WWW pic

This is my second time joining in with WWW Wednesday, a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s open for anyone to join in and is a great way to share what you’ve been reading. All you have to do is answer three questions and share a link to your blog-post in the comments section of Sam’s blog.

The three Ws are:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

What I’m currently reading

Airs Above the Ground, on balcony overlooking Tahia Bay

I am currently reading Mary Stewart’s Airs Above the Ground, a book designed for reading and re-reading. I took this book on holiday with me to Croatia last week and as you can see, it, ahem, shamelessly photobombed the view from my balcony… This is a book of romantic suspense (with the emphasis on suspense) set in Austria. It is a joy to read for many reasons: Vanessa March, narrator heroine of the novel; her charming friendship with Tim Lacy; the famous Lipizzaner horses; the good-natured humour in the novel; also the setting – including Vienna, Austrian villages with bakeries, and the circus; and, of course, great gobbets of suspense with circus fires, rooftop chases and mountainside dangers. I adore this book so much that my son, who is now the same age as Tim, is named after the book’s hero. Seriously, read this book!

What I’ve finished reading

I have just finished reading A Thousand Paper Birds by Tor Udall.

A Thousand Paper Birds by Tor Udall

This is what I had to say about the book in my Goodreads review:

This is *the* novel of 2017 as far as I am concerned. It is an incredible book that will stay with you long after you finish reading it – plus, you just might want to live in Kew Gardens, the novel’s beautiful, vividly-drawn setting.

The sudden death of a young woman called Audrey leaves her widow Jonas devastated and adrift. The interrelationships of Audrey, Jonas, Chloe, Harry and Milly are teased out over the course of a novel that explores grief, happiness, creation and creativity, letting go, and the beauty and fragility of existence and relationships.

This book had me in tears. (Context: I cry at a book perhaps once every two to three years; I can’t remember when I have ever shed so many tears over a work of fiction). I found it hard to read about Harry’s bookmark without thinking of Grenfell Tower but I would have wept even without the tragedies that are clouding the UK at present: it is Tor Udall’s tender, visceral portrayal of our shared humanity that draws out tears of sorrow and empathy.

A Thousand Paper Birds shines with a rare beauty and truth. I cannot recommend it highly enough.

What I’m going to read next

Gabriel Hounds, Companion Book Club, 1967. Illustr: Barry Wilkinson

If you have noticed the subject of my blog, you won’t be surprised to learn that my next read will be another Mary Stewart novel! I have dipped into the start of The Gabriel Hounds recently, and I blogged about its initial setting in Damascus here, but now I am going to re-read the novel from start to finish. Christy Mansel meets her cousin Charles in Damascus and they decide to make a trip to the Lebanon to visit their eccentric Great-Aunt Harriet (a character based on the life of Lady Hester Stanhope). Rich and headstrong young Christy doesn’t think twice about travelling on ahead of her cousin but she runs into trouble and danger… I can’t wait!

What are you reading? Have you read any Mary Stewart novels? Please get in touch with any comments, recommendations or questions..