Contemporary vs. Classic

Several things have made me think about writing this post for a little while. Originally its was going to simply be a question of which books do you like reading more about a) contemporary modern ‘out now’ books b) the great classics or c) the books in between? The thing with that question is that there are a lot of books in category c. It was when I decided not to follow my original reading plan for Easter and went on a hunt for something a bit different I took note of my recent reading habits and all those books in the ‘out in the open’ part of my TBR (lots are in boxes… a spreadsheet is involved, I won’t shame myself further and say anymore on that).

When books come in to this house they go straight onto my shelves, they are visible; I don’t have them in publication date order… yet. From that line alone you can see that when I go to browse my shelves for my next read it is pretty much guaranteed to be a book from the last year or more likely six months or in fact something that’s coming out over the next six months. When I went hunting for ‘something random’ I noticed that I had less than 20 books that were published before 2009 and four of them were republished from the place time forgot last year, and out of that 14 left only 4 were published before 2001. I suddenly thought ‘oh dear, I have unintentionally become that marketing tool I discussed on the blog’. I have to then take into consideration that I do get new books in the main for my job, which makes me feel somewhat better, but what about all the other books out there?

I have noticed in the last month or so that book bloggers seem to suddenly go into a furore (I have been swept up in it on the odd occasion) and posting craze over the same books and within days you see about ten reviews of the latest ‘hot’ book, or one that a publisher has sent out en masse. That’s not a criticism before I get flailed for that in fact it’s nice to see the varying thoughts on the book but will I rush to read it if I have it? No, I will wait until everyone’s over it/read it instantly and then go back at another point, or in the case of all the TV Book Club titles I own probably wait until the autumn to read. It makes me feel sorry for the left field titles or independently published books that seem to get skipped. After all each year 206,000 books are published in the UK! What about those published before this/last year, what about books from the year dot?

I am more likely to try to find and read a rogue book I see at random on a blog that came out 5 – 105 years ago if truth be told than the latest book that some bloggers seem to be competing to read the earliest. Yes I do honestly feel there are some bloggers out there competing, its something I have noticed more and more of late and its something that irks me somewhat as blogging shouldn’t be a competition, aren’t we all writing these things because we love books? Maybe thats a discussion for another time, I digress.

It was reading an Anita Brookner, which I mentioned yesterday, this Bank Holiday that gave me the final nudge. I read ‘Hotel Du Lac’ last year, loved it swore I would more Brookner… and then didn’t until now. How many other authors from the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and before have I said that with and then not read? It’s bothered me since Monday and still bothers me a little as I type. So I have made a bit of a decision and that is simply to get my act together and start going through the back catalogue and try much more of anything written between 1830 – 1996 (which seem, and are, random years but it’s a rough guide) and as usual you can help. I will also not be writing about ‘out now/in the future books’ before they are released as I think its alienating as the average Joe Blogs can’t get them anyway for weeks/months. Which I think sounds a plan. Contemporary reads won’t stop, I just want an equilibrium.

I would love you to do me a few things things, the first is tell me a favourite book from each decade in the 1900’s so that’s ten titles if you can, nothing past 2000. That’s optional but I would love it if you could, I know its tough, I will work out mine and post them on Saturday for Simon’s Bookish Bits. I would also like you to answer me four other things the last of which is the question I initially started with…

  • Do you get bored of seeing the same title mentioned on all the blogs again and again in one month (new or old), does it put you off reading that book until all the hype dies down?
  • Which era of books do you think bloggers are seriously missing out on and what authors?
  • Would you stop reading a blog if it only had current books out now or if a blog never reviewed a current book?
  • Which books do you like reading more about a) contemporary modern ‘out now’ books b) the great classics or c) the books in between?

Right over to you all, I am really looking forward to all your thoughts on this, it should be very interesting.

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93 Comments

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93 responses to “Contemporary vs. Classic

  1. I am entirely with you on this. I only read and review brand new books if a) they are sent to me for review and b) I like them. Even then I might put them aside for ages as you are right, there is often a deluge of reviews which does get a bit tedious. I read anything and everything from whatever decade strikes my fancy at the time — I do read a lot of classics, both celebrated ones and forgotten ones. I haven’t answered all the quesyions, but you get the general drift!

    • I did indeed get the drift Harriet and thank you for your thoughts was good to see I had someone who understood my post from the start. Your opinion is very valid here Harriet.

      I get lots of brand new books here and I love them and there are certain titles that I covet and cannot wait to read such as the new O’Farrell, Duffy, Bradley etc etc because they are all authors I already love and want to read more of. I feel I am not getting to know any authors well at the moment, am reading lots of new ones which is lovely but what about some great backlogues, thats what I should maybe have added in my post hahaha.

  2. Another very interesting post, Simon. I’m dashing off so can’t answer your questions just now, but there’s lots to ponder there.

  3. My answer to question five: please put the early limit back to 1800. Otherwise two of my favourites will be missed: Jane Austen and Walter Scott.

  4. I never read NEW NEW fiction, but what I can find in Oxfam… Like Harriet I am interested in books from any time period and I like to mix it up and not read too much of any one thing.

    Of the blogs I read, I like to see that there’s some attention paid to good books from the past, whether classics or not. I’m more likely to have read books in common with someone who has read a lot from the 80s and 90s or before.

    That being said, I do like to hear good recommendations about new books that people are excited about, and I love prize lists!

    • see thats what I mean Marieke I dont want to alienate lovely readers out there like your good self who might not go and get these new, new, new books.

      I think I am missing a trick with soem wonderful books between the 60s and late 90s.

      Prize lists are interesting too though I am not taking part (well slightly with the Orange) with any intentionally this year I am enjoying reading about other peoples views on the list.

  5. gaskella

    I admit I tend to concentrate on contemporary literature, but I enjoy reading all sorts really. I must admit that if everyone’s blogging about a particular book for any particular reason, and I haven’t committed to read it myself, I normally will leave it for a while to read rather than add another review and risk boring people with yet another review.

    In terms of books to read though, I think you’ve hit the nail on the head with books from the 60s, 70s, 80s. They tend to be poorly represented. Pre-war fiction and proper classics get good coverage in general, as do the latest books – this inbetween period does get missed out.

    I’d suggest J G Farrell’s The Siege of Krishnapur, and Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis, and either Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy or The Spy who came in from the cold by Le Carre for starters, but will get my thinking cap on for more …

    • I love contemporary fiction too Annabel dont get me wrong just since the blog has really kick started and with all I read for work I have lost my old habit of reading random books that were at least two years old. Its lovely getting all the books and I would never say it wasnt just sometimes I want to turn to the past. Like you say books from thr 60’s to late 90’s.

      Thanks for the suggestions. I have one of them in the TBR!

  6. I think that just by starting a book blog you are a marketing tool for publishers. Even if you write about older books you are still marketing them.

    All we can do is read books that we want to read. I only accept about 4 books a month from publishers, but even with this small number I still find that the books I thought were wonderfully obscure (Beside the Sea, Happiness of Hector) are still cropping up all over the place. On top of these selections I also want to read books that have been nominated for the various book awards. I know that other people are currently working through the Orange list, but I don’t care. I want to read them and I think that is all that matters. I do like to see a mixture of old and new books on any blog, but as long as the blogger is enjoying what they do then it doesn’t really matter – the passion for books will still shine through.

    • I dont think thats the case at all Jackie. No one visited my blog for a year and I was writing away with no publisher intervention, how is that marketing? What about books that arent in print now, how can that be marketing, i am not on the payroll at Amazon or eBay lol.

      Actually some publishers (and this post is not anti publishers in case anyone thinks that) have only just cottoned on to the blogging market. Unless you are getting paid and shouting buy this book then your not marketing. I would much rather my readers went and got books from the library than bought them.

      My point with this post was that I have noticed that my (no one elses) direction of reading has changed and I want to take it back a step or five.

  7. Last month I had a post scheduled that declared I was going to abstain from any new fiction for a while and then I shelved that plan due to the Orange Prize. I can understand your frustration but the Orange Prize excites me; I’ll read what I can from it and then maybe I’ll resort to my original plan. I’m not going to stop following it and writing about the books that I discover because I think it will alienate some readers; I read for myself. Also, it makes my blog posts a little more accessible this month when, for the most part, I am focusing on an author that won’t interest everyone.

    Like Jackie, I read what I want, but since I’ve started blogging I’ve read more and more new fiction. I want to return to reading those books that have been published in the last century (and older classics) that I’ve been wanting to read and discover more along the way. The books that have stood the test of time and have a deserved reputation attract me more than those that are suddenly the next best thing. Sometimes the hype is worth it and there is great literature being produced all of the time but I like evening it out.

    Even though it may seem to me as if I’m reading too much new fiction, I’m really not. My last few reviews have been older books; I’m hosting a month devoted to an author from the 60s-90s and next month co-hosting a week celebrating neglecting classics, mainly inter-war literature. I think I’m doing a good job of striking a balance.

    As for competition, I’m tired of seeing who receives the newest “in” book first, who reviews it first etc. I think that a lot of us want our blogs to be the best they can be but not at the price of somebody else, or at least that’s the way I look at it. I have no interest in who is classed as the top UK blogger on search engines and who receives books from every publisher, big and small.

    I will stop reading a blog if it is only reviewing new fiction and I won’t read posts about books that don’t interest me, new, old or in-between. A blogger’s tastes have to match my own for me to read them and I prefer reading those that, like me, read a mixture of books.

    Sorry, but naming my favourite book from each undertaking is a huge undertaking for a comment.

    • I don’t know where you and Jackie appear (could just be the way I am reading the comments) to think I am critisizing the Orange long list reading? I myself am doing it on and off if it takes my mood, I have no issue with people doing prize long list reading, as I mentioned earlier I like reading them… to a point.

      If it excites you thats great thats what your blog is for which matches the point I made to Jackie this post is about me and my reading and that that I have noticed that my (no one elses) direction of reading has changed and I want to take it back a step or five… for me.

      I did a sensation season but they were books easily available and I want to dip my toes into out of print books too like the Brookner I mentioned.

      I also just like hearing everyones thoughts and some of the comments are great with loads of suggestions and its on the whole lovely and constructive.

      No worries on the list it was optional, I wouldnt expect someone to take hours to leave a comment on here, I don’t think that highly of myself. Lol.

      • I haven’t seen you critising the Orange prize – I think Claire and I were just pointing out that lots of people are also reading the Orange prize list, therefore there will be lots of blogs covering these same books. We are aware that some blog readers will get bored of seeing the same books over and over again, but don’t care, as we want to read the Orange list anyway – hope that makes sense 🙂

  8. I tend to focus on genres I like such as mystery, fantasy and Asian fiction but like to read a mixture including contemporary, classics and non-fiction (although they are in the minority). Sometimes I wish I could read more widely but find that in the end I have to read what I want to read. I’m not interested in competing, and like Claire, don’t really care who is the best blogger. For me, blogging should be fun and I read other blogs for inspiration and suggestions. I find that I don’t tend to read most new books unless I love the author, they sound too intriguing to resist or I find them in the library.

    • I think its great to write about what you love as then the enthusiasm just poors out of the blog and into the readers head and can make for wonderful reading.

      I started this blog as a journal, for me, of my reading thoughts and had no one pop by for almost a year now people come and chat and its lovely but I am not interested in becoming a blogging celeb, mind you I don’t know many that are. Its the ones you wouldn’t expect sometimes lol.

  9. Linda

    Being newly retired I’m catching up with my reading and starting to make notes on what I have read this year. Charity shops, second-hand book tables etc. have to be my main source for finding what I want to read with the help of good recommendation from friends and now the blogging network. I am finding that I am reading a mixture of genre, often authors who continue to be Booker contenders, e.g. A.S. Byatt, writers that were recommended by friends and I never got around to, but have been reminded of by yourself and other bloggers e.g. Salley Vickers (my current read) and also new writers published in the last few years. The only books I have bought this year have been Wolf Hall (Hilary Mantel) and Testament (Alis Hawkins), still to be read when I feel the time is right to do so! However, I’m open to reading the classics or re-reading publications earlier than 2000, so look forward to whatever you come up with. Thank you for your blog, which I find interesting because of the variety of your reviews and the descriptions of your personal happenings in between your professional work and leisure reading.

    • Thank you for your lovely words Linda and for popping by. I hope you enjoyed Wolf Hall, thats one book I read and got looped up in the hype about… but then some books like that one come along and deserve it.

      Until I took up my book buying ban this year (partly because I was getting so many and partly just to see if I could) I virtually lived in charity shops and would leave with lots of bargain treats to take home. Its those bargain treats I want to catch up on and was another part of me stopping buying books as I wanted to work through some back catalogues and try some of the authors I had been meaning to read for ages and thats what this post was about… I seem to have lost my way four months in.

  10. I’m just dashing out the door, and will read more carefully and reply properly later, but just wanted to answer your decades question with a link, because it was a meme I tried to set up a year ago, which never caught on at all! Anyway – my answers: http://stuck-in-a-book.blogspot.com/2009/05/decades.html

  11. I usually end up reading only a few new books every year, mostly because both my library and I are ridiculously cheap so I can rarely track down copies. I feel like I’m always discovering what I consider ‘new’ books about five years after they were published. That works for me though, because there’s nothing that scares me more than a ridiculously popular book tht everyone else is reading.

    I feel like books from the second half of the 20th Century are still relatively obscure. Not old enough to be ‘classics’, but still old enough that most people have forgotten what the best book of say 1973 was. Honestly, the ugly covers from the 60s, 70s, and 80s hardly help when you’re browsing at the library – if the cover is avocado, I’m not likely to ever pick it up to read the summary, unless I’ve heard of the title before. Silly perhaps, but there it is.

    • Claire I have been watching in the wings of your blog and love the mix of stuff you have on there so it shows that using the library for diverse and free reads can lead to some wonderful reading adventures.

      I think its through the 60’s – 90’s that there are some treats to be found and I will be off in search of them over the next few months ahead. Your right its those books which can’t quite be considered classics… yet.

  12. Simon, you might find that the new Penguin decades website provides much inspiration! It only caters for the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s, but it’s a good starting point. I find the Penguin Modern Classics range a good source of literature that deserves attention

    http://www.penguin.co.uk/static/cs/uk/0/minisites/penguindecades/index.html

    • Thanks for that link, lost fo choice there, and am very pleased to see Anita Brookner is one of them… so at least one of her books is still being published currently hee hee.

  13. 5 minutes of my lunch time left – let’s see what I can dash off.

    1) I read what I want. Given my interests in foreign literature, I think that I review a number of things that don’t appear elsewhere. So it’s not too worrying when I take on some Oranges or other popularly reviewed titles. I have both Hector and Beside the Sea in the TBR and I’m reading the former this weekend because it fits so well with something else I’ve read recently. The latter is now on hold – there have been too many reviews recently (I read the first two but no others.)

    I can take or leave the Booker shortlist but I really enjoyed reading the Orange shortlist last year and would love to do it again this year but I don’t think I have the time.

    2) I feel I read too much contemporary literature and because of that I’ve signed up to the “Decades Challenge” for the last 3 years. It’s a very useful resource indeed if you’re looking for recommendations for earlier literature.

    http://1morechapter.com/decades/

    3) I have a growing appetite for non-fiction and short stories. So I’ve now decided that I will always have 3 books on the go: a novel (probably contemporary, but sometimes not), a novella / short story collection, and a piece of non-fiction.

    That should mix things up a bit.

    • Hahaha I like a good mix up thanks very much for dedicating the last bit fo your lunch break to the post!

      The decades challenge sounds a good one and so I will be looking at that and maybe joining unofficially as I have said I wont do any challenges this year.

      I think the Orange longlist/shortlist and I dont mind the booker, I did it last year and it took over my reading life for a few months so decided would maybe not do it this year unless there are somegreat random inclusions or have already read a few or even see a few titles I really want to read. I might read some booker winners from the past though!

  14. 1. It depends on which blogs are touting said popular title. I kind of like the repetition, it offers one different perspectives on the same book like a real life book club. But sometimes one has to have courage to say a book sucks when most say otherwise (Howards End is on the Landing). But yes, I do often wait for the hype to go down.

    2. I see a pretty wide range of stuff out there. I am sure there is a neglected decade here and there, but that requires a finer tooth comb than I have right now.

    As for authors, I think there are lots of FANTASTIC authors that many bloggers say they want to read but don’t get around to it. And I always think, what are you waiting for?! In that category I would put Brookner, Shields, Forster, Maugham, Spark, and even Atwood. Don’t get me wrong I know others are reading and blogging about them, but I am always surprised to see the number of folks who have never gotten around to these fab authors.

    3. I would probably get bored with a blog that only reviewed current titles. I would not get bored with the converse, but I would also seek out other blogs to read as well to keep somewhat current. Altough I don’t read much current fiction. I like to wait to see what stands the test of time.

    4. C then B then A.

    • I agree with you in the book group respect and hadnt actually thought of that which is funny as half the riverside readers are bloggers and so we do read along and then all blog about the book. Book groups are a brilliant way of finding some old forgotten wonders to read too.

      Waugh and Greene are actually two authors that I want to read lots more of… oh and Spark, she gets some great blog love already.

  15. I read a mixture and try and ensure that I don’t read too many new books – they look so shiney and attractive in the shops. I prefer blogs which have a bit of variety, whether that is genre, publiction date, author’s country of origin.
    A few good 70s -90s books to check out:
    Papillion, Fugitive Pieces, The Wasp Factory, Perfume and The Bone People by Keri Hulme.

    • They do look very attractive and shiny when you see them those books.

      I think maybe I might start adding publication years to my posts, hmmm thats something to go away and think about.

      Thank you for the recommendations too.

  16. I dont like reading tens of reviews on one book. It ends up with a bit of sameness!

    I like reading foreign authors in my case that is not Sri Lankan so that gives me a wide, wide range to pick and choose. I like literature of all eras but specially like the period after the first World War and to just after the Second World War. Lots of very interesting books of this period.

    I have a bad tendency to tune out of book reviews/chat which deal with the fantasy, paranormal and sci fiction genres. But thats just me. I am trying very hard to like this genre but failing miserably.

    • Thanks for you thoughts, your comment about foreign fiction for you made me giggle and added a smiile to my day.

      I think its interesting the genre thing, I havent really thought about thta bit I could probably do with broadening that too on Savidge Reads a little. I don’t like to feel I am too niched or biaised towards any certain books publication or genre wise.

  17. … within days you see about ten reviews of the latest ‘hot’ book, or one that a publisher has sent out en masse. … will I rush to read it if I have it? No, I will wait until everyone’s over it/read it instantly and then go back at another point

    I have noticed this and to be honest, if the book interests me I will probably get it but then I won’t read it until a year or two later. I buy the books so I won’t forget, mostly, but I’m not in a hurry to join the furore 😉

    They’re interesting questions. I have short answers but I might post longer ones when I compile your 1900s list later on my blog.

    1. I sometimes get bored seeing the same titles come up again and again, but it doesn’t happen often. I see it a lot on Goodreads. I tend to just stand back, wait for it all to die down, and if the book still interests me I’ll read it later. I’m not someone who feels a need to be at the forefront of a new release.

    2. Not sure I have an answer for this one. Most bloggers don’t say what year the book they’re reviewing was initially published, which I always like to see. I’d hazard a stab in the dark and say that prior to the 19th century, there’s plenty that gets over-looked. But I do agree with Claire: the latter half of the 20th century can get overlooked, like the books aren’t old enough to be classics yet and are too recent (and often daggy) to be current.

    3. No I have very diverse tastes and I already follow some blogs that only review a certain genre etc. It doesnt’ bother me what people want to review because I’m willing to read just about anything.

    4. No preference.

    • If people do go crazy over a book it will get my interest and then there seems to be a point, maybe the fifth or sixth review where I just switch off and skim the post if I am 100% truthful.

      I think maybe I should start putting publication dates in my posts, will have to look at how I can do that in a not too intrusive way or a way that looks forced… hmmm food for thought.

  18. Quite frankly, a blog that only focuses on new books gets very boring very quickly for me. I like to mix it up. I want to read really good stuff and there is so much hype surrounding new books and so I will typically wait a year or two to see how they “survive” before I read them. So I’m constantly playing catchup. I will however, read new books that are shortlisted for awards and those by my favorite authors. I don’t think that I’m partial to any period although I tend to read a lot of 20Century world literature.

    • I do think blogs that only have new books start to sort fo read like a waterstones magazine, a magazine I love but couldnt read every single day. I like a binge now and again though.

  19. I tend to read contemporary fiction more, but that has always been my usual fare. Once I began book blogging I started to widen my scope a bit and include some older or unknown authors and found these discoveries to be great. I don’t mind if 5 book blogs I read have all recently reviewed the same book because it provides me with a number of differing perspectives that tend to help me decide whether or not I want to add said book to my TBR pile. I think that as long as the book blogger is writing reviews that reflect their genuine love of books, then what does it matter if they are reviewing freebies that they get from publishers or if they are only reviewing the latest bestsellers – at the end of the day its all about blogging about what you love – books. I read what I like and that is all there is to it. I do think its great though that you want to dive into books from various decades that you perhaps might not have known about – kudos! And thanks for another interesting post, Simon!

    • Yes if its your usual fare then thats fair enough (ha) and I am not a snob about modern fiction compared to the classics at all, in fact me and the classics can be somewhat hit and miss.

      I did used to like finding whackily covered second hand treasures from charity shops thta might be a hit or not and that seems to have gone somewhat from my reading habits in the last year or so, it could just be my reading has changed or its the way I am choosing what I read. Thats what I want to look at a little more.

  20. Cindy

    Personally, reviews of classics aren’t all that interesting to me. I always read classics and I am not even close to the bottom of that TBR pile. as for comtempory books, I tend to look for reviews/discussions on new(ish) or debut authors that might get overlooked or I’ve never heard of. I feel that established authors get enough press and publicity. also, since I’m in the US new books in the UK sometimes don’t hit the US market until a year later(Val McDermid’s books are a great example). I like my TBR pile to be books that I can get a hold of now. I most enjoy reviews of the ‘in-between’ times. there are so many authors/books that are terrific but don’t get wide press.

    I do tend to drop blogs that reiview/discuss primarily classics or only new books. I guess for me, a 20/20/60 (classic/new/inbetween) mix would be my ideal blog.

    thanks for asking!

    • This is what I love about a post like this Cindy and all the responses it gets, they are so varying some people love the classics others dont get interested by it at all. I can now go away and think about all these things and take things away from it all for the better… hoorah! I like the 20/20/60 ratio… I might see if I can go along with that maybe.

  21. Lots of good questions. I tend to read what I am in the mood for. Lately I’ve been using the library lots so that means mostly new books (new vs old as the older copies of books can be a little grotty having been handled so much–very bad of me, but…), though not necessarily the most talked about/popular. Sometimes I’ll read a new and popular book because like other readers I’m very excited about it, but sometimes I’ll avoid a book because of the hype. I like reading different opinions, but if I read too much about a book before I’ve read it, I end up not being entirely sure what I think (if that makes any sense). I sort of like reading books on their own merit and giving them a chance without having other reader’s influence, but still I’ll read about something new or old someone else loved and wrote about and then have to go out and buy it to read. Right now I have this desire to read a tried and true classic so am contemplating what to choose. I think I tend to mix things up and should probably read more from my own bookshelves. As for blog following–a lot of what I like is the ‘voice’ behind the blog–I think most bloggers tend to let their personalities through, so it’s not just the books they read (sometimes a favorite blogger will read books that might not appeal to me, but as we both love reading there is a common ground and appreciation for books). We might have other things on common along with reading (despite having different favorites in terms of books), which I like and makes for interesting reading. Not sure I answered all your questions–and will have to think about favorites from various eras (maybe a topic of a blog post). I do like hearing about off the beaten track sorts of books by the way–popular books will always get a lot of press, so it’s the others that don’t get it that I like reading about.

    • I totally get what you mean by “but if I read too much about a book before I’ve read it, I end up not being entirely sure what I think ” and I also sometimes think ‘havent I read this book already?’ because I have heard so much about it.

      I agree we all love books so thats a good start and I do like blogs where the personality comes out, I just sometimes don’t want to be a bookish sheep following the herd, and yet I do love recommendations and hearing about books I would never have considered.

      The best way forward might be if I havent read a new book but want to, read no reviews until I have finished it lol.

  22. winstonsbooks

    I m yself did a similar post about reading new books a few weeks ago ,i m trying to move away from all that is shiny and new myself and move into vast field of world lit ,to be truthful it is only this last year i ve got caught read a lot of new books ,but a change in direction was need ,like your idea of naming favourite books from eacxh decade ,i ll have a think and get back with my list

  23. Great post, Simon, which I’ve now re-read more thoroughly – and it’s generated some great comments, too. I think for me, first and foremost, I enjoy blogs where bloggers write what they want to – without worrying too much whether or not readers will want to read it, or how people are reacting to their choices, etc. etc. – so I recommend you just carry on as you are!

    I love it when lots of bloggers read and review the same book IF that book is at least a few years old – especially if it’s something of a classic. It’s when everyone’s talking about the same book that came out last month that I don’t really read all the reviews – but, then, with something like HEiotL it felt right that everyone read it.

    I definitely wouldn’t stick long with a blog that only focused on contemporary fiction. In fact, I have stopped reading some very popular blogs because of that. But that’s only because my reading taste is for older books – and it’s why I’ve stopped accepting so many review copies (obviously most review copies are of new books, unless they’re from reprint houses) because I don’t want my blog to be all contemporary fiction, because that doesn’t at all represent my taste.

    But, all food for thought! As I said – I think bloggers should just blog what they want to, without pressure in any direction. And definitely no competition. I’ve never felt that competition, so I’m lucky, I guess!

    • I didnt mean I felt I was part of the competition just that I have seen it, even at an event which was interesting. I did this blog for a good year before I got three or four readers so this has always been about my love of books, I just think my natural taste of mixing it up has gotten waylaid and I want to pull that back, I don’t mean I am reading books I don’t want to, more I am a bit spoilt with some wonderful modern books and keep missing wonders like Brookner (who I think you would really like actually)!

      • I hope it didn’t sound like I was saying that *you* were reading books you didn’t want to – I was just worried that you might feel that you ought to! Keep reading what you want, I say 🙂

        And I have one Brookner on the shelf.. will dig it out… Family and Friends, I think it’s called.

      • Oh Simon you lucky, lucky thing! That’s one of the books that Susan Hill put in her top 40 at the end of HEIOTL! Oooh envious moi? Lol!

  24. Elena

    Hi Simon. I don’t know if I can pick a favorite book from each of the decades, but I did look through my list of books read in the last year and decided to pass on the titles from the decades I had covered, if I enjoyed the book. I hope this helps out a bit. Though I was stunned to see I had two decades not covered, I am not reading enough from those time periods, I suppose.
    1900’s- The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
    1910’s- Sadly, haven’t read anything from this decade in the last year!
    1920’s- The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
    1930’s- The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (not my fav of his, but I still enjoyed it)
    1940’s- Brighton Rock by Graham Greene
    1950’s- East of Eden by John Steinbeck (LOVED! I was on a Steinbeck kick last year)
    1960’s- Christy by Catherine Marshall
    1970’s- Didn’t read any, which surprised me!
    1980’s Cofederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole (one of my favorites of all time)
    1990’s- Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

    Hope this list will give you some decent ideas.

    As for your questions:

    1. I sometimes like to read about the new fiction on blogs so I don’t feel the need to run out and buy it myself and in that case the redundancy doesn’t always bother me. I keep a running list of books to hunt for at my used book store in the future. With that said, it does annoy me that there is such a lack of variety just in general. How about some of those new books that aren’t getting big press? One thing that bothers me is that I don’t feel that bloggers are really choosing books of their own volition. Slightly how I feel when everyone raves over a badly written popular book, just because it is popular. I love to read about a book that a blogger loved and chose because of a compelling factor: author, genre, era, etc.

    2. I really think that the classics are greatly ignored on book blogs. I can’t remember the last time I saw review of something that is considered a classic. I would also like to see more on international fiction, I think this is greatly missed. And even more so, how about those books that don’t have big displays in the book stores? I’m sorry, but I just can’t get into those heavy-pumped, same old same old stories. (i.e. vampires, or anything in concern to Mr. Darcy or Jane Austen. The original was the best. That poor woman must be rolling in her grave over all the “new” insights on her story or characters, or how about Anne Boleyn 50 times over?)

    3. I read book blogs when the blog is a genuine and thorough depiction of the author’s opinion of the book. I wouldn’t prejudice based on the current/non-current line, but I have deleted a few blogs from my favs recently because their posts didn’t say much more than the back cover of the book.

    4. I am really a classics nerd. Though I do read a good variety of newer stuff as well. I will read “Devils” by Dostoevsky and follow it up with “The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie”. So I think I enjoy variety, but would always lean towards a classic. That being said, I can’t remember the last book I read that was on the best-seller’s table that blew me away. But Tolstoy or Steinbeck will always rock my socks off.

    Happy Thursday!

    • Elena you absolute star that must have taken you ages I am so chuffed that this effort has almost made me a bit emotional so thank you, thank you, thank you! Right give me a mo to catc up on all your points after that wonderful, wonderful list.

      New books not getting the big press is also in part what set off this blog in my head a bit. I know some people are saying that Beside The Sea is everywhere but its 100% worth it and I think only a handful of bloggers have picked up on it as a book. So maybe not quite… everywhere yet lol.

      Isn’t the Bradly book brilliant. The new Flavia is one new book that will be gettig a write up very soon but thats because its one I have been hankering after for ages.

  25. Another really interesting post Simon, which has generated really interesting answers. I read what interests me so it depends on a mix of what’s come my way, what’s caught my imagination, and what’s been reccomended in a way I can’t hold out against. It’s very rarely contemporary – I have a very deffinate preferance for books which have stood the test of time. I am making more effort to write about things which are in print however, though they do tend to be reprints.

    I like reading about new stuff because otherwise I’d miss it, but do get a bit bored reading reviews for books which won’t be out for a while. There are blogs I’ve lost interest in because the overall tone strikes me as far to smug for what is after all an advertising role, and others I love because they make me feel like I’m getting the hottest newest shiniest information – I guess it’s all about tone.

    • I do think having your imagination caught is very important indeed. Its interesting that they are very rarely contemporary in your case, and thats whats interesting about todays responses I am learning lots and lots more about you all out there. I am all for reprints.

      Tone is very important, I think if a blog has someones personality, bar the smug ones, then that can make the reading of it all the more fun.

  26. Eva

    I read this post this morning and am just now getting to the point where I can formulate a descent comment!

    First things first…book recs!
    1900s: My Brilliant Career by Miles Franklin (1901) was really interesting. The writing is raw and young (Franklin was a teen when she wrote it) and obviously biographical, but I loved how evocative of Australia it was. Or there’s always Kim by Rudyard Kipling, which I enjoyed more than I expected! Oh, and Colette wrote all of her Claudine books during this decade. 🙂
    1910s: The Autobiography of an Ex-Coloured Man by James Weldon Johnson came out of the Harlem Renaissance, and it’s really readable and evocative (once again). Sticking with Americans, there’s Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton, which I read a couple months ago and loved. And My Antonia by Willa Cather painted a fascinating picture of the frontier Midwest.
    1920s: Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset…I know other bloggers who read this last year didn’t enjoy it, but I loved it. 😀 This is a GREAT decade: I’ve also got Wodehouse, Bowen, and Sayers down. 🙂 If you want to get outside English-speaking countries, Naomi by Junicho Tanizaki was really interesting. AND this was the decade Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov was written (it wasn’t published for a long time, though, for obvious reasons)!
    1930s: Too many options again! Some of my favourites: Seven Gothic Tales by Isak Dinesen, Beat to Quarters by C.S. Forester, Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston. Not to mention any of Orwell’s essay collections. 🙂
    1940s: I think this is when Eileen Chang began writing; I can’t find an exact year for Love in a Fallen City, but it must be 40s or 50s. She’s my favourite Chinese author that I’ve read! Then there’s Embers by Sandor Marai, Delta Wedding by Eudora Welty, and I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith.
    1950s: Tolkien wrote Lord of the Rings during this decade. 🙂 Also, Naguib Mahfouz wrote his best work, imo: the Cairo Trilogy. Other books I enjoyed include Gabriela, Clove, and Cinnamon by Jorge Amado, The Sound of Waves by Yukio Mishima, Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin, Nine Stories by J.D. Salinger, and Someone at a Distance by Dorothy Whipple.
    1960s: Oh, I hope you’ve read We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson! Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury is really good too…it must have been a decade for creepiness. 😉 Trap for Cinderella by Sebastien Japrisot was an interesting French novel I read a couple years ago published in 1963.
    1970s: Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolpho Anaya was a neat coming-of-age story in New Mexico. Ellis Peters began her medieval mystery series in 1977, with A Morbid Taste for Bones. And then there’s Byatt’s A Virgin in the Garden.
    1980s: This Earth of Mankind by Pramoedya Ananta Toer was written down (I think he’d been telling it orally for awhile before then). And my favourite Eco, The Name of the Rose, was published in 1980. The Whale Rider by Witi Ihimaera was published in 1987, although I used to think it was a newer book because of the movie. Several of my favourite international authors wrote during this decade: Annie John by Jamaica Kincaid, Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto, and The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro. That Night by Alice McDermott and Night Soliders by Alan Furst are also both really good.
    1990s: This was hard to narrow down! But I tried…A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth, The Beekeeper’s Apprentice by Laurie King, “W;t” by Margaret Edson, Silk by Alessandro Baricco, Indian Killer by Sherman Alexie, Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters, and The Farming of the Bones by Edwidge Danticat.

    That was probably WAY too many recommendations. Once I get started, I can’t seem to resist making a list. Sorry about that Simon!

    Right, so on to the rest of my thoughts. Pre-book blogging, I read a great deal fewer ‘contemporary’ books and more older books. I feel like my balance has gotten WAY out of control. Back in January, I actually looked at when the fiction I’d been reading was published (which is why I could easily recommend books for each decade), and I was depressed/horrified to see how many were published in the 2000s. So this year, I’ve been consciously reading more older books, mainly classics, and I feel much happier. 🙂 Now you’re inspiring me to read more of the middle books too! I can’t imagine giving up all contemporary books, but I also would strongly prefer my contemporary reading to be in the minority. Does that make sense?

    Like Danielle, I read a book blog as much for the blogger as for the books that s/he reads, so I wouldn’t start or stop reading a blog based solely on review type. But I do LOVE it when I find bloggers who are more focused on older books, since they seem to be a rarity!

    You keep writing posts that make me respond with a novel! lol

    • Oh Eva, you are just a true blogging legend. I dont think that any response to your wonderful, thoughtful and I am sure very time consuming comment could do it justice so I will just have to go through this list painstakingly and try and read all those on it that I haven’t already… that leaves a lot of reading for me than.

      Thank you, thank you, thank you so much for doing that it means lots and lots to me!

  27. Eva

    Now that I see how long that list is, I feel horribly embarrassed. I should’ve just e-mailed you; sorry for clogging up your comment space!

    • Never apologise Eva, that was such a thoughtful and kind thing to do. Comment away whenever you like!!

    • Actually I’m glad you shared your list so we can all see it. I read Kristin Lavransdatter several years ago and loved it as well, but I am a fan of historical fiction, so maybe that helped. Different books appeal to different readers! I see some other favorites there and will note down the rest! I’ve noticed my reading this year is nearly all 20th (and mostly the tail end of the 20th) and 21st centuries and am also trying to think about expanding things a bit.

      • Elena

        I loved seeing your suggestions as well. This was a really interesting string of questions and I was so curious to see what everyone said.

        Thanks, also, for the Kristin L. advocacy, my mom adored them but I couldn’t get into them. I have a Tina Nunnelly translation and you’ve both inspired me to give it another try. Thanks, Eva and Danielle.

  28. Susan in TX

    I’m coming late to the party, but I’ll comment anyway. I’m with the majority here that bloggers ought to post whatever they want, and readers pick and choose who they want to read. That said, I don’t read too many (or any) blogs that are only about “new releases.” I’m just too busy to keep up with them. About the only time I did keep up with bestseller reading was back in my college days, and of course, as Harry Potter was released. 🙂 I would answer your last question c,b, then a.
    Thanks again for some food for thought!

    • No one is ever late to the party Susan thats the joy of the blog and blogging, its here forever and I value all the comments that come by at Savidge Reads. Its interesting to hear what you all think about new releases and the latest books both the good the bad and the indifferent. I am bearing all of these in mind and will sleep on them… in fact I must go off to sleep right now!

  29. This is a great idea for a post!

    It’s difficult for me to comment on the marketing aspect too much because I don’t receive any books from publishers so I don’t really know what’s being sent out to lots of bloggers. If I do review something that’s all the rage I’ve had to either buy it or get it from the library. I get the “shiny new thing” lust for lots of recent releases, but I like to think that this is more because books are my interest so it’s natural to want to know about the latest things than because I’ve fallen victim to marketing.

    If I review something that’s everywhere I try to keep it pretty short and to the point, unless I really loved it/hated it! This is because I do get bored of reading lots of reviews of the same book; I usually end up skimming them just to get the gist of what the blogger thought. Sometimes I make a conscious decision to not read X book but Y book that I’ve seen few reviews of because I’m a bit sick of hearing about the new book and think that a review of the other book would make for more interesting reading on my blog. Which is funny because if you think about it, that means being in the blogosphere has not only added to my tbr list through reading other people’s posts, but it has also added things I haven’t read any posts on in order to make the end product of my blog more interesting, and subtracted things for that same reason.

    I like a books with a mixture of recent releases/contemporary/ classic books, because I try to read a blend of the three. But I do seem to be getting around to the classics less and less…

  30. Great post and great comments!

    I do tend to skim reviews of new books that have been many-timed reviewed already. I often wait until later to read them as well. The blogs I like best are those that review a variety of books, from different time periods and different genres.

    I agree with others that middle and later part of the 20th century seems to be under-reviewed on book blogs. It’s not that I have read a lot in that time period either, but I’ve read a few and been astonished that I had been missing out on them.

    I don’t think I could do recommendations decade-by-decade as I haven’t read enough of these ‘older’ books, but here are some in-betweeners I enjoyed:
    1946: Delta Wedding by Eudora Welty
    1958: The Dud Avocado by Elaine Dundy (this is a recent read which I adored)
    1950: The Family Moskat by Isaac Bashevis Singer
    1962: The Slave by Isaac Bashevis Singer
    1980: My Life by Lyn Hejinian (experimental but accessible)
    1988: Fair and Tender Ladies by Lee Smith
    and I’ll squeak in – 1999: A Prayer for the Dying by Stewart O’Nan

  31. Okay, my dear … it’s 2:23am. I got a bit absorbed in making my list and I am now feeling quite guilty about my lack of 1900s reading besides a ton of Agatha Christie novels! Here’s my list but I’m going to have to do some more non-Victorian and non-1990s and forward reading soon …

    1900 – The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum (1900)
    1910 – My Antonia by Willa Cather (1918)
    1920 – The Man in the Brown Suit by Agatha Christie (1924)
    1930 – The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett (1934)
    1940 – Brat Farrar by Josephine Tey (1946)
    1950 – Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes (1959)
    1960 – The Spy Who Came In From the Cold by John Le Carre (1963)
    1970 – 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff (1971)
    1980 – The Quincunx by Charles Palliser (1989)
    1990 – The Ground Beneath Her Feet by Salman Rushdie (1999)

    I love to read blogs that have some of everything. I love discovering new classics and in-between books through blogs because they are harder to come by. Blogs about all new books aren’t as exciting because you’re bound to see a book mentioned somewhere if it’s new, aren’t you?

  32. catharina

    As I am responding to this post quite late I only will add my list for you to enjoy. As in other comments I chose from books I read over the last (two) years.
    1900: (cheating a bit as it actually was published in 1899) Kate Chopin: The Awakening
    1910: Leonard Woolf: The Wise Virgins
    1920: Edith Wharton The Age of Innocence
    1930: William Maxwell: They Came Like Swallows
    1940: Carson McCullers:The Ballad of the Sad Café
    1950: Sylvia Plath: The Diaries 1950- 1962
    1960: Jean Rhys Wide Sargasso Sea
    1970: Tove Jansson Summerbook
    1980: Keri Hulme The Bone People
    1990: Jane Kenyon: Let Evening Come (poetry)

  33. Do you get bored of seeing the same title mentioned on all the blogs again and again in one month (new or old), does it put you off reading that book until all the hype dies down?

    YES – I have only just read Howards End is on the Landing after all the hoo ha and frenetic activity last year. I suppose it is the obstinate side of me coming out there!

    Which era of books do you think bloggers are seriously missing out on and what authors?

    I think most eras are covered well, with some serious Victorian reading blogs about which I love; ditto Virago blogs; however, with the exception of Simon on Stuck in a Book, I do think that writing of the 1920-30s might be a bit neglected. Now sure somebody will immediately tell me I am wrong!

    Would you stop reading a blog if it only had current books out now or if a blog never reviewed a current book?

    I am afraid I am out of step on the whole with modern rading so if only current books were reviewed I would not read any more, or in fact, any blog which had a narrow remit.

    Which books do you like reading more about a) contemporary modern ‘out now’ books b) the great classics or c) the books in between?

    I am a Classic person, not Greek or Latin I hasten to add, but my favourite authors are of the ilk – Austen, Bronte, Eliot, Dickens, Hardy, Trollope though I do like to try the books in between as well. I keep trying contemporary literature but am coming to the conclusion that as I have been trying to enjoy this since I ws 16 and failing, it might be a good idea at my age now, just to give up!!

  34. henrietta

    I have been folloiwng your recent interesting posts and wishing that I had ore time to sit down and comment in more detail.

    I am happy to read good books of any age, and tend to be attracted to blogs that reflect this. It is refreshing to dip back in time, with the subtle altering of languagefrom an earlier era, so different from a “modern” novel set in the past.

    If I see lots of entries about “new” books, I do rather just scan the entries. Having said that, I did read “Beside the Sea”, having read about it first on a blog that I trust to be more about the book than about the moment.

    Another aspect of book blogs that I enjoy is the different ages of the bloggers. For instance, you have recently delved into Anita Brookner with much enthusiasm, which is lovely to read about, but gosh it does make me feel a bit tooth long. I have found myself thinking – yes, I must re-read more.

    As for books for decades, I fear that is a bit “A” level for me really. I don’t tend to remember first published dates of books read qutie a few years ago. I did look up a couple for the purpose of this comment, and can say that I loved from the 1980’s Bruce Chatwin, especially “On the Black Hill”, “By Grand Central Station…” from 1945. I have enjoyed Penelope Livelys’ writing, starting with “The Road to Lichfield” in 1971, and also Rose Tremain from the same period.

    Stopping now as I’m getting waffly!

  35. Simon:

    It’s odd you post about this because several years ago I came to a sort of inner crisis (although not as dramatic as that sounds) about fiction. As an English undergrad and then grad student, I had read a lot of what I should be reading. I was really bothered by the fact that I had almost no contemporary literature exposure.

    Now, of course, as an instructor, I do my best to balance the two. I realize how many excellent classics are out there that I haven’t read. At the same time, I am constantly trying to find really great “now” books to share with students who simply don’t relate to the classics. For instance, the last two weeks we have been discussing The Book Thief, and next week, we begin Persepolis. Do I hate that these students don’t read or enjoy classics? Yes, of course. I get around that partially because I teach an intro writing about literature class (they’ll get more “traditional” reads later) but also choose really solid modern stuff. I’d rather them be exposed to books they might have a shot at liking during my course because…. well, I can. 🙂

    That sort of explains my own reading persuasions as well. There are some classics I simply don’t like. Others, I adore. Jane Eyre will always be a favorite because it has been part of me for nearly 20 years, during which I’ve read it over a dozen times.

    To answer one of your other questions, yes, sometimes it is a bit dull to see the same books over and over and over again in the blogosphere, but depending on the book, I enjoy the different perspectives.

  36. I totally feel for you man. I’ve been under the same predicament many times before. Really, what can you do when half the blogs you visit are talking about the same book? Sadly, in my case, I just choose to read some of them and leave the others for later. Or even sadder, may forget to read them at all. And this is also why sometimes I avoid writing posts about books that are being raved about. I know how easy it is for your review to just go passing by without people noticing them.

    Come to think of it, most of the books I read are at least a few years old.

  37. I specialise in reviewing European books in translation and about 40% of my reviews are in that category. My main interest is mid-20th century, which is not exactly classical, but a genre of its own (due to the heavy influence of the conflicts of that era).

  38. Pingback: Simon’s Bookish Bits #16 « Savidge Reads

  39. novelinsights

    Blooming heck that’s alot of questions for my mind to think about today.

    I’ll answer the last one and then mull over the others. I definitely used to be more of a modern-classic type reader (Orwell, Salinger, Dostoyevsky) and read new books on holiday as I saw them in bookshops. Lately I have been reading more classic books, and I was definitely inspired to read more after doing your Sensation Season which opened my eyes to how classic authors like Wilkie Collins can be just as witty and fun to read as modern ones. These days I try to get a good mix I suppose!

  40. I love to read books that are written in the past and I love the Victorian period, but I also like to read books by contemporary authors that write books that are set in the past. As long as they deal with the past, I don’t really care when the books were written:)
    I just read and reviewed Angela Thrikell’s book ‘High Rising’. I don’t know if you have read anything by this author, but if you didn’t then you might want to check her out, as I think that you will find her hilarious:)

  41. You have had so many excellent comments I’ll not add any in similar vein. But I will pose this question (with an apology if my speed reading has skipped the answer) .

    Am I the only commentator who choses some books (i mean works of literature, not quantum mechanics here) randomly from the shelf of a public or University library?

    Sometimes it works wonderfully, sometimes the book goes back almost totally unread within 24 hours, but I recommend that a fraction of your “choices” are made this way.

  42. Oh no! Why did I find this blog? Now I am totally sucked in. I can’t resist a list.

    In general, a book has to be around for many years before it percolates to the top of my TBR pile. I usually avoid new books and wait for several years to see if they have legs. I’m a particular fan of mid-Century (20th century) literary fiction.

    Here’s my list:

    1900s Where Angels Fear to Tread by E. M. Forster
    1910s The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford
    1920s The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
    1930s Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gobbons
    1940s Under the Volcano by Malcolm Lowry
    1950s A Dance to the Music of Time (Vol. I) by Anthony Powell
    1960s Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov
    1970s Sophie’s Choice by William Styron
    1980s Foucault’s Pendulum by Umberto Eco
    1990s The Road Home by Jim Harrison

    1) yes and yes

    2) ’50s – ’70s; A. Powell, V. Nabokov, K. Amis

    3) I lose interest in blogs that only review brand new books.

    4) In between.

    I’m going now to find where to subscribe.

  43. Pingback: Simon’s Bookish Bits #17 « Savidge Reads

  44. winstonsdad

    here my list –
    1900-buddenbrooks thomas mann
    1910- of human bondage w.s.maughham
    1920-goodbye to all that rupert graves
    1930-brief history of infamy j l borges
    1940 -the dangling man saul bellow
    1950 – the fall -albert camus
    1960 – the unfortunates b s johnson
    1970 – invisible cities italio calvino
    1980 midnights children salman rushdie
    1990 anything by sebald
    plus any book by burgess ,grass worth reading

    • Stuart that is so, so kind of you to do thats made my morning! I have also realised I completely forgot to follow this up myself in my bookish bits today so I will do a special post in the week. Thank you very much again.

  45. Jennifer

    There is no better book than Sophie’s Choice!

  46. Susan Barrett

    I would dearly love you and other bloggers to discover this particular limbo-writer of the 70s and 80s. I say limbo because that’s what it feels like. I don’t want to whine. After all, the new always shoves out the old. Still — what about rescuing me from the dungeons of libraries? My first novel called Jam Today in UK and Louisa in US sold film rights. Michael Joseph, Collins and Hamish Hamilton published my next 6. My eighth I self-published, and my ninth is in my bottom drawer. There are several Susan Barretts out there on Amazon – I’m the one that’s been around the longest. Give me a try. You can always pan me.

    • Jennifer

      Would you give me more of your titles? I tried finding Jam Today and Louisa but it isn’t in my library system, here. Thanks!

      • Susan Barrett

        I’d be delighted to give you more titles! Try Amazon secondhand – though you may not want to buy, …
        If you find one you’d like to read, get back to me and I’ll send you a copy if I can find a spare. Adult fiction after Jam Today:-
        Moses, Noah’s Ark, Private View, Rubbish (all Michael Joseph) The Beacon, Hamish Hamilton: Stephen and Violet, Collins. Making a Difference, Trafford. Then some children’s books with Peter Barrett, and natural history/travel with Peter, too. Travels with a Wildlife Artist – the Living Landscape of Greece. Harrap/Columbus.
        I’m new to blogging and I’m fascinated by all these wonderful readers out there in etherspace! So thanks, Jennifer, for your interest.

      • Jennifer

        Susan, I’ve searched Amazon.com and can’t find any of your books. Are you in the UK? I’m in the US.

  47. Susan Barrett

    Oh, you’re in the US! Try Amazon.co.uk. Tell me what your favourite reading matter is.

  48. Susan Barrett

    Oh you’re in the US! Try Amazon co.uk. Tell me what your favourite reading matter is.

  49. Susan Barrett

    Oh dear. I thought my blog address was as it appears on this “Susan Barrett” at email susie.barrett@btopenworld.com. I have subscribed to something – but what I’m now not at all clear.
    I’ll try and find out.

  50. Ahaa, its fastidious conversation about this paragraph here at this web site, I have read all that, so at this time me also commenting here.

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