Its cold, theres snow coming, we still have nowhere to go. But you can of course wander to other places and other times, by losing yourself in a beautiful book. We pulled our favorites out of the closet. Order at your local bookstore.
Disappearing English traditions
The five-part series about the Cazalets gives a glimpse into the world of an English upperclass family shortly before, during and after World War II. The typical countryside, with its stylish country houses, forms the backdrop in Elizabeth Jane Howards books.
From part one, Light years up to and including the fifth part Changes we follow the Cazalets: the wealthy wood dealer William and his wife Kitty, their three sons and several daughters in law, their secretly lesbian daughter Rachel and a zipper of grandchildren. Sons Hugh and Edward returned battered from the First World War, the younger Rupert must go to the front in the Second. Meanwhile, the pre-war traditions in the family home Home Place are rapidly demolished. Dressing up for the elaborate dinner, as we know it from Downton Abbey, is no longer there. Yes, compared to Corona and Brexit it it wasnt easy then!
Elizabeth Jane Howard drew inspiration from her own life: she was born in 1923 into an English upper-middle-class family, married at the age of 19 to a much older man, who she left behind after the war with their newborn daughter. A great shame at that time. In 1965, after a failed marriage and several affairs, she married writer Kingsley Amis; this marriage lasted until 1983. Howard died
. And all of them are set in fairytale Venice with its canals, bridges and tangle of dark alleys. The main character is the eminent police commissioner Guido Brunetti, who always keeps a cool head and solves in peace the most wonderful murders in the Doge City.
Like no other, the originally American writer, who lived and worked in the Italian city for many years, but now freely retreated in a Swiss alpine village, knows how to describe the atmosphere of Venice and the Italian (family) life. Including all the delicious meals that Brunetti has.
A fine series of exciting books, with a highly civilized and socially engaged policeman in the lead, who takes you in mind in the Vaporetto on the Grand Canal, past the Doges Palace and to the opera. Our favorite parts: her debut Death of a maestro, I worship you and her preliminary final story The heir to the throne.
Senses on sharp
It was one of the favorite books of Kurt Cobain. Thats why rock band Nirvana released the song Scentless Apprentice, based on Hel Parfum, the history of a killer of Patrick Süskind.
The German author takes you to Paris, at the end of the eighteenth century, where Jean-Baptise Grenouille was born on 17 July 1738. His unmarried mother tries to leave him among the fish waste, and already on the first page the writer manages to rush the reader to vomit, describing how it smelled at that time on the street of urine, manure, clotted blood, rotten teeth and sweat.
Grenouille, which has no body odor itself, learns from various perfumers how to extract fragrances from flowers and plants. He turns out to be talented and has a very sharp nose. It quickly drives him into a repulsive experiment.
In his book, which quickly became a classic, Patrick Süskind focuses on all senses and brilliantly intertwined with attention to detail the greatest possible beauty with the most horrific horror.
Immersive family saga
It is 1969 when the four children from the Jewish family Gold, living in New York, visit a fortune-teller on a lost afternoon with their saved pocket money. One by one they meet the Romanian psychic, who saddens the children with an untold heavy burden: their date of death.
The immortals take you to the San Francisco and Las Vegas of the 80s, to the lives of eldest son Daniel, the complicated and intelligent sister Vayra, the liberated, dreamy Klara and youngest son, also an eye of Simon. Separately from each other they try to cope with the predicted approaching end.
American writer Chloe Benjamin lets the reader love the characters and sketches the power of superstition. Although we now crave clarity, in the future does not always make looking happy, this compelling family saga proves.
Journey to Middle-Earth
J.R. Tolkien, a devout Catholic by life, was a creator besides God. In addition to his university career as English language andliterary, he let his imagination run wild and invented Middle-Earth. His adventurous childrens book De hobbit (1937) took place there, but also his later magnum opus In the spell of the ring.
In this exciting and sometimes dark trilogy, the hobbit Frodo is given the heavy task of destroying a magical ring. The jewel actually belongs to the evil Sauron, who wants to rule the world with it. Frodos long journey to Mount Doom – to throw the ring into the fire where it was forged – is full of deadly dangers. Fortunately, the brave half-fling is not alone.
Tolkien himself called these and other books he wrote about Middle-Earth his Legendarium. Its wonderful to lose you as a reader. Thats what Peter Jackson thought, who filmed the books, too.