Once upon a time my first action on getting the weekend newspaper editions was to turn to the book section to find reviews and recommendations of some of the newly published titles. Sadly, though both the Daily Telegraph Saturday edition and the Sunday Times do still have book reviews, they have been scaled back considerably. It’s now left to the Guardian to carry the flag with a lively blog and thoughtful articles that go far beyond reviews.
Like many book bloggers I find inspiration these days more from bloggers than newspapers. I try to keep a list of these because I find so many ideas I can’t possibly remember them all when I go shopping. Thankfully I also have captured the name of the blogger!
Here is my list of 10
- All Passion Spent by Vita Sackville-West. Recommended by Marilyn at Me, You and Books. This has been on my Classics Club list for three years but it was only last week that I managed to get a good condition second-hand copy.
- Chief Inspector Armand Gamesh series by Louise Penny as recommended by Laura at Thinking in Fragments (sadly Laura hasn’t been blogging for many months now). I read on of these every year and love the characterisation and settings. The best by far is A Beautiful Mystery I just read the latest The Great Reckoning – review coming tomorrow.
- A review by CurlyGeek at The Bookshop of Our Souls at Night led me to Kent Haruf. though I have yet to read that particular title I got hold of Benediction instead and fell in love with Haruf’s writing. Our Souls at Night has now become one of my ‘rainy day books’ – ones I save up for a special occasion.
- Ali (HeavenAli) and Karen (Kaggsy’s Bookish Ramblings) take all the credit for introducing me to a long list of female authors who I’d never heard of until seeing their reviews. Elizabeth Taylor I began reading in 2014 but got left rather cold by the first one I read ( Wreath of Roses). It wasn’t until I read Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont that I warmed to her – so now I have three more of her books to enjoy.
- Lisa at ANZLitLovers does sterling work about reminding me of the whole world of literature that comes from Down Under. Thanks to her and Sue at Whispering Gums I have made a start on a collection of writers like Peter Carey and Richard Flanagan. Lisa wrote on more than one occasion in 2015 about Black Rock White City by A. S Patrić, describing it as “a stunning novel that places A.S. Patrić among the finest of our new crop of writers. His prose is uncompromising but his imagery is exquisite.” Her review came through at a time I was thinking I needed to read more work by Australian writers – not that I have read it yet but its on the shelf. Thanks to Whispering Gums I have a copy of Patrick White’s Voss which is considered such a classic it pops up often on school syllabi.
- Lisa’s project to read all 20 of Emile Zola’s Rougon-Marquet series inspired me to start the same project, beginning of the series so I can fill in the gaps of those titles I haven’t read yet (4 read 16 to go). I’ve read If you’re not familiar with this series, take a look at the ReadingZola website
- Several bloggers including have highlighted the British Library Classic Crime series which began making an appearance in bookshops in the UK about 2 years ago with some beautifully atmospheric artwork covers. Guy at SwiftlyTiltingPlanet just published a review of about 10 of these ( I might have miscounted) so go take a look if if you haven’t come across them before and went to get a sense of what they’re about.
- Talking of crime, it’s so hard to keep up with the voracious reading habits of Cleopatra at Cleopatralovesbooks who knows more about crime than some police forces. Her blog is responsible for many titles I have bought in e-format for days when I need a total break from my usual reading fare.
- When I started on my quest to read more literature in translation I discovered Stu’s blog Winston’sDad which is a treasure trove of reviews about writers in far flung countries that I would never have discovered without his dedication to translated fiction. The best recommendation I got was for Satantango by the Hungarian author Laslo Krasznahorkai which is a chilling account of evil.
- And last, but really pride of place, are the bloggers who have contributed guest posts to my View From Here series to share their insights about which authors to read from their countries. We’ve covered countries from Japan to Belgium, from Australia to most recently South Africa. There is a wealth of information here about authors you may never have heard of but are just waiting to be added to your TBR.