Bookmarks: Love, sex, class, guts, blood and melancholy

Lifestyle

Bookmarks: Love, sex, class, guts, blood and melancholy

A fortnightly look at books, writers and reviews

Andrew Donaldson

Summer has come to the north, and the British arts and books supplements are filled with lists of recommended holiday reading. The articles feature illustrations of lissome models lazing in hammocks or under beach umbrellas, unfeasibly large cocktail in one hand, hot-off-the-shelves page-turner in the other, with yet more books in a neat pile next to brightly-coloured toenails.

That idyll may be worlds away from the bleak chill of a highveld winter, or the freezing damp that is the Western Cape at this time of the year, but there is no reason why readers can’t curl up under a duvet with any of these recommendations. Along with a steaming mug of cocoa.

The lists are impossibly long – who among us will toss a hundred or so books into the suitcase when packing for a week at the coast? – and cover all disciplines and genres, from historical romance to political analysis and current affairs. And the selections, by “our top critics and writers”, do reveal considerable bias and personal taste in reading. But let’s concentrate on the consensus regarding fiction...

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