Sunday, 16 January 2011

First post (featuring much use of parentheses)

I've created this blog both so I can respond non-anonymously to posts on other literary blogs, and also to post some reviews of my own. My reading tastes are rather eclectic, although I do tend to focus on Victorian fiction, modern (published-in-the-last-ten-years) fiction or historical novels... sadly, due to researching during the day I read very little non-fiction that's not for my PhD in modern history, though hopefully one day this will change. To give an idea...

My top three contemporary novels currently are:

1. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. (And I was unexpectedly impressed by the upcoming
film trailer, although I'm reserving judgement until I actually get to see it on 10th February - v. excited as my local cinema are running a Q & A session with Ishiguro after the film, so I can finally try once again to ask him the question I've been waiting to ask since last seeing him speak at the Bath Literature Festival in 2005! Nothing terribly exciting unless you're deeply interested in the workings of historical fiction...)

2. A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth. (cf. 1 below - I think this would be a fascinating comparison to explore fully)

3. Sunshine by Robin McKinley. (For reasons of complete besottedness and obsession with this novel, I am probably totally unqualified to give any sort of value judgement on it, but the narrative voice is wonderful, and I'm a big fan of RMK's work in general)

(And a honourable mention for The Night Watch by Sarah Waters - a great historical novelist and this is her best so far, IMO)

And my top three classic novels at the moment:

1. Middlemarch by George Eliot. (In a way I love Adam Bede more, but I can see objectively that this is by far the better novel).

2. Villette by Charlotte Bronte. (Not much love for Jane Eyre, I'm afraid).

3. Phineas Finn by Anthony Trollope. (I found this tremendous fun and am reading my way through the Palliser novels. Trollope has been described as 'the poor man's Dickens' - I sometimes feel that he is what Dickens might be if Dickens was any good. Possibly the most controversial literary opinion I hold, but I have a deep loathing for Dickens that may as well be revealed upfront if I'm going to talk about nineteenth-century fiction at all. I don't pretend it is entirely rational...)

If anyone does find this blog, I would of course love to hear your thoughts on any of this. Hopefully, some actual book reviews will follow.