Here at the Charles Causley Trust, we are complex beings with simple pleasures: we love to read. Lots.
Though our days are kept busy with promoting the legacy of our favourite Cornish poet Charles Causley, we are just as prone as you– our wonderful readers– to curling up under a blanket with a cup of hot chocolate and seeing out the cold winter nights by the warmth of our favourite books and poems.
As such, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to compile a list of our favourite reading experiences of 2021, in the hopes that we might reach out across the divide to fellow fans of our favourite stories, or simply that you might find a new read to fall in love with.
The Four Quartets – T. S Eliot
“My choice is Four Quartets by T.S Eliot. Being totally honest I hadn’t even heard of this and booked for us to see Ralph Fiennes’ live performance of the poem(s) in Bath. Fiennes’s performance was exquisite and I have since read the poem(s) and have downloaded it on Audible (again being performed by Fiennes). The language and descriptions are sublime but I think the thing that has struck me the most is the journey the words take you on. It’s like a journey through the memories in your own mind, weaving here and there, back and forth, trying to make sense of all that has gone before, is happening now and might happen in the future. Love it – with every word I visit a place of memory – narrated by the wonderfully luxuriant voice of Ralph Fiennes. What’s not to like?”
Nicola Nuttall, Acting Director
Dartmoor Tors Compendium by Josephine Collingwood
“The last book I most enjoyed reading was Dartmoor Tors Compendium by Josephine M Collingwood which my children bought me for Christmas. It is a factual reference book that combines beautiful photography with information for every Dartmoor tor. Each of the 155 tors is listed in alphabetical order with map references and is shown over a double spread with photographs and a fact-file. I have got lots of books on Dartmoor as I spend many hours walking with my rather adventurous miniature poodle Coco, but this is my favourite book as it is different. It brings together the features and history around each tor along with stunning photography to provide a truly engaging experience.”
Claire Heard, Office Manager
Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney
“The last book I read was Sally Rooney’s Conversations with Friends, following several recommendations. I had read some of Rooney’s Normal People, one of the most talked about books of 2020, and had not enjoyed it, so I was sceptical about reading another of her texts. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the book and the way that it unapologetically tackled multiple complexities, and arguably issues, of modern relationships. Undoubtedly, Rooney has a unique writing style that captures the distinct voices of her characters incredibly well. Though the story was at several points frustrating, I appreciated the craftsmanship of the characters from the first page to the last.”
Kate Debling, Digital Engagement and Marketing Officer (and The Maker co-editor)
A Little Life by Hanya Yanigahara
“My favourite read of 2021 is also my least favourite in a lot of ways, as it sent me through such an emotional whirlpool I was barely able to cling on to the sides! Yanigahara’s novel of friendship, love, trauma and mental illness was a 720-page journey through the lives of four incredibly compelling best friends throughout the decades of their adult years in New York City. Astonishingly written, almost perfectly composed, this novel stays with you. I often find myself thinking about it while washing the dishes, or on the train, or listening to a treasured friend talk about their day. If ever there was a piece of art designed to make you adore your loved ones that much more, this book is surely it.”
Lauren Bilsborough, The Maker Development Officer (and Co- Editor)
Toksvig’s Almanac 2021: An Eclectic Meander through the Historical Year by Sandi Toksvig
“A book I read throughout the year last year was Toksvig’s Almanac 2021: An Eclectic Meander through the Historical Year by one of my favourite people on the telly box, Sandi Toksvig. The book is basically a page a day on a historically significant event, person or fact that relates to that day. As a result my head is now filled with very random facts about the often forgotten and neglected corners of history. My personal favourite being about Beryl Markham, a Kenyan born British female pilot who became the first person to fly solo nonstop across the Atlantic.”
Eloise Speechly, Engagement Officer
Those were our favourite reads of 2021. What were yours?