Sunday 25 April 2010

Places to be, books to read...

As I mentioned the other day, I have a pile of books I've been meaning to read for ages and ages - and I'm taking this week off to indulge in them! Some are review copies, most are recommendations I snapped up a while ago. And here's the pile, as it stands... Let me know if you've read any of them, or have them on your tbr piles...

Brother of the More Famous Jack - Barbara Trapido
The lovely people of Bloomsbury sent me all Trapido's novels last September, and I've been keen to read them - but somehow more urgent books have always got in the way. Not any more, Trapido, love...

Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
My book group is reading old Jude for next month... to be honest, this could take most of my week, but I've been meaning to read it for at least five years and am glad to have a deadline proffered.

26a - Diana Evans
I'm afraid I can't remember who recommended this, but apparently it's one of the best depictions of twins in recent novels - and is written by a twin. Bonus.

Fragile - Chris Katsaropoulos
A review book I've been really intrigued by... which has now w
orked its way to the top of the review pile.

The Sandcastle - Iris Murdoch
I am absolutely DETERMINED to read some Iris Murdoch this year, having meant to since I saw the film Iris, gosh, nearly a decade ago. I can't remember who recommended this one, but I think perhaps it was my friend Lorna?

Secret Lives - E.F. Benson
I yield to few in my love of Mapp & Lucia, but have yet to read any other of EFB's novels. I'm pretty certain Nancy told me to read this one, but I could be getting my names mixed up...

It's a nice group of books, covering a wide span of years... half by men, half by women. Let's see how many I get through this week - kicking off with Trapido.

Oh, and you'll have noticed that Project24 has remained at 8 for the whole month, more or less - so I'm back on track!


  1. Yes, I probably recommended Secret Lives. It's very Tillingesque - just different characters & different locale. Practically all the main characters have a secret - keep an eye out for them. :-)

    It's set in Durham Square - which is actually Benson's house in Brompton Square (very near the Victoria & Albert Museum) - just as Mallards in Tilling is Benson's home, Lamb House. The main character, Susan Leg, did show up in the last Tilling story (I think that was the one) - but, I didn't like her characterization in that one.

    Au Reservoir...
    Susan Leg, authoress
    (of the rather inactive EFB yahoo group)

  2. I loved Brother of the More Famous Jack--it's the only Barbara Trapido I've read, but I have a small collection of her work now (lucky you to get them from the publisher--a while set!). For me she's along the lines of comfort reads, but intelligent comfort reads. I'd like to read Jude the Obscure sometime, but I think there are other Hardy books I'd like to read first. It might be a good idea to read it in a group--your book club is far more adventurous than the one I belonged to ever waas!

  3. I enjoyed 26A.

    And am quite a big fan of Barbara Trapido. She's talking at the Woodstock Bookshop in May, and I'm going if you fancy joining me...

    I also need to read some Iris Murdoch and was thinking about trying that one.

  4. Lucky you to have a week at hand (and a sunny one to boot) and such a lovely pile to look forward too. I would start with the Trapido - although, beware, when you finish you may be yearning to start the next as they are linked.

    THen I would take the Hardy, which I haven't read since I was 15, sadly quite a while ago. I went through a period of reading most of Hardys books and poems and became really absorbed.

    Happy reading and hope your studies have gone well.

  5. 'Secret Lives' is the only other book of Benson's that I have read outside of the M&L sextet. I loved it... I even enjoyed it more than some of the Tilling novels! I hope you feel the same and I look forward to your thoughts :-)

  6. I agree with Nancy, Simon. "Paying Guests" is also Tillingesque. I would strongly recommend "Autumn Showing" which surprises many people as it seethes (yes, positively seethes, my dear) with repressed illicit passion, and is very different to M&L.

  7. I think I would go with Secret Lives (I am about to have a go at Queen Lucia) and some Iris. I read The Bell a few years ago and though she's very deep and intellegent she isnt alienating.

  8. My personal pick would be Iris *but* if you haven't yet read Jude then it *has* to be him. Then, you can stroll up to Boars Hill & enjoy "Jude's view".

  9. I didn't love the Trapido - I read it a few months ago and I suppose I just didn't find it very original, either in style or theme. I hope you have a better experience with it!

    Jude the Obscure destroyed me when I read it in high school. I was a weeping mess for several days after. Excellent, excellent book.

    Happy reading!

  10. I'd like to read your comments on the Iris Murdoch book. I have been trying to get her books here and have failed (so far)

  11. I haven't read this particular Murdoch, but do love her work in general. I have the same old edition of The Sandcastle as you. Have fun reading.

  12. I read 'Jude the Obscure' at uni and really liked it. It was one of the only books we had to read, which didn't confuse me!

  13. I'm with Claire on the Trapido. I tried to read it last year, expecting to love it, but I couldn't relate to it at all. In fact, I gave up after 70 pages or so. You may find it easier to relate to though: it deals with a student (at Oxford if I recall correctly) and her brilliant professor. (BTW, congratulations on handing in your thesis! :-) )

    I read The Sandcastle as a teen in school and loved it so much that I bought a copy for myself. Never read it again (*grin*), but it's on my list!

  14. I've read Jude twice, and enjoyed it, though it is perhaps Hardy's most depressing book. I read 26a a few years ago and I have completely forgotten what it was about. That may say more about my age than it does about the book.;-) I have not read your Murdoch, but I've read The Bell and thought it was amazing: rich characters and great psychological tension. I definitely plan to read more Iris!


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