I’m conscious that I haven’t been around much this week and for that my apologies. I’ve had quite a bit of teaching, with all the preparation that is associated with postgraduate work and I’ve also been finalising the details for this year’s Summer School.
As some of you know, every year I run a Summer School for a group of friends who, like me, can’t afford to attend any of the more formal literary gatherings. About this time of year I offer them five sets of books, each set being linked by a different theme, and ask them to choose the one they would most like to spend a week discussing. There are three books in each set so when the Summer School comes round we meet three times during the week, each time the meeting being hosted by a different member of the group and the discussion being led by a different participant. That way there is no real burden of preparation other than reading the books on anyone and the only cost that we incur is 50p a day for tea and biscuits. It works extremely well. This will be the fifth year we’ve run it.
The forms for book selection will go out next week and this year participants will be asked to choose from amongst the following:
The Travelling Hornplayer ~ Barbara Trapido
Bel Canto ~ Ann Patchett
An Equal Music ~ Vikram Seth
The Perfect Spy
Sweet Tooth ~ Ian McEwan
Spies ~ Michael Frayn
Restless ~ William Boyd
On Flanders Field
Restoration ~ Pat Barker
The Eye in the Door ~ Pat Barker
The Ghost Road ~ Pat Barker
Resurrecting the Past
Remarkable Creatures ~ Tracy Chevalier
A Month in the Country ~ J L Carr
The Dig ~ John Preston
Breaking New Ground
The Tenderness of Wolves ~ Stef Penney
The Lieutenant ~ Kate Grenville
The Last Runaway ~ Tracy Chevalier
I’m always glad that I don’t get a vote as to which of the groups we’re going to read because of course I never offer books that I don’t want to spend my summer with and I would be very hard put to choose between these sets. However, I’m sure you’ve got thoughts as to which would top your list if you were joining us and I would love to hear what those are. It would be fascinating to see if your overall choice matches up to those who will actually be coming to the Summer School.