This image is of Florence, part of the “12 City Project” – and one of the pictures in the City Calendar.
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After a year of hopping off somewhere every month I am quite enjoying the more relaxed pace of this autumn. And if I feel a bit restless I can always escape somewhere with a book. I have LOTS of favourites – but here are five of them. Some are more factual and others are novels. I’d love to hear five favourites from you too – in the comments or on your own blog. I’d be particularly interested in any suggestions connected with any of “my” 12 cities ( Florence, Prague, Gothenburg, St Andrews, Venice, Paris, London, Amsterdam,Istanbul, Budapest,Sibiu and Tallinn).
1. Between the Woods and the Water – Patrick Leigh Fermor. This is actually the second book covering his epic journey ,in the 1930s, from the Hook of Holland to Istanbul. It covers the Hungarian and Romanian section stopping at the Bulgarian border. He has never published a book on the final section , I live in hope.
2. Miss Garnet’s Angel by Salley Vickers – Set in Venice , this book is utterly charming. I read it years ago, and was delighted , while I was visiting Venice, to turn a corner and unexpectedly realise I was standing in front of the church featured strongly in the book.
3 Ali and Nino by Kurban Said– This book is not set in a location I am familiar with, but it was an instant favourite. Taking place mostly in Baku in the period around the Russian Revolution , this novel is about a relationship between a Georgian Christian girl and a Muslim Azerbaijani boy. Wonderful insight into a completely different world.
4. Istanbul – Memories of a City – by Orhan Pamuk. I was reading this book while I completed the Istanbul section of my “12 City Project” and loved it. Definitely recommend it if you are visiting this city. but an interesting read in any case, with wonderful old photos.
5. Land of Green Plums – by Herta Muller. Like the narrator, she grew up in the German minority in Romania, under communism. A very poetic book although dealing with a difficult subject.
And at this point I’ve just had an interesting little moment of synchronicity. I was deliberating whether to include this book as my fifth choice – although it is probably not widely known outside the German speaking world. I did a little google search, as you do, just to see if I could find some background information to link to, and lo and behold , she was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature yesterday. Good article in the Guardian about her .