Books for the journey



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:


I read:

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!



All suggestions welcome.

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