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Monday 26 August 2019

Books I had to read in school and liked

Just a couple of weeks ago I was blogging on books I had to read in school and hated. Now Long and Short Reviews has us on books we had to read in school and liked. Needless to say, that is a much shorter list, because I can think of nothing more likely to make you hate a book than having to dissect it line by line.

It all boils down to one author, really...


I studied Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet and The Tempest in school, saw them multiple times on stage, and from that point on I had developed a lifelong love of Shakespeare. It's my ambition to see every Shakespeare play in the theatre at least once, and I've seen two this year and have tickets for another.

So what - if anything - did you like that you had to read in school?

Monday 19 August 2019

What I read when I'm not feeling well

This prompt from Long and Short Reviews was fairly easy, because when I'm not feeling well I read stuff that requires very little thought - mostly romance. It's not something I read a lot of, but when I'm sick I like to disappear into that world, and these are the sorts of things that help me do that.

The Time Traveler's Wife. It may not make a huge amount of sense, but I find it to be good escapism.

To Marry A Prince. This was the first romance novel I ever read, and it's perfect. It had a great, strong heroine, an equally great best friend and a central romance you root for all the way.

Anything by Anne O'Brien. She writes more at the romantic end of history and I've loved every one of her books.

So what do you read when you're ill?

Monday 12 August 2019

Books I had to read in school and didn't like

This prompt from Long and Short Reviews initially made me respond "Every one of them." I think studying English literature at school was a great way to ruin a decent book. (It says something that when I read "To Kill a Mockingbird" under my own steam I liked it, but my friends who had to read it for class hated every word.)

I did, however, come up with three in particular.

Joby - Stan Barstow. According to Amazon this book is supposed to be full of working class themes, but all I remember is being forced to read this book aloud paragraph by paragraph by people who were giggling at the mention of breasts.

The Charlie Barber Treatment - Carole Lloyd. For me this was one of those books the librarian tries to push off on you because it had "meaning", since it deals with a boy who finds love after his mother dies. We did at least finish this one, unlike "Joby", but I found it dreary as hell.

Lord of the Flies - William Golding. This is one I think I might have liked had I not had to read it down to the millimetre. I can remember getting a good mark for an essay comparing Simon and Roger as good and evil. That said, the fact that the plot hinges on using a pair of myopia glasses to make fire - which you can't actually do; you need long-sighted glasses - did rather ruin it for me.

So which books were ruined for you?

Tuesday 6 August 2019

Books I loved but never wrote reviews for

This prompt from Long and Short Reviews was easier than most, for the simple reason that I almost never put reviews online, so this was primarily about which books I wanted to review but never got round to.

Kiss Me Like a Stranger - Gene Wilder. An interesting autobiography in which Gene Wilder isn't ashamed to make himself look less than perfect from time to time.

The Wilder Life - Wendy McClure. In this McClure details how she spent years travelling round all the Laura Ingalls Wilder sites digging into the history. It's a fascinating tale.

A Private Disgrace - Victoria Lincoln. I was always fascinated by the Lizzie Borden case, and this is an unusual take which suggests Lizzie may have been suffering from temporal lobe epilepsy.

Gavin Maxwell: A Life - Douglas Botting. Probably the first biography I ever read; Botting was close friends with otter expert Gavin Maxwell and brings him to life perfectly.

So what did you like to read?