Review - Books - My life in books

7th January 2011 at 00:00

Helen Hemingway is a retired science teacher and head of year in Selby, North Yorkshire.

What I'm reading

Springtime for Germany: or How I Learned to Love Lederhosen

By Ben Donald

I am enjoying this book about a disillusioned traveller who finds the commercialism of far-flung holiday destinations "flat". Going to tropical islands is so "last season", he says dismissively. He finds out he is apparently suffering from Weltschmerz, a type of world weariness, and needs to have a unique experience that the undiscovered Germany off the tourist trail would be able to provide. The observations and comparisons from the Germans are interesting; you wouldn't experience these on a tourist package.

The book I loved as a child

Moominsummer Madness (Originally: Farlig midsommar)

By Tove Jansson

This book was chosen for me by a most wonderful teacher - Mrs Sessnan - when my parents moved to a new area and I had to leave my school in 1970 at the age of 10. I was in love with the stories of the Moomins: their land and valley, the mystical characters and the adventures they embarked upon. The sound of Mrs Sessnan's voice was mesmerising and each new paragraph was enjoyed in a world of darkness with my head on my arms and face to the wood of my desk. Even the melancholy of the world of Snufkin captured my imagination.

Read this before you die

The Clan of the Cave Bear (and sequels)

By Jean M Auel

This is an amazing book based on the crossover period between Neanderthals and emerging modern humans during the last Ice Age. The books follow Ayla and Jondalar in every minute detail of their lives thousands of years ago. It is compelling reading with needlepoint detail about relationships, ethics and cultural practices. The final book in the series, Plains of Passage, made me gasp and cry at the same time.

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