In my imaginary musical journey I decided to add some books to read along the way. I had already started to blog the journey and was re-reading A Colder War by Charles Cumming set in Istanbul when I had the idea. But where to start? Should the books be read at the time I am listening to the music of each country, or mix them up? At this stage I am just entering Catalonia on my trip. That coincides with Cathedral of the Sea by Ildefonso Falcones. And I have already read two of the Istanbul books and all of the Venice books. I shall let the books decide and list them here in some sort of logical geographical order.
- Cathedral of the Sea by Ildefonso Falcones (Preview here). Half way through this 700= page epic. Read it and was drawn in by it for four days in a row. Now I need a rest from it. It is a highly emotionally charged story and perfect to read in my imaginary Barcelona, especially listening to bands like L’Ham de Foc.
First the book I read:
- A Foreign Country by Charles Cumming A foreign country is a spy novel by one of my favourite writers. It takes place in France – most notable Marseille and in a holiday resort in Tunisia (Below)
- Submission by Michel Houellebecq – a political satire set in the near future has caused some controversy. Just beginning.
- Total Chaos by Jean Claude Izzo a crime novel set in Marseille is fantastic, thrilling and now as I arrive in that part of France, a perfect introduction to the city’s darker side.
And to read sometime in the future:
- Bonjour Tristesse by Françoise Sagan is a classic set on French Riviera. I’ve not read, yet.
- Tender Is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald – while it is a classic and I have it to read, I think it will be squeezed out by more modern, more French writing.
- Adding Platform or The Possibility of an Island by Michel Houellebecq at the suggestion of Wally (Comments).
- I Kill by Giorgio Faletti It’s highly recommended on the web. I like a good whodunit, but not crazy about this one. Set in Monaco and France written by Italian author.
- Any of the Commissario Guido Brunetti novels by Donna Leon. I’ve read them all and have no favourite. Death at la Fenice is as good a place as any to start. Here she is discussing the book on Radio 4’s Bookclub
- God’s Mountain by Erri De Luca A novella – a moving haunting work of poetry. Naples in the early 1960s.
- The Solitude of Prime Numbers by Paolo Giordano – beautiful.
Istanbul and Turkey
- A Colder War by Charles Cumming Set mainly in modern day Istanbul. This is the second in the Tomas Kell series.
- The Bastard of Istanbul by Elif Shafak This has been my favourite book in years, an so unexpected. I came across the author on Desert Island Discs and was taken by her extraordinary taste in music. This is the first of her book I shall be reading in years to come.
- My Name Is Red (Turkish: Benim Adım Kırmızı) is a 1998 Turkish novel by writer Orhan Pamuk translated into English by Erdağ Göknar in 2001. It won the Nobel prize for literature in 2006. It is mentioned in A Colder War (above) and I bought it as a result. I shall have a go at reading it, but it looks challenging – not so much the 500 pages or the content, but the tiny font size which demands I wear two pairs of glasses to see the words!
- A Foreign Country by Charles Cumming As above – a spy novel set in France and Tunisia.
All suggestions welcome.