After much angst and changes of direction, Time To Read has now decided on its focus for activity for this year. Reading Places will promote all sorts of travel writing, in the broadest sense. We will promote books which support travel to far flung parts of the world, but we also promote books to the armchair traveler: those books which transport you to other countries, real and imaginary from the comfort of your own front room, or, let's hope, the garden deckchair. I am currently spending much time researching fiction set in other countries to pair up with the more self-evident travel guides and directories. So yes, I am still searching for a, so far elusive, novel set in Fiji. Any ideas anyone? In the meantime I have just finished reading Freedom by Jonathan Franzen which I have been waiting to do since its release last autumn. I loved it. Like The Corrections its an absorbing read about the complex relationships between people in an introspective middle-class American family. So much is familiar and at the same time I wanted to scream at them for not communicating better with each other. The bits that really grabbed me though were set in a lakeside summer-house which, both Patty and Walter at various times retreat to. This seems to be a recurring motif in American Literature, from Thoreau's Walden to the most recent novels I have read. In both Freedom and the very bleak Caribou Island (David Vann), the need for a lakeside retreat is obsessive. And yet in neither of these is "retreat" really possible. The outside world really can't be avoided.
Jane was the co-ordinator of Time To Read, a partnership of people working in public libraries in NW England, to develop the audience for reading.
She retired in August 2015 and is now very busy doing other things.