of pub­lic re­la­tions, Asia-Pa­cific, for FRHI Ho­tels & Re­sorts.

A Year i n Provence by Peter Mayle. I bought the book be­fore a trip to Provence and it be­came a sort of guide­book to plan our itin­er­ary. I would be in a cafe and imag­ine the char­ac­ters from the book hav­ing break­fast next to me.

The Cuckoo’s Call­ing — I’m in­trigued at the prospect of read­ing a crime novel by JK Rowl­ing that was pub­lished un­der a pseu­do­nym.

As a busy work­ing mum there are lim­ited op­por­tu­ni­ties to read a good book but I’m tak­ing my fam­ily to Sin­ga­pore and Thai­land for some R&R and will be mak­ing good use of BA’s Club World beds to get in some read­ing be­fore re­lax­ing by the pool. Let’s hope my daugh­ter sleeps on the flight. Eat, Pray, Love by El­iz­a­beth Gil­bert — what a fab­u­lous insight into one woman’s ex­pe­ri­ence of eat­ing and en­joy­ing life in Italy, find­ing spir­i­tu­al­ity in In­dia and ro­mance in Bali. Ni­cole Backo is the re­gional com­mer­cial man­ager, South­west Pa­cific, for Bri­tish Air­ways.

I’ve just started a book writ­ten by a friend of mine, Lisa Sweet­ing­ham. It’s Chem­i­cal Cow­boys, the true story of the dis­cov­ery of, and even­tual fo­cus on, the ec­stasy trade by the (US) Drug En­force­ment Agency. It’s fas­ci­nat­ing, and reads like a fic­tional thriller — hard to be­lieve it’s all real. It’s long, so I’ll en­joy it slowly through the hol­i­days; I like treat­ing my­self to a few chap­ters at a time to make it last.

I tend to read most when fly­ing so on a plane over the hol­i­days is most likely. The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy, set in south­ern In­dia in the 60s, and The Ce­les­tine Prophecy by James Red­field, an in­cred­i­ble and mys­ti­cal story of a man in search of mean­ing who ends up in Peru un­cov­er­ing an­cient in­sights. It’s a beau­ti­ful story of awak­en­ing and re­al­i­sa­tion. Cal­i­for­nia-based Brad Packer is pub­lic re­la­tions di­rec­tor at Four Sea­sons Ho­tels and Re­sorts, Bora Bora (Tahiti) and Hualalai (Hawaii).

And The Moun­tains Echoed by Khaled Hos­seini — I cried my way through his first two books (set in Afghanistan), The Kite Run­ner and A Thou­sand Splen­did Suns and adore his prose; and The Other Hand by Chris Cleave, which has been sit­ting by my bed­side wait­ing for un­in­ter­rupted read­ing time.

I plan to read it on Lady Martin’s Beach when we re­turn to Syd­ney (from Sin­ga­pore). Paul Th­er­oux’s The Great Rail­way Bazaar — his writ­ing makes you feel you are right there be­side him. Sin­ga­pore-based Gaynor Reid is di­rec­tor of com­mu­ni­ca­tions, Ac­cor Asia Pa­cific. FRENCH cul­ture and his­tory ex­ude from the pages of two of our shop’s favourite sum­mer non-fic­tion ti­tles. Provence 1970: MFK Fisher, Ju­lia Child, James Beard and the Rein­ven­tion of Amer­i­can Taste by Luke Barr fo­cuses on the sum­mer of 1970 when six lead­ing culi­nary fig­ures found them­selves in the south of France at the same time — US chef and food writer James Beard; cook, au­thor and tele­vi­sion pre­sen­ter Ju­lia Child; food writer Mary Fran­cis Kennedy Fisher: Si­mone Beck, Child’s co-au­thor on Mas­ter­ing The Art of French Cook­ing; food ed­i­tor Ju­dith Jones; and French coun­try cook­ing spe­cial­ist Richard Ol­ney.

‘‘The small group gath­ered there was the tightly wound nu­cleus around which all oth­ers or­bited in the in­su­lar, still-clubby world of food and cook­ing in 1970,’’ Barr writes. ‘‘Their en­coun­ters in Provence, in rus­tic home kitchens, on stone ter­races over­look­ing olive groves, in lo­cal restau­rants, and at the ubiq­ui­tous farm­ers mar­kets in the sur­round­ing coun­try­side, pro­vide a unique, up-close view of the push and pull of his­tory and per­son­al­ity, of a new world in the mak­ing.’’

Co­lette’s France: Her Lives, Her Loves by Mel­bourne aca­demic Jane Gil­mour presents the story of writer, jour­nal­ist, per­former and busi­ness­woman Si­donieGabrielle Co­lette in a highly ac­ces­si­ble and beau­ti­fully pro­duced hard­cover.

For many years, Co­lette has been the sub­ject of Gil­mour’s aca­demic re­search; this book is a prom­ise that ‘‘through the places of her heart, we will come to know her’’.

Many of the crop of new fic­tion ti­tles evoke a town, a coun­try, a place. Alex Miller’s Coal Creek sees the au­thor re­turn to the scrub hin­ter­land of cen­tral Queens­land — a re­cur­ring set­ting in his work. Born in

The Bro­ken Road by Pa­trick Leigh Fer­mor; On the Trail Of Genghis Khan by Tim Cope; Born In A Tent: How Camp­ing Makes Us Aus­tralian by Bill Gar­ner; One Sum­mer: Amer­ica 1927 by Bill Bryson; Ital­ian Ways: On and Off the Rails from Mi­lan to Palermo by Tim Parks; White Beech: The Rain­for­est Years by Ger­maine Greer; The Old Ways: A Jour­ney on Foot by Robert Mac­far­lane; A Bite of the Big Ap­ple by Monica Tra­paga and Lil Tul­loch; De­sign Brook­lyn by Anne Hell­man. Bri­tain, Miller lived in this area when he first ar­rived in Aus­tralia as a teenager and has de­vel­oped a deep un­der­stand­ing of its forests and veg­e­ta­tion, its coarse beauty, and the tough peo­ple it nur­tures.

The Nar­row Road to the Deep North by Richard Flana­gan is not nec­es­sar­ily a place that read­ers will want to visit. It is an im­por­tant jour­ney, how­ever, and one that its au­thor en­sures we will never for­get. Cel­e­brated sur­geon and Burma Rail­way pris­oner-ofwar sur­vivor Dor­rigo Evans looks back on his life, the trauma, the key mo­ments, the loves and friend­ships and won­ders: could he have done bet­ter?

As the story moves back and for­ward in time, we visit ru­ral Tas­ma­nia, Ade­laide’s beaches, the stuffy world of Mel­bourne’s es­tab­lish­ment, and post-war Ja­pan. But it is the dank, thick Thai jun­gle that per­me­ates th­ese pages.

Shang­hai is the set­ting for much of the ac­tion in Amy Tan’s The Val­ley of Amaze­ment. This haunt­ing story spans 50 years and tells the story of Vi­o­let Min­turn, a young cour­te­san who be­comes one of Shang­hai’s most de­sired women. Once again Tan ex­plores the in­tri­ca­cies of a pow­er­ful mother-daugh­ter re­la­tion­ship in this re­turn to her Joy Luck Club best.

One of the year’s must-reads is Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch. Set mainly in New York where young Theo Decker’s life is for­ever changed when his mother is killed in a mu­seum bomb blast, the book spends a fair chunk of its mid-story in Las Ve­gas. This is the home­town of Theo’s run­away drug-ad­dicted fa­ther.

As Theo searches for the paint­ing of a goldfinch — like him, a sur­vivor of the art gallery mas­sacre — we travel to Am­s­ter­dam and its seedy out­skirts. But the Ve­gas mem­ory stays strong; like Theo, we’ll never for­get the things that hap­pened to him there, nor the peo­ple he met. A good book’ll al­ways do that. Cor­rie Perkin is a Mel­bourne jour­nal­ist; she runs My Book­shop by Cor­rie Perkin at Hawks­burn; my­book­shop.net.au.

The Lu­mi­nar­ies by Eleanor Cat­ton; The Two Ho­tel Francforts by David Leav­itt; The Sound of Things Fall­ing by Juan Gabriel Vasquez; Rules of Ci­vil­ity by Amor Towles; The Paris Ar­chi­tect by Charles Belfoure; The Em­bassy of Cambodia by Zadie Smith; Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan; Bit­ter Wash Road by Garry Disher.

last master­piece P8

Pa­trick Leigh Fer­mor’s

Cor­rie Perkin in her Mel­bourne book­shop

Reid

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