Enchanted by islands
There is something about that distance between shore and the mainland, viewed often from a deck of a ferry, as the land behind you vanishes into the distance bringing closer the air of mystery to the oncoming island. When you arrive, there can be an indefinable distance and a sense of separateness between you and the inhabitants you meet. This feeling can only be sampled during the brief sojourn you allow yourself in these isolated peaceful places.
There was once a very small bookshop in Gosforth High Street run by David Bell. It was a regular haunt for me on Saturday afternoons. I would ask advice about what to read and for long trips David would advise that I take a book about the intended location. This advice has stuck with me and on holidays I often travel with paperbacks having some connection with my destination. Having these at my side allows me to learn and begin to feel the atmosphere of the place as I travel.
But sadly not this year. Many of us have had our holiday plans disrupted.
Fear not! Through the wonder of books and fiction we can still travel around the world without leaving the safety of our own homes.
Here are some island themed books I can recommend.
For the Hebrides try George McKay Brown’s mysterious ‘Greenvoe’ or Compton McKenzie’s ‘Whiskey Galore’.
For the Channel Islands ‘Mr Pye’ by Mervyn Peake set on Sark, and Annie Barrow and Mary Ann Shaffer’s ‘The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society’.
For the Greek Islands try Louis de Benieres’ ‘Captain Corelli’s Mandolin’ or Gerald Durrell’s ‘My Family and other Animals’.
Further afield, travelling to the far South Seas it could be Arthur Grimble’s ‘A Pattern of Islands’.
Close to home we can enjoy local crime writer LJ Ross’ eponymous tale ‘Holy Island’.
Revisit your childhood
You might prefer to join the ‘Swallows and Amazons’ in the Lake District, they being much nicer and better behaved children.
I am researching my next island location using the excellent ‘100 Island Poems of Great Britain and Ireland’ edited by James Knox Whittet as my starting point. See you on Jura or the Isle of Man then?
This holiday year may we all enjoy our own (virtual) islands of choice even though circumstances dictate we stay at home and experience separation from the rest of the world.
Over to you…
There are many books set on islands, far too many to list here, so please Tweet, email or drop a note into the Library’s letterbox to indicate your choice as we promote our vast stock of books to our readers and visitors ready for when we reopen. Until then, happy reading!
Paul Taylor -The Random Blogger
- April 2020 (1)
- March 2020 (7)
- February 2020 (4)
- January 2020 (5)
- December 2019 (4)
- November 2019 (4)
- October 2019 (4)
- September 2019 (6)
- August 2019 (4)
- July 2019 (5)
- June 2019 (4)
- May 2019 (5)
- April 2019 (8)
- March 2019 (10)
- February 2019 (9)
- January 2019 (6)
- December 2018 (4)
- November 2018 (10)
- October 2018 (10)
- September 2018 (4)
- August 2018 (5)
- July 2018 (7)
- June 2018 (1)
- May 2018 (8)
- February 2018 (2)