Motorcycling Abroad: Touring in Continental Europe - Bernal Osborne
Juliet, Naked - Nick Hornby
Hetty Feather - Jacqueline Wilson
I & Claudius: Travels with my Cat - Clare de Vries
Bogey's Baby: A Biography of Lauren Bacall - Howard Greenberger
Our Class, National
Films seen at the cinema:
My mum passed Motorcycling Abroad on to me. Published in 1956, it's a fascinating look at pre-satnav-and-EU travel on the Continent. Many of the destinations, as well as the problems and the joys, are the same as those I've experienced, and there was a frankly astonishing chapter about touring Brittany with a bike towing a two-berth caravan.
New Nick Hornby! I loved this; I think Hornby is at his best when he's writing about music, or rather about people obsessed with music. There's probably a lot of the author in Duncan, a man whose life revolves around obscure and reclusive musician Tucker Crowe, but it reminded me a great deal of my dad and Frank Zappa - or me and Paul Simon, come to that. There are lots of good bits about the English, and seaside towns, and the internet; little to laugh out loud at, but a near-constant chuckle.
New Jacqueline Wilson too! Her first stab at straight historical fiction, with no modern-day narrator as framing device. I thought it was very well done; if there are any inaccuracies, I rely on callmemadam to bring them to my attention at a later date.
I found I & Claudius a struggle, even though it's about a road trip! across America! with a brown Burmese cat!, because the narrator comes across as so shallow and selfish (though obviously she has excellent taste in felines). I persevered because I had to find out what happened to the cat, who is nineteen when the story opens. No, I'm not going to tell you - read it yourself and suffer too.
I have a soft spot for Lauren Bacall, because she was married to Bogart and has the same birthday as me. I distinctly remember buying this 1970s bio in the charity shop at Lewisham Hospital, which means it has been languishing on my To Read shelf for at least five years. I loved the snapshots of family life chez Bogie, though pinch of salt taken as Betty could clearly do no wrong in the eyes of the author. (Isn't Howard Greenberger a brilliant name for a Hollywood biographer? You just know his friends call him 'Howie'.)