What I’m Reading: Frances Whiting

As any voracious reader knows, there are so many books out there, it can be hard to choose just what to read next. So what could be better than a hand-picked recommendation from someone in the know? Every Wednesday the XOXOAD team likes to find out what some of its favorite authors are reading; today we’ve asked Frances Whiting, author of WALKING ON TRAMPOLINES, now on sale from Gallery Books, to tell us what she’s reading now!

Hello from Australia!

If I took a photo of my bedside reading table at the moment, you would see, well, some dust if I’m honest, and then a small bundle of books containing the following…

The Camomile Lawn by Mary Wesley

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

Bring Up The Bodies by Hilary Mantel

When it comes to books, I take a bit of a free range approach, dipping in and out as the mood takes me, and I usually have a few on the go at once!

I know other people who do this, and although I understand the value of completely absorbing oneself in a book from start to finish, and I do read this way sometimes myself, I tend to read books as the mood strikes me, and for different reasons.

I also tend to revisit old favourites–Mary Wesley for one, not just because I think she’s a sublime writer but also because she gives me hope! She had her first adult novel published at 71 years of age. My book came out the year I turned 50, so am a bit of a late bloomer myself!

Bring Up The Bodies, by Hilary Mantel — what a story, and how astonishingly well researched. It’s the story of the dismantling and destruction of Anne Boleyn’s character and life, told through a complex and lengthy cast of characters… I read this one when I’m feeling alert!

As to The Goldfinch, I’ve just started it, as recommended by a friend, so I can’t say too much about the story, but I will say that Tartt has managed to pull off what I consider to be one of the hardest writing challenges about: to write as an adult about the feelings and recollections of a child.

This is no easy task, done improperly it doesn’t ring true, but as I read her pages I see the events unfolding through a little boy’s eyes, with all the accompanying bewilderment and wonder.

Lastly, I’d like to say that I think the joy of reading is the greatest gift my parents gave me.

The best way to describe how I feel about it is to quote Lilly Bollinger , the great champagne house doyenne, when asked when she enjoyed a glass….

I only drink champagne when I’m happy, and when I’m sad. Sometimes I drink it when I’m alone. When I have company, I consider it obligatory. I trifle with it if I am not hungry and drink it when I am. Otherwise I never touch it – unless I’m thirsty.”

Replace “drink champagne” with “read books” and that’s pretty much me!

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Walking on Trampolines

Walking on Trampolines

Frances Whiting

A heartwarming, accessible, and thought-provoking story of friendships, first loves, and finding yourself where you least expect it. Because it's not how far you fall, but how high you bounce.

The Camomile Lawn

The Camomile Lawn

Mary Wesley

A sprawling novel of wartime England--and the loss of innocence.

The Goldfinch

The Goldfinch

Donna Tartt

An epic tale chronicling a thirteen-year-old boy's journeys in art, life, love, and loss.

Bring Up The Bodies

Bring Up The Bodies

Hilary Mantel

A fabulous, dramatic reimagining and retelling of the rise--and fall--of Anne Boleyn.



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