Wednesday, 12 May 2010

The Journey a Book Takes You....

I've been mulling this over for a while...

It started when reading Marie Antoinette The Journey, which I loved. As it focused purely on her perspective it made me want to know more about the French Revolution and what happened next. This prompted me to begin re-reading A Tale of Two Cities. Isn't it wonderful how a book can ignite an interest to read more about/around the subject. Then on holiday I read The Return by Victoria Hislop. It was good for reading by the pool but not good enough to lug home again. Anyway, even though I didn't rate the book it made me feel I should know more about the Spanish Civil War. Next time I'm at my parents maybe I will remember to take down from my teenage bookshelf Laurie Lee 'When I walked out one midsummer morning'. This then reminded me of my enjoyment of Dickens. Yes he'd been read at school but it was through watching Great Expectations with Gwyneth Paltrow. Maybe not the best film but it sparked an interest and led to Dickens being one of my favourite authors.
My thoughts aren't that clear but it's something about the journey, the link between books. How we map the thought process, the threads of thinking between choosing books.
Two questions:
What's been your best book journey?
Which novels would you recommend to find out more about the French Revolution or the Spanish Civil War? (I write novels but if you think of a great non fiction to read then do share.)


  1. I'm reading Hons & Rebels right now and it's got a bit about how Jessica Mitford tries to get to Spain to fight in the Civil War there, but I'm not sure how long that part is.

    The Scarlet Pimpernel is a very over-the-top melodramatic book about the French Revolution, but very fun in a good old fashioned adventure way.

    As far as book journeys go, reading Fingersmith by Sarah Waters got me to read The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins, which I really liked and had been wanting to read for a long time (I saw the musical of it in London and even read a play version of it that Wilkie Collins had written for a theatre history class paper on Victorian melodrama, but hadn't read the book!)

    Right now I seem to be reading a lot of early 20th century women authors, partly because of the Persephone Books, but even before that with Virginia Woolf and Elizabeth Bowen and now I'm wanting to read more from that time period and it's becoming interesting to me.

  2. Oh yes I'd forgotten Jessica Mitford's association with the Spanish Civil War. Think I might be due another Mitford read. The Scarlet Pimpernel will be added to the holiday reading list. I so nearly bought The Woman in White last week. Thank you for your thoughts.

  3. One of my favourite "book journeys" was just the same as Carolyn's above: Fingermish > The Woman in White > The Moonstone > the wonderful world of Victorian sensation.

    I love how books can send us in all sorts of directions; can lead to new interests and wonderful discoveries. That's one of the greatest joys of literature.

  4. The Magus, The Woman in White, The Secret History...the list is long. I love books that through the sheer brilliance of the author manage to transport you to another place and sometimes another time.

  5. More recommendations for Woman in White I really should add it to my reading list. oh so true Mrs B.


Ooh how lovely more stripes on the page...
Thank you for taking the time.