chestnut book blog

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Bedside table books

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Here is the rather wobbly pile of books currently on my bedside table. This is my active ‘To read’ pile.

Bedside table books

Bedside table books

It is a bit of an eclectic mix, but that is my preferred state of bedside table books! I obtained the Cecelia Ahern book from an event I went to recently held by Red Magazine – I left with probably the best goodie bag in the world, books and beauty products! I’ve read a few of Ahern’s novels (P.S I Love You is the only one I can think off-hand, but that was wonderful) and she is definitely one of my preferred chick lit writers.

Angelfall is the latest hyped young adult fantasy novel. I like to indulge myself a little on holiday and so this will be coming with me to Northumbria next week. I will let you know my thoughts!

Vanished Kingdoms just appealed to me in the shop. I like a bit of history now and again and the cover has a lovely tactile quality I couldn’t resist – shallow I know!

Les Miserables has been sitting here for a while, since before the film was released. I am determined to read it all rather than just seeing the film / musical but I’ve been delaying as it feels like a winter book somehow. Am I wrong? Do other people have ‘winter’ and ‘summer’ books as well?

Middlemarch, as you may remember, has been on my reading list for years but I have finally got myself a copy and a copy of the notes which I suspect I will find useful having not read much Eliot before. I made the big mistake of starting Eliot with The Mill on the Floss when I was a teenage and that rather scuppered me but I am now ready to try again!

Black Diamonds has a similar reason for being in the pile as Vanished Kingdoms, I like history now and again and a tale about a dysfunctional aristocratic Yorkshire family appealed. It may also be because I am missing my Downton Abbey fix and this is said to chart the changes these kind of families went through at the turn of the century. I’ve seen excellent reviews so am looking forward to diving into this whilst on holiday next week.

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George Eliot has been on my mind today. I’ve been reading that Edith Wharton admired her and was influenced by her writing. I also went to Highgate Cemetery twice last year – once with my parents and once with my brother and his girlfriend – and saw Eliot’s grave there. A slightly ghoulish day out you must think, but strangely fascinating – I’d really recommend it if you are in London.

Eliot, Karl Marx and Douglas Adams are all buried on the East side, but I’d particularly recommend the West Side (of course, there is no reason you can’t do both). This is the more architecturally interesting area with the Egyptian Avenue and the Rossetti family graves. It was incredibly atmospheric, particularly the first time I went – it was winter and started snowing whilst we walked around. Our guide pointed out the symbolism in many of the sculptures, graves and carvings. It opened my eyes to hidden meanings in familiar objects and images that I’d taken for granted. For example, did you realise the broken pillar often used on graves symbolises a life broken off or cut short? Obvious really, but I was really interested in this as I just hadn’t really thought about it before!

George Eliot's grave

George Eliot’s grave

Since seeing Eliot’s grave and learning a little more about her work through my investigation into Wharton, I’ve been considering reading Middlemarch. Or rather, rereading Middlemarch – I have tried it before about ten years ago and just didn’t get on with it at all. I also tried to read The Mill on the Floss once as well, but also put that down when it all started getting a bit bleak! Have you read Middlemarch? Would you recommend it? I’ve got mixed feelings, but it has now moved from the shelf in the study to my bedside table so that is a sign!