Almost a month ago, it was my birthday. One of Tom's friend and his partner got me a £20 Waterstone's voucher, which I had been saving up for a time when I felt an irrepressible urge to buy some books. That time came on Monday, one day in to the last week of the term, when I was feeling exhausted and in need of some cheering up. Here are my purchases:
Mornings In Jenin by Susan Abulhawa.
This promises to be a multi-generational epic about a Palestinian family after 1948. Whilst I was at university completing my psychology degree, I took a module in International Politics with an inspirational professor and have been interested in the Israel-Palestine conflict ever since. Plus, this comes recommended by Michael Palin, which is always a bonus!
Minaret by Leila Aboulela
I've heard good things about Aboulela's writing and have decided to start with Minaret, the story of Najwa, a cleaner in London who was once part of a wealthy family in the Sudan. I have high hopes for this one, it promises to deal with the immigrant experience, romance and religious awakening.
The House of The Mosque by Kader Abdolah
This novel starts in Iran in 1950 and follows the life of an ordinary family in a country that is on the verge of revolution. I must admit that my knowledge of the Iranian revolution is based mainly on Persepolis, so I'm hoping that this book will give me another perspective.
The Novel In The Viola by Natasha Solomons
And now for something completely different - the story of a Jewish refugee in 1930s London who becomes a maid and falls in love with the owner of the grand country house she works in. I've bought this one purely based on the similarity of the plot with Eva Ibbotson's The Secret Countess, which I adored. I'm hoping this will be a lovely escapist reading experience.
I believe it's published as something else in America, something Tyneford?
Once I finish my backlog of library books, I'm looking forward to cracking the spine on a few of these! I think my spending choices reflect the fact that I'm itching for travel at the moment. We've decided not to go away this year so we can save more money in our house deposit-fund, but that doesn't stop me dreaming. My top two choices would be Marrakech or Istanbul, both destinations I've wanted to go to for years.
What books are your favourites for armchair travelling?