I managed to fit in quite a lot of reading in September (benefits of commuting by public transport) so I thought I’d share the list with you:
- What Are Universities For? – Stefan Collini
- Tree and Leaf/Smith of Wooton Major/The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth – JRR Tolkien
- JRR Tolkien: A Biography – Humphrey Carpenter
- Telling the Truth: The Gospel as Tragedy, Comedy & Fairy Tale – Frederick Buechner
- Uneven Developments: The Ideological Work of Gender in Mid-Victorian England – Mary Poovey
- Jerusalem A Biography – Simon Sebag-Montefiore
- Through the Language Glass – Guy Deutscher
I read them in the order above, except for Jerusalem which was read concurrently with the others (my photo doesn’t give any idea of the size – a bit hefty to be carting in to work and back each day), and if you’ve looked at my reading lists at all you’ll recognise Uneven Developments, which was read at the same time as the Tolkien biography and Jerusalem for study purposes rather than pure pleasure.
This isn’t an unusual number of books for me to get through in a month, and I had read some of them before which always speeds things up, but it’s an odd picture of my reading habits given only one of the books (Tolkien’s short stories) is fiction.
Of the new books, Jerusalem really stood out. I appreciated the balanced view of the different faiths who lay claim to the city and that no ‘side’ was allowed to look blameless in the events of the past. Mostly I was impressed by the lyricism that the author was able to bring to what could be a dry topic – how he was able to convey the emotional pull at the heart of disputes over Jerusalem, and show how it can never be a purely political problem. I would definitely recommend this, but, be warned – it’s a BIG book.