I’m the kind of person who keeps such a big pile of unread books on their bedside table, they regularly topple over when I’m groping to turn off my alarm. Maybe if I ever had a month-long holiday lying on a beach I could actually catch up and read some of them. And then if I had a second month off, these are some of the books I’ve been meaning to re-read for several years now:
Regeneration by Pat Barker
First installment of the brilliant WW1 trilogy, mixing well researched historical details about Siegfried Sassoon, Wilfred Owen and WHR Rivers with convincing fictional characters. I first read this at university more than 20 years ago and I would love to re-read it but my copy has disappeared, I suspect on loan to someone.
The Citadel by AJ Cronin
I know I WILL read this again before too long, because I read it every couple of years. 1930s pulp fiction with a strong moral core, I first read this as a teenager when AJ Cronin was still available in libraries, and then snapped up my own copy from a charity shop a few years later. The story of an ambitious doctor in a pre-NHS world, it’s not a Booker prize candidate but there’s something comforting about it. Good for a rainy afternoon when you’ve got a stinking cold.
On the Black Hill by Bruce Chatwin
I only ever read this once, on a beach in Tenerife about 18 years ago. It’s the story of two twin brothers growing up on a Welsh hill farm. More than that I can’t tell you. The details of the plot haven’t stayed with me, but I remember I devoured it in the space of two days, and put it down feeling emotionally torn apart. There is something almost sacred about it in my memory, a sense that I should only read it again when I have time to do it justice.
This Time of Darkness HM Hoover
Another childhood library favourite, this is a dystopian sci-fi novel set in a rat-infested underground city where nobody has ever seen the outside world. I wore out my library ticket on this and it’s at least partly responsible for turning me into the sci-fi nerd I am today.
Jean de Florette by Marcel Pagnol
This is another one I read at high speed. Not because I wanted to but because our A’Level French teacher sprung the date of our oral exam on us the week before – with the added detail that we had to be prepared to discuss a French novel in addition to the ones on the reading list for the literature paper. I started the first chapter looking up every new word, but soon realised I was never going to get it finished in time, so I took a leap of faith and read the rest without a dictionary, just figuring them out from the context. Just like you do when reading a book in your first language. By the end of it my confidence and French vocabulary had increased ten-fold – which was some consolation as the examiner didn’t even ask me about it. I’d love to be able to recall enough French to read it again.
Written for Top 5 Tuesday hosted by BionicBookwormBlog