Yeah, I know, sorry, it’s been a while since I posted. Been busy writing. Got to get Episode finished! But I have a bit of time to tell you about a recent challenge I was given on Facebook to post the cover of a book I love for seven days with no review or explanation. These were the books I chose, but this time I want to explain why I chose them:
This is a book you can’t put down and I think I’ve read it over twenty times. A traumatic tale told through the eyes of an innocent 10-year-old girl in America’s south, To Kill a Mockingbird is a classic simply and beautifully written, exposing bigotry and racism in a time when such things were unfortunately acceptable. It keeps you riveted from the first page to the last.
The first full-length book I ever read age 10 which inspired me to write for children. Not a literary masterpiece, old-fashioned, a world apart from my own, but as enduring and as popular today as it was back in the 1940s when it was first published. Say what you like about Enid Blyton, but she still sells.
This is the official programme of the Champions League Final held in Kiev on 26 May 2018. I don’t own a copy and I wasn’t at the Final, but I was watching on telly and on that day it was my favourite book. Oh, I had such hopes for Liverpool’s first Champions League trophy since 2005, only for them to be dashed by the cheating, diving, fouling Real Madrid, one fluke goal and two terrible gaffes by our goalkeeper! I’m not bitter, though. (Yes, I am!) I’ll never get over it! 😦
I studied A-level Ancient History and Literature at further education college and The Iliad was our set text. I knew little about the story before I started reading and I loved it: Helen of Sparta running off with Paris of Troy, the Greeks declaring war on Troy in an attempt to get her back, the bickering and in-fighting amongst the Greeks, the gods sticking their oar in…it’s full of great drama, blood, guts and glory. The poem starts in the tenth year of the war and I often wondered why this was, until recently I discovered The Iliad is part of what is known as the Epic Cycle and there were other poems before this, outlining how the war started, now long since lost. It was this that inspired me to write Episode and to read other epic poems such as The Odyssey and The Aeneid.
So the Trojan War is over and famed Greek warrior and king Odysseus is on his way home back home to Ithaca, to his wife Penelope and son Telemachus, who was a baby when Odysseus left to fight in the war. On the way he encounters many adventures and challenges and Penelope is having to fend off a queue of blokes, convinced Odysseus is dead, who want to marry her. The Odyssey is an enjoyable tale focusing on Penelope’s anguish, Telemachus’s quest to search for his father and the conflicts Odysseus has to face on his journey home. You can feel and sympathise with the characters in this sequel to The Iliad.
This is a book I have always wanted to read. It is an open, honest account of Anne Frank’s young life growing up while hiding from the Nazis in the small flat in Amsterdam and her relationship with her family and the other families hiding with her. She doesn’t come across as a saint: in fact, I was often left thinking, ‘What a little madam!’ She appears selfish in some ways and is quite scathing in her opinion of her mother. The abrupt ending of the diary is explained at the end and because her story is so well-known there is a feeling of poignancy in this.
As a comedy of manners, Pride and Prejudice never fails to impress: the comical Mrs Bennet, the downtrodden Mr Bennet and his life full of women, the awful cousin Mr Collins and the snooty Lady Catherine de Burgh. The Bennet daughters are a collection of different characteristics: the beautiful, self-composed Jane, the not-quite-as-beautiful-but-nevertheless-down-to-earth-and-critical Lizzie; the over-studious and plain Mary; the silly, sawdust-between-her-ears and easily-led Kitty; and finally the pretty but selfish Lydia. As a love story, it’s a bit of a mind field! And it never fails to amaze me what a small world Jane Austen’s characters live in: Mr Collins, the Bennet cousin, happens to be curate in Lady Catherine’s parish and Mr Wickham happens to be a childhood friend of Mr Darcy before they fell out. A terrific book.
I could have listed so many more such as The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, which was clever and comical; the Red Dwarf books, the first of which made me laugh out loud so much once on a train I had to stop reading it! Books will never stop giving me pleasure.