It dawned on me the other day when I was gardening that the mark of good fiction is when several days after finishing a book you wonder how the characters are and what they are doing. The book in question was The Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy. In turn it made me think you might like an update on what I’m reading and what I’ve enjoyed. The reviews I put on Goodreads do post as a sidebar on the lower right hand side of the blog but here are just a few of my recent choices:
The Return of the Native – Thomas Hardy
This is the first Hardy I’ve wanted to hide in the freezer because I could see what was going to happen and didn’t want it to. As it turned out, thankfully in some aspects I was wrong and I was able to breathe a sigh and carry on. It is as near to a happy ending as you will get with Hardy and I enjoyed it. I probably prefer Tess or Jude the Obscure, but this paints a beautiful picture of the wild heath and there characters to warm your heart. Definitely worth reading.
Dream a Little Dream – Sue Moorcroft
I think this is one of Sue’s best (of the ones I have read so far). The characters are believable and come to life for the reader. There are enough twists and turns to the story line to keep everyone satisfied and an ending that will leave you smiling. I particularly enjoyed a book which actually had a decent role for a dog! That may sound odd but they play such an important role in real life and so rarely get more than a passing reference in fiction. Crosswind (the dog) is a delight. (for those of you of a sensitive disposition there are some, shall we say, ‘more intimate’ scenes! – but they are well written and integral to the story).
Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackery
A classic in all regards, but typical of the period. A little (a lot) long winded and rambling in places but generally to serve a purpose. After an entire novel of build up, I found the ending disappointing in being rather rushed, but I suspect that is because that aspect of the story was not what was important to the author.
The Morning After the Life Before – Della Galton
A good follow up novel. Although I think Ice and a Slice is slightly stronger, this is well worth reading both as fiction and as a way of better understanding the real problems of alcoholism. Della has done a fantastic job of making it clear that it could be any one of us affected by this problem and not just some ‘odd’ people somewhere else. It is gritty, real and a very good read.
Nation – Terry Pratchett
This is not just a story it is a book of modern philosophy. Along with To Kill a Mocking Bird, every young person (and adult) should read it. If it does not make you think first time round then read it again and look a little deeper. So many important issues are covered in parallel with a good well written story with some great characters. To say the world lost a great man when Terry Pratchett died is an understatement. His work is worthy of being read by everyone.
The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe – C. S. Lewis
I would probably have enjoyed this more had I read it when I was nine rather than forty-nine. Never-the-less, it is a good story and worth reading. What was interesting was looking at it as an editor there is language and wording attributed to the children that I would ask an author to change as being ‘too adult’ for the age of the speaker, but this clearly didn’t hold C S Lewis back! Maybe the language of the children he knew was much older. It gives rise to an interesting debate.