Hey, Big Reader: What Did I Miss?

Hey, Big Reader: What Did I Miss?

I’m at that stage in life where I tend to care less about a whole lot of things.

It’s a stage I wish I had known was coming when I was in my 20s. Unlike most normal people, I was a relatively calm teenager. While my family might have nominated me for the much-coveted Moody Bloody Cow From Hell Award at least 4 years running (come to think of it, I never thanked them for their support) I was pretty happy and relaxed in school, postponing the one-way anxiety-ridden ticket to Paranoiasville until my third decade.

Fortunately, that too went into the rearview mirror once I hit 30. And while I have absolutely no intention of telling you what age I am now, I’ve been getting gradually more laid back as time marches on, to the extent now that I am a Paragon of Apathy. Some people are even said to shrug in my honour.

This is a long-winded way of telling you that I don’t feel one bit guilty about the lack of constructive thought which went into this post. This is one of those 50/50 posts where you start wondering if it’s actually 40/40 and if you’ve been short-changed somewhere along the line by some 18.7%.

But I’m digressing with fake self-deprecation. Because the crux of this 44% of the post is to tell you that I’m back to books, having posted another article yesterday on writing.ie, giving out yards about 5-star reviews, discussing in detail how useless they are, demanding that all of you stop writing them, and threatening your nearest and dearest if you don’t.

So in the interests of everyone having to behave as I see fit, off you go now and have a look here.

Hey, Big Readers: What Did I Miss?

And Now, Part II of This Shakily-Partitioned Post

The second part of this post is actually a question. And while I might sound flippant as ever about it, this is actually a very, very important question for me. So if you choose to answer it, please be honest.

What have I missed over the past 80 or 90 years that I absolutely, positively should have read?

I mentioned in this post (“Theres a New Villain in Book Land, and It’s An Old One”) that I was finding more gems on old bestseller lists than I was on the contemporary shelves.

I blamed this partly on the penchant for faddish genre fiction, because I’m not myself currently going through a crime phase (incidentally, I went through a verrrrry looooong crime fiction phase in my angst-ridden 20s; what does that tell me?), and crime thrillers are still pretty much all that’s being pushed at the moment.

I love literary fiction, but rarely find the kind of stories there you can really escape into. So to get away, I found I had to go back to the old bestseller lists – particularly those from the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s – for jewels which bring me out of the frequent Meh of daily life.

Screen adaptations also brought my attention to some great stuff which had previously passed me by. I’m grateful for this, because there’s so much noise out there now, and so much to disbelieve about bestseller lists, I’ve come to the conclusion that I need prodding in the right direction.

The books I discovered late (or lately) which I’ve enjoyed so much have generally been adventures, that is, good old-fashioned stories.Hey, Big Reader: What Did I Miss?

I’m talking about well-written, well-researched, genre-defying books which can’t be slotted into one neat category, and usually span many. They’ve been epics; historical, adventure or family sagas, full of battles and journeys and births and deaths. Plot-heavy and yet character-driven romances in the medieval sense of the word ‘romance’ – that is, long(ish) tales, sprinkled with comedy, tragedy, surprise, suspense, and a happy(ish) ending.

To give you a rough idea of what I’m talking about, there were many individual books, but some authors I kept returning to, such as Ken Follett; Diana Gabaldon; John Irving; Amy Tan; Daphne Du Maurier; Mary Stewart; Winston Graham, and Philip Pullman.

So now I’m asking you to tell me: what do you think I’ve missed?

I have a few rules for answering this question (of course I do. I might be laid back, but my dictatorship isn’t) as follows:

1. No books (or 1st books in a series) from the last 10 years.

There is a reason for this: and that’s because, whenever you ask this question on the internet these days, you CANNOT STOP PEOPLE PROMOTING THEIR OWN BOOKS. This is not the purpose of this exercise, and this is where me not caring really comes to the fore.

2. The books must have sold healthily in their day, and be available now.

Again, this is not about your friend’s aunt’s book which was amazing and should have done much better than it did back in 1983. If I can’t buy it in e-book or paperback then it’s no good to me, is it?

3. There is always a third rule.

Yup.

*******************

So, can you help a girl out? Or will this in itself turn into the soon-to-be-bestselling Girl Who Couldn’t Find Something To Read?

(Oh, and thank you in advance. I might be merciless and apathetic, but that’s no call to be impolite.)

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  78 comments for “Hey, Big Reader: What Did I Miss?

  1. February 18, 2018 at 9:42 am

    Graham Greene’s always interesting and sometimes amusing. Try ‘The End of the Affair’, Our Man in Havana’. What about Kingsley Amis – ‘Lucky Jim’. And there’s always good old George Orwell. Sorry, all men, I know!

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 18, 2018 at 9:48 am

      Congratulations, Colin – you get my Golden Comment award this morning for being first in with suggestions which are both excellent, and exactly what I was hoping for! This is going to do untold damage to my cynical streak.

      Like

  2. February 18, 2018 at 9:51 am

    Don’t have any recommendations springing to mind. But I do shrug in your honour.

    (These two statements are probably linked.)

    Liked by 2 people

  3. February 18, 2018 at 9:55 am

    Have you read Susanna Clarke’s ‘Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell’? Cos if you haven’t then you really should. Can’t think of a book I’ve enjoyed more than that one in the last twenty years.

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 18, 2018 at 10:01 am

      I have read it, James, but you’re right, it’s exactly the sort of thing I’m talking about. I wasn’t mad about the TV adaptation – were you? It looked beautiful, but it felt like some of the magic had gone somehow. Maybe it’s just one of those cases where it all depends on the order you encounter them in.

      Liked by 1 person

      • February 18, 2018 at 10:20 am

        I’m in full agreement with you, I enjoyed the adaptation because it reminded me of how good the book was and it did look really good but it couldn’t quite live up to the novel. Will Self’s ‘The Book of Dave’ was interesting – not exactly gripping but worth a read, although it’s perilously close to being within the ten years (2007 I think). ‘A Short History Of Tractors in Ukrainian’ by Marina Lewycka was also good if memory serves and ‘The Rotters Club’ by Jonathan Coe was also enjoyable. I’m sure there are others but they’re the ones that seem to have made a vague impression on me.

        Liked by 1 person

        • February 18, 2018 at 10:49 am

          Is The Book Of Dave the one where there’s a lot of made-up language (as in ‘were2guv’) or something? I like that in literary fiction but sometimes I find the experimental very difficult when all I want is a ripping good yarn. I’ve read Lewycka’s and liked it very much so will definitely give Coe a go.

          You and I seem to have very similar tastes, James. I wonder if we should form a book club which looks down on all the other ones. Leave it with me.

          Liked by 1 person

          • February 18, 2018 at 12:00 pm

            The Book of Dave is definitely not a ripping good yarn. I liked it but on reflection I didn’t love it. But yes, I’d very much like to be part of a book club which involves looking down on others. Essentially the main reason I read at all is to be able to sound cleverer than everyone else…

            Liked by 1 person

            • February 18, 2018 at 4:25 pm

              It’s the only reason I get up in the morning, James. Er…

              Liked by 1 person

              • February 20, 2018 at 12:23 am

                I’ve read The Book of Dave too, so can I join the club?
                As James says, interesting but not particularly gripping. Pretty good at pointing out how religions start from the weirdest scenarios, but ultimately a bit of a downbeat kinda story. Humorous, but in a very desiccated way. I think Small Gods by Terry Pratchett is much more fun, but has 100% less taxi references.

                Liked by 1 person

                • February 23, 2018 at 9:59 pm

                  Ooh I loved Small Gods! It still pops into my head frequently. The thought of gods getting smaller and weaker, the fewer people who believed in them… loved it. That man is such a terrible lloss.

                  Liked by 1 person

                  • February 23, 2018 at 10:44 pm

                    Oh, I know. Very sad loss. So many of my fave authors die younger than they should (Douglas Adams, Terry Pratchett, Iain Banks).
                    😦
                    But just bringing a bit of Discworld joy back to the conversation, one of my favourites is The Nightwatch, where Vimes gets to become his own hero. Powerful writing.

                    Liked by 1 person

                    • February 24, 2018 at 9:50 pm

                      I had many favourites. I used to love the Discworld inventions of earthly things… I hope someone takes up the sideways fictional view of things, I really do.

                      Liked by 1 person

  4. Susanne O'Leary
    February 18, 2018 at 10:13 am

    Hi Tara! Like you I keep returning t authors I loved in the past, such as Penny Vincenzi and American author Susan Isaacs, for her fast-paced writing style and great characters. They are what used to be called commercial fiction, but now everything has to be slotted into specific genres. There seem to be very few of those block busters or ‘sweeping sagas’ anymore. Hmmm… maybe I should write one?

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 18, 2018 at 10:56 am

      Come to think of it, I loved Penny Vincenzi back in the day and read her voraciously – so I’m on the same page there – and thank you, Susanne, you’ve reminded me I should go and look up what she’s done since. I never tried Susan Isaacs so will give her a whirl.

      And you’re right – it’s the commodification of genre which is my problem. There’s a reason all those books were called blockbusters. It’s because they were what people actually wanted, not that the marketing algorithms care about that nowadays. Sometimes I think the reason crime is so perpetually popular is because it’s the one genre classification which hasn’t really been tampered with. So with that in mind, yes, please. Do go and write one ASAP.

      Like

      • Susanne O'Leary
        February 18, 2018 at 2:17 pm

        Can’t start straight away because of tight deadline for my 2 rom-coms with Bookouture. But at the end of March, I should have finished those and then I will have a long think. I’d love to write a ‘big’ book, but then that takes time and the worry would be that readers forget you while you take time to write longer books.

        BTW Penny Vincenzi published her latest last year. I just bought it. Can’t wait to get stuck in.

        Liked by 1 person

        • February 18, 2018 at 4:29 pm

          I see you managed to subvert rule no. 1, Susanne, but I’ll forgive you – this time!!

          Like

  5. February 18, 2018 at 11:27 am

    With you all the way on the grade-inflation of 5* reviews, Ms. Sparling. And I was on board early with that, as you now know!

    I’m going to break the rule about self-promotion, not with a book but with my recommendation for it. I recently plowed through four long-ago classics that all supposedly influenced the likes of Tolkien and Lewis (and seriously now, who in their right mind doesn’t like the likes of those two?). These were the original epic fantasies, I was told, so I trotted off to read them. And loved all four.

    But for you I would recommend The Worm Ouroboros by E.R. Eddison: the dialogue is brilliant in my view and it’s just jam-packed with bold plans going awry and lots of toxic masculinity in a good cause. Here’s the self-promo: I reviewed all four books on my site (I won’t link because I’m too well-mannered, but I just mention it), and once again I’m totally with you on reading the classics. Maybe I’ll win a prize for Oldest Suggestion, which would just about sum up my life at this point and enough said about that.

    Oh and it’s in the public domain as an e-book, totally free which could qualify for cheapest recommendation by page count as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 18, 2018 at 4:21 pm

      Recommendation taken and with gladness, Will. Although I’m wondering at your version of ‘ploughed through’ Vs mine – for me, it’s when I’m truly working to get through a tome that may or may not reward me at the end! I’m definitely in line for the Worm, though.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. February 18, 2018 at 11:37 am

    The Thorn Birds was an epic that was passed around houses under the cloak of darkness, by my Mum and her 11 sisters. I still have a copy here and it’s coming with me on my next beach holiday. (Now, that could be another3 decades away, so that will make it a seriously vintage read)

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 18, 2018 at 4:24 pm

      Loved that book with priestly passion, Lou. Used to sneak off during my summer job to get a chapter in. I re-read it last year and although it didn’t punch me in the goolies as much as the first time round, I was still sideswiped by how well-written it was. I really really hope you get to re-read it on a beach soon!!

      Like

  7. February 18, 2018 at 11:47 am

    I don’t know if either of these books would be up your alley, but I recommend Diana Wynne Jones Archer’s Goon and/or Fire and Hemlock. Or Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman.

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 18, 2018 at 4:24 pm

      Neverwhere is on my TBR shelf so it’s now first on my list! I think you might be totally up my alley!

      Like

  8. February 18, 2018 at 12:29 pm

    Have you tried Helen Dunmore? Her work’s wonderful—I’ve read Exposure recently and enjoyed it tremendously. Also, Elizabeth Goudge wrote lovely old-fashioned historical fiction (just finished Towers in the Mist, about 16th-century Oxford); Mary Stewart, who wrote similar stuff with more romance in it; and Daphne du Maurier, of whose books I can highly recommend Frenchman’s Creek and My Cousin Rachel (as well as the usual Rebecca, though Rebecca is probably not quite as good as My Cousin Rachel, which is stonking. And scary.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 18, 2018 at 4:27 pm

      No I haven’t read Helen Dunmore, Elle, and yes I will! I have read some of Stewart and The Daphne but there are always more books of those I need to get back to. I’m beginning to feel very optimistic about my reading future.

      Liked by 1 person

      • February 19, 2018 at 11:42 am

        (The nice thing about Stewart and Du Maurier is they both wrote absolutely TONS of stuff – there’s always more of theirs to discover.)

        Liked by 1 person

  9. February 18, 2018 at 12:53 pm

    Aha, I stopped writing reviews as I cannot cope with the guilt of dishonesty. My 20s were, by a vast margin, my most angst-ridden decade. You wanta da great (readable) books?

    The Last of the Wine – Mary Renault
    The Poisonwood Bible – Barbara Kingsolver
    The Reluctant Fundamentalist – Mohsin Hamid
    The Hare with Amber Eyes – Edmund de Waal
    The Time of Our Singing – Richard Powers
    Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close – Jonathan Saffran Foer
    Kim – Rudyard Kipling

    Um… I could go on for several pages. I agree with earlier comment re Jonathan Coe.

    Liked by 2 people

    • February 18, 2018 at 4:28 pm

      The only one of those I’ve read is Extremely Loud, Hilary, so this is all most excellent. Feel free to DM me your several pages. Thank you!!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Shona Rusk
    February 18, 2018 at 1:32 pm

    Hi Tara

    I doubt you have missed much – it doesn’t sound like you, but some old favourites:

    Isabelle Allende – Trilogy for young adults – The City of the Beasts – Loved every page of these!

    Jon Mc Gregor – If nobody speaks of remarkable things

    Joanne Harris – holiday reading. – 5 quarters of an orange is my favourite.

    Iris Murcodh – The Sea, the Sea

    Lee Child and Michael Connelly and Nelson de Mille make up some of the rest of the stuff I like to ready, but I think you wont have missed these!

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 18, 2018 at 4:40 pm

      Oh, excellent, Shona… this is all great stuff. I’ve read Child and Connolly all right, but it’s always good to get a reminder of prolific authors who have loads still to discover. I mightn’t see you for a while – lots of reading to do, you understand 😜

      Like

  11. February 18, 2018 at 4:26 pm

    What is this you are asking? Us to recommend a book to you… when you refuse to give us recommendations? I suspect you will hide behind your ‘oh I’m not talking about recent books,’ well I’ll tell you mine when you tell me yours!
    But there is also the fact that for at least ten years of my life I lived in a fog of child rearing and I’ve actually forgotten if I read any books between the ages of 25 and 35, and I too have no intention of letting you know how long ago that was, so I’m probably of no help to you anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 18, 2018 at 4:36 pm

      Yep. I have as much neck as a swan riding a giraffe, Tric. Although, to be fair, I did imply my own recommendations here with the list of authors I’ve been enjoying who’ve written stonking good stories – n’est pas?

      Or so I’m claiming, anyway, because I’m belligerent like that. I wouldn’t worry about your child-rearing amnesia, though. Isn’t that nature’s defence mechanism?!

      Like

  12. February 18, 2018 at 4:27 pm

    I love Lisa See, particularly Snow Flower and Shanghai Girls. Also Barbara Kingsolver’s The Poisonwood Bible, and going back to the 1800 somethings, some fun stories starring Violet Strange, lady detective. Ah, forgot author in this moment. I had to read the stories online, but they were fun and written SO long ago… Anna Katherine Green, there!

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 18, 2018 at 4:32 pm

      Ooh, I read Snow Flower and the Secret Fan and enjoyed it very much indeed, but nothing else by See, and I’ll definitely be reading The Poisonwood Bible – you’re in good company with your recommendation there. I also love the 1800 somethings, so I’m SOLD.

      Like

  13. February 18, 2018 at 4:42 pm

    I refuse to mention my own books, as you know Tata I never break any rules. Just wanted to tell you that I’m thrilled there is one other person out there on the planet who is not gagging to read sickly romances, ghoulish vampire fantasy, dystopian future ‘Game of Thrones’ clones – but good old-fashioned books with proper stories and real characters. I’m not alone anymore 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 18, 2018 at 6:12 pm

      You’re so far from alone, Lucinda, I reckon we’re about two inches from a support group. Although I think some of the dystopian stuff definitely has merit in the all-in-one-adventure category, I do hanker after the blockbusters of old. I wonder sometimes if any of those master storytellers were submitting today, would they get published. My guess is no.

      Liked by 1 person

      • February 18, 2018 at 6:34 pm

        Not a chance they would get published now. Our media appears rooted in throwing out the same old stuff over and over again eg Men in Black 1,729

        Liked by 1 person

  14. February 18, 2018 at 5:39 pm

    Would a tale of lusty Vikings (men and women) pique your interest? You can’t beat the scenery on Red Orm’s journeys from the Caliph of Cordoba’s court to Ethelred the Unready’s England to Kievan Rus, told with mordant, dry wit and marvelous historical detail by Frans G. Bengtsson in “The Long Ships.” Published in the 40’s; recently reissued with an introduction by Michael Chabon. When I was young (lo those many years ago), my sisters and I would read it out loud to my mother while she was ironing my dad’s shirts. Yule at King Harald Bluetooth’s hall provided our family’s irreverent holiday scripture.

    You’re welcome.

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 18, 2018 at 6:15 pm

      I’m always up for a bit of historical bloodshed, Shelley, so yes, I think it would! Anyone called ‘The Unready’ accompanied by a dose of mordant dry wit sounds like someone I’d like to spend quite a lot of time with. Off with me now on my longship, then…

      Like

  15. February 18, 2018 at 6:15 pm

    Have you read anything by Richard Russo? I LOVE his work and his stories. Mohawk, The Risk Pool, Nobody’s Fool, Straight Man, Empire Falls to name a few. Several have been made into excellent movies. You are in for a treat if you check him out and I don’t just recommend him because he’s from my home state of Maine. He won a Pulitzer Prize for Empire Falls. Happy reading!

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 18, 2018 at 6:53 pm

      No, I haven’t – so this sounds great altogether. Great suggestions, especially as I am that type of cultural heathen who thinks it’s a good thing that a book I liked might have been made into a movie, just for a different take on it 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  16. annerallen
    February 18, 2018 at 6:20 pm

    I’ve recently gone back to reread some of my favorites from decades ago: women’s literary fiction of the English sort that doesn’t seem to exist anymore. It’s unsentimental and often deliciously vicious. Iris Murdoch, Barbara Pym, Muriel Spark, Fay Weldon. It’s a genre that has mostly disappeared, except maybe for Marian Keyes, who is much more literary than anybody gives her credit for. They’re “small” stories usually, but packed with drama. You just might enjoy one of them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 18, 2018 at 6:56 pm

      You’re speaking my language, Anne. Not only do I get quite hot under the collar when I hear someone dismissing Marian Keyes as so-called “mere chick-lit”, when it comes to great characters, sometimes only the wise women of old can provide. Plus you put my most favourite things into words when you said ‘deliciously vicious’. Oooh man do I now have the book list from heaven!

      Liked by 1 person

  17. February 18, 2018 at 6:41 pm

    For once I feel ahead of the curve, having read your 5 star piece via that Twitter thing earlier. I was going to provide a list of books for you to read, all of which I had awarded 5 stars (but not tell you), but most of them were from the last 10 years (Nick Hornby’s ‘Juliet, Naked’ being about a year too young).
    So I shall simply recommend ‘Complicity’ by Iain Banks. Kind of journo crime thriller with very interesting plot & switches of PoV. Got me hooked on his books & subsequently read everything he wrote. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 18, 2018 at 6:59 pm

      Great stuff, Nick. I read Juliet, Naked, but forgot until you said it, and there’s plenty more Nick Hornbys where that came from. On your recommendation I will try Complicity. I read and loved The Crow Road – although I knew it wasn’t typical Iain Banks – but met a brick wall with The Wasp Factory, even though I’m not the squeamish type. Obviously I need to go back and try again.

      Liked by 1 person

      • annerallen
        February 18, 2018 at 7:04 pm

        I’m a big fan of Hornby too. And I loved Juliet Naked. I think Hornby carries on some of that “deliciously vicious” tradition of the women I mentioned in my comment.

        Liked by 2 people

      • February 18, 2018 at 7:37 pm

        Ah, yes, The Wasp Factory. Very much the Marmite test for readers of Iain Banks. I kind of liked it but it’s waaay down my list of fave titles. The Crow Road was the 2nd of his books that I read & I loved it (there was also a surprisingly good BBC adaptation starring Joe McFadden, Bill Paterson, Dougray Scott & Peter Capaldi). Complicity is powerful stuff and there are some grizzly murders, but it’s also a gripping page turner. “Espedair Street” is another that I need to re-read, a much less frenetic story that focuses on an ageing rock musician and his regrets.

        Liked by 1 person

        • February 18, 2018 at 10:03 pm

          Like the sound of Espedair Street too. Sounds like it veers into Juliet, Naked territory…

          Liked by 1 person

          • February 19, 2018 at 8:54 pm

            Actually, if you like a bit of muso reminiscing, here’s a wee story I threw up a while back:

            Liked by 1 person

            • February 19, 2018 at 10:15 pm

              I’m missing a link there, Nick. I do have to moderate all comments with links, but this one didn’t even make it past WordPress. Or perhaps it was a metaphysical piece?

              Liked by 1 person

  18. February 18, 2018 at 7:02 pm

    Second Anne’s suggestions + Tears of Autumn by Charles McCarry (ex-CIA) is one of the great spy thrillers of the 20th Century. Literate (the MC is a poet manqué), intelligent, informed, romantic, it’s moves from Saigon to Rome to the Congo and is about the JFK assassination. Truly, a thrilling thriller.

    Here’s the Amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/Tears-Autumn-Christopher-Novel-Novels/dp/1585678902/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8

    Liked by 2 people

    • February 18, 2018 at 9:27 pm

      I’d say ‘at last’, Ruth, but what I’d mean really is ‘once upon a time’ because they don’t make thrillers like they used to! Sounds so well-rounded, not a thinly plotted behind-closed-doors knock-off. That sounds stupendous. Off I go…

      Like

  19. February 18, 2018 at 11:48 pm

    “The God of Small Things” by Arundhati Roy is really excellent. “On Beauty” by Zadie Smith, one of those books where I can’t remember what exactly happened in the plot, only that I was completely absorbed by the characters and relationships within the plot. I don’t know how an author does that! “Are You Experienced” by William Sutcliffe. A funny novel about a young lad backpacking around India in the 90s. I was still laughing out loud the third time I read it, couldn’t recommend it enough if you want a good giggle. Too many more that I’ve forgotten, but these three are gems.

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 19, 2018 at 11:39 am

      You’re so right on the absorption – I read On Beauty, and parts of it still come into my mind from time to time. But I haven’t read that Roy, and any recommendations for laughs get the thumbs up from me. Excellent stuff! Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  20. February 19, 2018 at 11:34 am

    Somebody upstream reminded me about how much I love Mary Renault’s books, all of them but especially the Alexander trilogy. Alexander the Great has become one of my heroes on the strength of it. I’d say Patricia Lynch but her books are all out of print (shame on you, Ireland), Katherine Mansfield for poignancy and Molly Keane for a good laugh.

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 19, 2018 at 7:48 pm

      Your mention of Alexander the Great makes me think of other great historical figures I should probably seek out fiction on, Jane. In terms of good old bloodthirsty adventure stories, history’s just the best, isn’t it?! I’ll give your other suggestions a whirl too…

      Like

  21. February 19, 2018 at 6:14 pm

    One of the books I was going to suggest falls foul of your rule No. 3 so I’ll keep that one to myself. Following the release of The Limehouse Golem I’d recommend Ackroyd’s Dan Leno and the Limehouse Golem. It was my favourite Ackroyd story novel alongside Hawksmoor and The House of Dr. Dee. If you care to read sci-fi I thought William Gibson’s cyberpunk novels were quite good at the time. Don’t know how they’d stand up to the 21st Century, but Count Zero might activate your nanosynapticthings. Does the Bible count?

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 19, 2018 at 7:52 pm

      No, the Bible does not count, Chris. Too many swords, not enough sandals. Good job you didn’t run foul if Rule No. 3. The penalties would be both comic and deeply tragic. I only saw the trailer for the Golem but that would be enough to make me try the book – so, good call. I have enjoyed some sci-fi and hated some, so let’s have a go, shall we?

      Liked by 1 person

      • February 19, 2018 at 8:21 pm

        I remember a short novel by John Fuller called Look Twice. A curious story set on a train; Fuller is a poet and at the time it was his only work of fiction. And how cold I forget Martin Amis? The Information is my recommendation if you haven’t already read it/don’t hate Martin Amis.

        Liked by 1 person

        • February 19, 2018 at 10:11 pm

          I do not hate Martin Amis, and so welcome the opportunity to approach anything I don’t already hate. I suppose you could therefore call this a good day.

          Liked by 1 person

  22. February 20, 2018 at 8:10 pm

    So many wonderful recommendations above, Tara. Many of them books I’ve forgotten about. I know you’re not much of a sci-fi reader, so I’ll throw in a sci-fi novel that had a huge impact on me – Earth Abides by George R. Stewart written in 1949. It was one of the first post-apocalyptic novels. I still remember it like it was yesterday. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 21, 2018 at 12:00 am

      I’m not sure where I am with regard to sci-fi, Diana… I used to love it, and then went through a few which left me cold, so I must have been a fair weather friend anyway to stop reading it – but if I’m going to start again anywhere, it’ll be with the old stuff, so you’ve hit that right on the button I think! Plus, it’s coming from you, so I’d have to give it a go…. 😉

      Like

  23. February 20, 2018 at 10:53 pm

    James Hilton’s Random Harvest and Lost Horizon.

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 21, 2018 at 12:00 am

      Lovely, Christine, thank you! I’m not familiar with those at all…

      Like

  24. carol mcnamara
    February 24, 2018 at 8:36 pm

    Hey, Tara, I have already forgotten the rules of this because I have had such a good time reading the suggested reads. Here are mine, Stuff that influenced me in my formative years ( which incidentally I am still enjoying)
    A Kind of Loving ( Stan Barstow), A Town like Alice ( Nevil Shute), The Dark Arena ( Mario Puzo), The L Shaped Room
    ( Lynne Reid Banks), a Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain .. oh and for learning a bit about sex while in a convent school in County Clare in early 70’s would have to include the Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann…….
    p.s Brilliant idea for blog/ conversation loved it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 25, 2018 at 1:41 am

      Love those suggestions, Carol – and it’s turning into a fantastic list, isn’t it? So much so, I’m going to be uncharacteristically generous and share it with everybody. I know, I know. I’ll turn into a functioning member of society before I know it.

      Like

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