Welcome to The Writers’ Dozen Top 5 Reads Blog Hop.
You can see my Top 5 Reads (so far) for 2018 then click on the links to see what my writing buddies have been reading.
Pride and Prejudice vs Persuasion
What’s not to love about revisiting these old favourites?
The premise of Persuasion has always appealed to me more: A woman and the man she hoped to marry are thrown back into close proximity eight years after they were torn apart. From the references to the lady being past her bloom, you’d think she was forty-two, but alas she is ‘not eight and twenty’.
Upon this latest reading, I changed my allegiance to Pride and Prejudice. As I age, I can’t help finding Captain Wentworth a less worthy hero than Mr Darcy.
Both novels are full of humour. Anne Elliot’s vain aristocratic father and horrible siblings, Mrs Bennett, Mr Collins and Lady Catherine De Bourgh are all exceedingly ridiculous.
After you read them -> Watch the 1995 BBC production of Pride and Prejudice (again)
Can’t afford a holiday to Manhattan? Why not take an armchair holiday with Bill Hayes? Newly arrived in the city his forties, he documents his chance encounters with strangers and his relationship with Oliver Sacks. The love story is sad and funny and beautiful.
The author is a thoughtful observer who takes time to listen to the people who cross his path. Reading the book was a heartening, possibly life changing, reminder to slow down and notice where you are.
After you read it -> Save up for a flight to New York City. When you get there, try the author’s technique of being a flâneur (one who saunters about, observing the world around them).
The Crime/Thriller that recently attracted the most hype was The Dry by Jane Harper. While it was a good page turner that evocatively captured the Australian landscape, l prefer Resurrection Bay. It’s almost as fast paced yet Emma Viskic has created characters that are highly nuanced. The indigenous characters and a deaf protagonist added complexity to a genre that I sometimes find tired. Recommended if you’re looking for a crime novel that’s original and gripping.
After you read it -> If you haven’t already, check out Peter Temple.
Their Brilliant Careers
Prepare to laugh out loud at Ryan O’Neill’s encyclopedia of ‘imaginary’ Australian literary figures. Written as sixteen biographies of single authors, half the fun is working out which characters or events are loosely based on reality.
I imagined the author’s study looked like a criminal’s lair, with photos and clippings of his victims, linked by a tangled web of strings signifying their relationships with each other.
Winner of the Prime Minister’s Literary Award for fiction and a Miles Franklin finalist, it is thrilling that this highly unique work found a publisher and critical acclaim.
After you read it -> Go see Ryan O’Neill at a writers festival. He’s even funnier in real life.
Check out the favourite reads of my writing buddies: