I'm finally on holiday and have some very clear priorities – resting, sleeping, pottering around, writing and catching up on reading. I shan't be stirring far from my own front door, which suits me fine. The thought of long journeys and crowded airports isn't an enticing one. And anyway, I have a book to finish and a long-suffering editor hovering for it . . .
I've got a holiday reading pile that stretches from here to London, so if I manage three or four a week I'll be doing well. I've saved some up on purpose – the new Peter Temple to satisfy my Aussie leanings, an intriguing-sounding Indian mystery by Vikas Swarup, the new Jeff Abbott (every pile should have a willy-waving thriller for light relief!) and two books by fantasy writer Elizabeth Bear set in Elizabethan times and a parallel universe. Oh, and I finally tracked down via Amazon Marketplace a copy of DK Broster's The Jacobite Trilogy, the Scottish historical epic I blogged about a month or so back. I intend to wallow in that and am hoping that it will stand up to all my memories of it.
A couple of non-mysteries have sneaked onto the mountain, including Netherland by Joseph O'Neill. According to yesterday's newspapers, it's on the Booker Prize shortlist. I tend not to take much notice of which book's been nominated or has won such-and-such a prize, but it's in some interesting company, including (shock horror) a thriller – Tom Rob Smith's Child 44 (which is also somewhere in the book mountain).
O'Neill's book interests me a lot, as it somehow links cricket and 9/11. I'm particularly interested in novels that feature sport. I've never quite taken to David Peace's crime fiction, but his novel about soccer, The Damned United, is one of my top all-time books.
And on the subject of sporting novels, I may be just about the break the habit of a lifetime. Regular visitors to Dead Guy Towers will know that I don't go to conventions, book launches or book signings – mainly because I'm interested in the books and not the authors, but also because most take place in London, which is nearly two and a half hours away. But I've had an invite to the launch of the new Dick Francis book, co-written with son Felix, and you know what? I'm going. And I hope I get to shake the Master's hand and to thank him for all the enjoyment he's given me over the years through his storytelling.