What was I reading five years ago? Let’s hop back in time and find out!
It’s January 2014. Robbie Williams, Ellie Goulding and Bruce Springsteen top the UK album chart this month. Actor Roger Lloyd-Pack dies, having been well-loved in roles such as Trigger in Only Fools and Horses and Owen in The Vicar of Dibley. The Queen’s New Year Honours List includes writer Anthony Horowitz, actress Angela Lansbury, DJ Pete Tong and singer Katherine Jenkins.
And a twenty-something bookworm is reading…
Bassett by Stella Gibbons (1934): ‘The Tower Guesthouse lies nestled between the beech woods of Buckinghamshire. It is run by the unlikely partnership of balmy Miss Padsoe and young, cockney Miss Baker – divided by class and age, they are determined to dislike each other. Through their tale and the interwoven tribulations of two young lovers, Gibbons’s sparkling novel explores the heart of friendship and what unites us.’ This is one of several enjoyable Stella Gibbons novels I’ve read.
Truth or Dare by Celia Rees (2000): This YA thriller is about aliens, computer games and autism.
Small Island by Andrea Levy (2004): A prizewinning novel exploring the experiences of Jamaicans in Britain during and after the Second World War. I remember liking some aspects of the book but it was much too long. The BBC TV adaptation was good.
Underground England by Stephen Smith (2010): A fun and fascinating journey underneath the country, including ancient burials, secret tunnels, caves and lost towns.
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (1953): This iconic dystopian novel is set in a future, remarkably like the 1950s, except that books are banned and ‘firemen’ burn any they can find.
A Pair of Blue Eyes by Thomas Hardy (1873): Not one of Hardy’s famous books, and to be honest not one of his best either. The characters are irritating and the plot doesn’t really hang together. I re-read the book in 2018 just to be sure, then I gave it away.
The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K Le Guin (1969): An award-winning science fiction novel set on a planet where people are ambisexual. There’s a lot more to the story, and although the worldbuilding is excellent, I just don’t get on with Le Guin’s writing style.
Heaven Eyes by David Almond (2000): This eccentric YA novel is about some children who escape an orphanage and meet a strange girl called Heaven Eyes who was rescued from the mud by her Grampa.
Let’s go back to the future now.
I hope you enjoyed the trip.