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Lizzy's holiday reading list

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Books I am looking forward to reading during the holiday season  

    Everywhere I Look

    I pedal over to Kensington just after dark. As I roll along the lane towards the railway underpass, a young Asian woman on her way home from the station walks out of the tunnel towards me. After she passes there's a stillness, a moment of silent freshness that feels like spring. Helen Garner is one of Australia's greatest writers. Her short non-fiction has enormous range. Spanning fifteen years of work, Everywhere I Look is a book full of unexpected moments, sudden shafts of light, piercing intuition, flashes of anger and incidental humour. It takes us from backstage at the ballet to the trial of a woman for the murder of her newborn baby. It moves effortlessly from the significance of moving house to the pleasure of re-reading Pride and Prejudice. Everywhere I Look includes Garner's famous and controversial essay on the insults of age, her deeply moving tribute to her mother and extracts from her diaries, which have been part of her working life for as long as she has been a writer. Everywhere I Look glows with insight. It is filled with the wisdom of life.

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    Turner's Sketchbook

    The 'Skies' sketchbook takes its name from its many richly coloured sky studies. While weather and climate were longstanding interests for Turner, the dramatic consequences of the eruption of Mount Tambora in 1815, darkening skies and reddening sunsets around the world and turning 1816 into a 'year without a summer' surely caught his attention. Since the pages of this sketchbook are watermarked 1814, its more intensely-coloured studies may document these effects which lasted for more than a year. Most of the skies in the book were presumably observed in England, but a few may have been seen in Italy when Turner visited in 1819. Notably varied cloudy skies also appear in Turner's paintings at this period, especially in those arising from his journey to Germany and the Netherlands in 1817. Turner's friendship with his Yorkshire patron Walter Fawkes, who bought one of these pictures, occasioned most of the other sketches here. They include views of Fawkes's London house, Windsor and Eton which Turner visited with Mr and Mrs Fawkes in 1818. This edition of the sketchbook reproduces all these beautiful drawings in near-facsimile, with an illustrated introduction by Tate Turner expert David Blayney Brown discussing their background and impact.

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    This Must be the Place: Costa Award Shortlisted 2016

    The dazzling new novel from Sunday Times bestselling, Costa Novel Award-winning author Maggie O'Farrell, THIS MUST BE THE PLACE crosses time zones and continents to reveal an extraordinary portrait of a marriage. Meet Daniel Sullivan, a man with a complicated life. A New Yorker living in the wilds of Ireland, he has children he never sees in California, a father he loathes in Brooklyn and a wife, Claudette, who is a reclusive ex-film star given to shooting at anyone who ventures up their driveway. He is also about to find out something about a woman he lost touch with twenty years ago, and this discovery will send him off-course, far away from wife and home. Will his love for Claudette be enough to bring him back? THIS MUST BE THE PLACE crosses continents and time zones, giving voice to a diverse and complex cast of characters. At its heart, it is an extraordinary portrait of a marriage, the forces that hold it together and the pressures that drive it apart.

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    The Gustav Sonata

    'It was a game of love and death. Neither of us will ever speak about it. It's locked inside us.' Gustav Perle grows up in a small town in Switzerland, where the horrors of the Second World War seem distant. He adores his mother but she treats him with bitter severity, disapproving especially of his intense friendship with Anton, the Jewish boy at school. A gifted pianist, Anton is tortured by stage fright; only in secret games with Gustav does his imagination thrive. But Gustav is taught that he must develop a hard shell, `like a coconut', to protect the softness inside - just like the hard shell perfected by his country, to protect its neutrality. But despite this hard shell, nothing in Gustav's life can be called neutral. Older, and increasingly curious about his absent father, Gustav discovers the traces of an erotic love affair - traces which still glow white-hot even now. Fierce, astringent, profoundly tender - and spanning the twentieth century - Rose Tremain's beautifully orchestrated novel explores the big themes of betrayal and the struggle for happiness, and above all, the passionate love of a childhood friendship as it is tested over a lifetime.

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    To the Bright Edge of the World

    SHORTLISTED FOR THE EDWARD STANFORD TRAVEL WRITING AWARDS 2016. Set in the Alaskan landscape that she brought to stunningly vivid life in THE SNOW CHILD (a Sunday Times bestseller, Richard and Judy pick and finalist for the Pulitzer Prize), Eowyn Ivey's TO THE BRIGHT EDGE OF THE WORLD is a breathtaking story of discovery set at the end of the nineteenth century, sure to appeal to fans of A PLACE CALLED WINTER. 'A clever, ambitious novel' The Sunday Times 'Persuasive and vivid...what could be a better beach read than an Arctic adventure?' Guardian 'Stunning and intriguing...the reader finishes it richer and wiser' Rosamund Lupton, author of Sister and The Quality of Silence Lieutenant Colonel Allen Forrester receives the commission of a lifetime when he is charged to navigate Alaska's hitherto impassable Wolverine River, with only a small group of men. The Wolverine is the key to opening up Alaska and its rich natural resources to the outside world, but previous attempts have ended in tragedy. Forrester leaves behind his young wife, Sophie, newly pregnant with the child he had never expected to have. Adventurous in spirit, Sophie does not relish the prospect of a year in a military barracks while her husband carves a path through the wilderness. What she does not anticipate is that their year apart will demand every ounce of courage and fortitude of her that it does of her husband.

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