I have left the beaches and mountains of Rio de Janeiro for autumn in Sweden, and while I do miss my adventures abroad, it is also nice to be back. We’re having a remarkably fine autumn this year, the kind that I always think of as “Anne-autumns”. It refers of course to Anne of Green Gables (“with an e!”), and her quote: “I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers!”
I spent the weekend at my familys cottage in the archipelago of Stockholm, looking out over muted colours (everything is more grey by the sea) and an increadibly calm ocean, and then I lit a fire and wrote for a little while, and then of course I read.
I hadn’t brought any books there, secure in the knowledge that there’s plenty of bookshelves to raid. This lead to a very nostalgic reading experience: I just read a lot of nice, great books I’ve read before. My reading list included:
The Crooked House, by Agatha Christie. As it did not contain Miss Marple or Hercule Poirot it was not one of her best, but it was still good enough. It also included a preface by her where she wrote that this was one of the books that had been most fun to write. This made me reflect on whether or not there is any sort of link between an authors experience of writing a book (if they like the book or ar dissatisfied with it, it the writing was hard or fun and so on) and the reader’s experience of it. On the whole I think not.
Break In, by Dick Francis. I’ve written about Dick Francis before (and he’s mentioned in The Readers of Broken Wheel), but it is worth stating again: Dick Francis is one of my favourite, most reliable writers of all times. He was a former steeplechase jockey turned bestselling author, and he all his book somehow involves horses: jockeys, horse photographers, horse painters, detectives, trainers and so on. All his main characters are invincible but charmingly human and full of doubt about themselves. And all of his books were researched by his wife. Whenever she developed a new interest in life, it made its way into his books (photography or becoming a pilot, that sort of things). Dick Francis often stated that he wanted both their names on the cover (“Dick and Mary Francis”), but she apparently wasn’t interested in it.
Sylvester by Georgette Heyer. Another satisfyingly reliable writer. My absolute favourite is of course The Grand Sophy (The title! The heroine! Her first entrance on the scene, but a dog, a monkey and an amazing horse!).
Since I was there for three whole days, this is by no means a complete list, but I have to get some writing done today and can’t spend my entire morning remembering the happy reading of the weekend. It is sad but true.