The time-travelling bookworm: two steps back

Are you ready for another amazing time travel adventure? Of course you are. We’re only going a short distance, so you won’t need a packed lunch for this trip. Maybe just a cookie or ten. Let’s go!

It’s March 2017. Hopefully you remember that far back, unless you weren’t born yet. In which case, congratulations on learning to read before the age of two. I’m pleased you’ve found my blog. Anyway…

Dune by Frank Herbert (1965). I admit to being disappointed with this book. I know it’s a sci-fi classic and has influenced other writers. But it was too long and the plot wasn’t interesting enough to keep my attention. Plus, the edition I read (Hodder & Stoughton’s 50th anniversary edition) was full of typos, some of them quite strange.

The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury (1951). I’ve read this collection of short stories a few times, finally getting rid of my old paperback edition because the pages were musty. The concept holding the stories together is that a man was tattooed by a witch and he is destined to be alone because other people get spooked by the tattoos, which come to life at night to tell the stories. There are some very good ones, which today seem a little outdated.

The Bolter by Frances Osborne (2008). A fascinating biography of Idina Sackville (the author’s great-grandmother). Divorced five times, she scandalised society with her adventurous life. I’d never heard of Idina before reading this, but I found the book very interesting.

The Railway Children by E. Nesbit (1906). This children’s classic is a rewarding read, following the adventures of three children whose father is unfairly imprisoned. With their mother, they move to a simpler lifestyle in the countryside and make friends with the locals, spending a lot of time by the railway until the story’s inevitably happy conclusion.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (1979). The first in the ‘trilogy of five’, this comedy sci-fi is full of improbable coincidences and eccentric characters. Arthur Dent, a bemused Englishman, is trying to stop his house from being flattened. However, the Earth itself is about to be destroyed to make way for a hyperspace bypass. Arthur is saved by his friend Ford Prefect (who turns out to be an alien) and they hitchhike around the Universe.

The Hourglass Factory by Lucy Ribchester (2015). I think I liked this one, but can’t remember much about it, except that a female journalist was one of the main characters. Maybe there were suffragettes and circus performers too. Let’s class it as historical detective fiction.

The War of the Worlds by H G Wells (1898). Not actually one of my favourite Wells novels, but in terms of influence and ideas, it’s a brilliant book. Wells describes realistically (for the times) what might happen if aliens invaded. The writing is in a reportage style and was given more of an emotional angle, plus actual names for the main characters, in later musical and film adaptations.

Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay (1967). This book is an oddity. If you watched the recent TV mini-series (which, by the way, adds a lot more to the book’s thin plot), you’ll know that the story focuses on the mysterious disappearance of three schoolgirls and their teacher while on a picnic outing in Australia. You’ll also know that the mystery is never solved. In a way, it’s a good story and definitely worth reading, but it’s also irritating because nothing much happens and of course the ending is inconclusive.

Shall we go back to the future now? I hope you enjoyed the trip.

Catch up with my other time-travelling adventures here: episode 1, episode 2episode 3 and episode 4.

16 thoughts on “The time-travelling bookworm: two steps back”

    1. I used to read more classics (university didn’t even put me off them!) but ever since I started blogging, I’ve read more new/contemporary books.
      I See You was very good, I still have I Let You Go on my shelf waiting to be read 🙂

  1. I loved Dune when I read it as a teenager but I know what you mean about it going on a bit. That’s the reason I haven’t picked up any of the 2300 sequels/prequels. I also loved all of the Hitchhikers books (even though they’ve all blurred into one by now). I’ve never read any HG Wells but I’ve been meaning to for ages! Awesome post as usual! ?

    1. I’m extremely unlikely to try any Dune sequels, seeing how I didn’t even enjoy the first one!
      Really the Hitchhiker’s books were so thin, they could’ve been one normal-length novel.
      Oh yes, do read some H G Wells! Try his short stories maybe, to get a feel of his writing style. My favourite of his novels is The Time Machine.
      Thank you! 🙂

    1. I re-read it every few years – but I like The Time Machine better! Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  2. Great list! I remember reading Hitchhiker’s Guide repeatedly when I was a teenager. I still need to try Dune. It’s one of those classics I keep meaning to get around to….

    The Bolter was fascinating. What an unusual life!

    1. Thanks! 🙂
      I’ve read Hitchhiker’s several times and I use to watch the TV series a lot.
      I think Dune disappointed me partly because it’s a classic which I had high expectations of. The Bolter was so interesting, an example of a biography you can enjoy without previously having heard of the person.

  3. Interesting list! I am so glad I am not the only one who did not like Dune by Herbert. I really do not know what is the fuss even though it is a science-fiction classic. I love my science-fiction actually but I could not get into Dune at all. I think I read ten pages max and quit.

    1. OK so there are at least 2 people who don’t like Dune 😉
      Maybe because it was influential on other books and films, people love it for being a classic. I certainly won’t be reading any of the sequels.

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