Book review: Where my heart used to beat, by Sebastian Faulks, 2015

It wasn’t until I noticed this novel lurking in the Times’s ‘ten best-sellers in paperback’ list last week that I remembered I had read it. Such is the depth of impression it made, and I had to quickly remind myself what it was about – I had a vague memory of the war being involvedContinue reading “Book review: Where my heart used to beat, by Sebastian Faulks, 2015”

Book review: Babbitt, by Sinclair Lewis, 1922

‘Babbitt’, Sinclair Lewis’s satirical portrait of 1920’s America, was written only three years into the prohibition era, and published three years before that other, very different portrait of the USA of the time, ‘The Great Gatsby’. The term ‘babbitt’ was used in the US for some time (I am not sure if it is still current)Continue reading “Book review: Babbitt, by Sinclair Lewis, 1922”

Book review: The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck, 1939

‘The Grapes of Wrath’ opens with a portrait of the devastation caused by the dust bowl in 1930’s Oklahoma: “Every moving thing lifted the dust into the air…A walking man lifted a thin layer as high as his waist. An automobile boiled a cloud behind it.” Tom Joad has just been released on parole, afterContinue reading “Book review: The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck, 1939”

Book review: Zuleika Dobson, by Max Beerbohm, 1911

I finished this novel in something of a bad mood. It is a very bad book, and I resented the effort required to find any redeeming features. The fact that I found some in many ways made my mood worse! As I reflected on the text, I slowly came to accept that perhaps it wasn’tContinue reading “Book review: Zuleika Dobson, by Max Beerbohm, 1911”

Book review: ‘David Copperfield’ by Charles Dickens, 1850

Subtitled “The Personal History, Adventures, Experience and Observation of David Copperfield the Younger of Blunderstone Rookery (Which He Never Meant to Publish on Any Account)” Originally published in nineteen monthly instalments, ‘David Copperfield’ takes the form of a personal narrative, with this evocative introduction: “Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of myContinue reading “Book review: ‘David Copperfield’ by Charles Dickens, 1850”

Book review: Emma, by Jane Austen, 1815

Of all the authors I have written about over the last three years, Jane Austen is arguably the one who generates the fiercest loyalties and the most ardent passions. This can’t all simply be down to Colin Firth’s impromptu dip in the television adaptation of ‘Pride and Prejudice’, surely? While her novels are admittedly eminentlyContinue reading “Book review: Emma, by Jane Austen, 1815”

Book review: Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott, 1868 & 1869

The Guardian top 100 novels in English has led me to some strange reading experiences, but there are few novels I would have been less likely to read than this, Alcott’s semi-autobiographical tale of growing up in a strangely unreal nineteenth century America. ‘Little Women’ was originally published in two volumes in 1868 and 1869.Continue reading “Book review: Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott, 1868 & 1869”

Book review: Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, 1902

Read in a 1980’s Penguin edition with an introduction by Paul O’Prey When I read a book that intend to blog about, I usually try to keep a pencil to hand to underline passages that I think might be of interest, relevant to the review, or otherwise worth making a note of. With Heart ofContinue reading “Book review: Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, 1902”