Book 23 – The Making of the Representative for Planet 8 by Doris Lessing

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A big disappointment. I think it was an exploration of the nature of identity in community, but it did it in such a very dull way I struggled to maintain attention.

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Book 22 – The Golden Treasury of Children’s Literature edited by Bryna and Louis Untermeyer

 

 

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When I was a very little girl (before I could even read), my Scots Gran gave me The Golden Treasury of Children’s Literature for a birthday or Christmas present. She must have gone up to Glasgow to buy it, because I don’t think American publications were that readily available in East Kilbride in the mid 1960s.

I first loved the illustrations (some from the original editions, some specially commissioned) and over the years I read the pages off the whole book on a repeat cycle. Here I was introduced to classic fairy stories (Perrault, Grimm, Hans Christian Anderson), fables (Aesop), stories from the Arabian Nights, Mary Poppins, Alice, the Wizard of Oz, the Selfish Giant, Doctor Dolittle, The King of the Golden River, Peter Pan, Brer Rabbit, the Water Rat and Mole. It even includes The Unexpected Party.

My own copy was lost along with most of my childhood books in a house fire in the 1980s, but after reading Lucy Mangan’s book a few weeks ago, I went nosing around the internet and found a reasonably priced copy on Abebooks. It arrived yesterday, all the way from St. Louis and I am now in my 8-year old heaven.

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Book 21 – The Beautiful and Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald

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Interesting, flawed look at the Jazz Age

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Book 20 – The Boy on the Bridge by M.R.Carey

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Zombie Apocalypse thriller. Mostly in the Highlands. With added autism.

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Book 19 – Bookworm by Lucy Mangan

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I spotted this one in Waterstones while casting around for a Mother’s Day present, and knew instantly that I had to read it my Mum would love it. So I did the decent thing; bought the book, gave it to Mum, and borrowed it back once a decent interval had passed (I actually waited three weeks, turns out she hoovered it up on the day I gave it to her).

Lucy Mangan is just a few years younger than me and there is a huge amount of overlap between her reading childhood and mine. It’s not total; she seems to have missed out on the historical fiction novels that had me in their grip around the age of 10 (Joan Aiken, Barbara Willard, Rosemary Sutcliffe). And I never encountered what must have been the early YA genre, so no Judy Blume, Sweet Valley High etc. Also.She.Doesn’t.Like.Tolkein. But apart from that I’d say it’s an 80% match. So I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, but I’m not sure I’d recommend it to anyone who wasn’t also a bookworm growing up in the South East of England in the 1970s/early 1980s

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Book 18 – An Englishman Aboard (Discovering France in a Rowing Boat) by Charles Timoney

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One from the sub-genre of eccentric epic journey travel books. This one is OK, I quite enjoyed the asides on various aspects of French life and culture. But the journey didn’t really generate sufficient suffering to be fully eligible for this particular canon. Also there was one significant flaw…..NO MAPS!

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Books 15, 16, 17- The Dancers at the End of Time by Michael Moorcock

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I read quite a bit of SF back in the late 70s/ early 80s, but never any Moorcock, so reckoned it was time to put that right. This is a trilogy in one volume, a comedy of manners set amongst steampunk time travellers. Not to be taken too seriously.

Oh I know this is cheating, but I’m recording each of the novels (An Alien Heat, The Hollow Lands, The End of All Songs) into their original year of publication separately

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