Before I start my day, yes I know it's late, nearing eleven o' clock in fact, but it is Sunday and I do go to work on a Saturday.
I feel like blogging (getting a taste for the new site now!) and I did promise to tell you about my current reading matter, rather than just list a few favourite books at the side. I will also tell you in future blogs of any recommended titles which I come across in my travels, or hear about in the library.
I'm re-reading, with much pleasure, the book below which we are discussing at our next book group meeting in May.
I think you will like it.
This is part of a review I wrote for the library website.
Running for the Hills
by Horatio Clare
Our library's book group in Llanwrtyd occasionally has evenings on the theme of ‘What books are on our bedside table.‘ One of the books currently beside my bed has by chance been chosen by another member of our group as her main choice for us to read later in the year. Another borrower in the library who has also read it described it as the best book she has read for ages. For these reasons I would like to recommend it to you. It happens of course to also be of ‘Welsh interest’.
The title is Running for the Hills by Horatio Clare which coincidentally happens to be, like a previous choice of mine, another loving memoir written about a parent; this time the author is a son who is writing about both parents but focussing mainly on his mother.
It describes Clare’s childhood in the 1970’s as he grows up with his brother and their parents as incomers to Wales and their struggle to make a living on an isolated farm up a mountain. It is also a story about a marriage break-up and of the effect on the two children, but it is not a depressing book.
His parents are two very different people and one wonders whether their relationship would have survived even if they had not come to Wales. Clare writes movingly and honestly about his mother’s struggle, after the break-up, to carry on farming alone and there are also extracts from his mother’s journal which she kept at the time.
The book is well written, (the writing strangely enough seems to improve even more as the book goes on) and will appeal to a variety of readers, not only to people like myself who have been in a similar position and who did escape to the hills of Wales with a young family, but also to readers who have no interest in farming or the quest for the ’simple life’.
It is a serious book, not one of the more humorous ‘How I became a pig farmer in Wales’ type, of which there are probably far too many. It will appeal to locals and incomers alike in its portrayal of what life was really like for the first of the people from ‘Off’ who made a run for the hills of Wales in search of a better life.
Since I first wrote this review the book has been featured as Book of the Week on Radio 4 and was read very movingly by the author himself, Horatio Clare. I look forward to his next book.
(Horatio Clare has worked on Radio 4’s Front Row and Nightwaves and produced Radio 3's The Verb. Born in 1973, he has written for The Spectator, the New Statesman, the Guardian, and the Daily Telegraph).