Someone on twitter asked whether anyone had any Book recommendations to stimulate the mind. I replied with my own book “Herai” because it may not be great but I’m reasonably sure it’s stimulating – it makes you think. Then I felt guilty about my narrow focus of mind and and I replied, without any evidence of appreciation (not even a like) so I don’t feel any guilt in the 2 errors I made.?? (Slightly worried about my memory though but I remembered the books just slightly confused by the titles.)
I would also recommend?
Truman Capote – Other Voices, Other Rooms
John Steinbeck – East of Eden
Terry Pratchett – Small Gods
FH Burnett – The Secret Garden
P.G Wodehouse – (Summer Lightening but I meant) Something Fresh
Jane Austen – (Mansfield Park but I meant) Northanger Abbey
I think I’ve told this story once before on twitter. Of being in a library and picking up “Other Voices, Other Rooms” by Truman Capote with no knowledge of who he was or what the book was about and just reading it, stood there in between the bookshelves. Reading it like it was a glorious wine slipping down my throat and filling me with thoughts I had never felt before, changing me. I never took this book out of the library. I had finished it before I left. I don’t own this book now and haven’t re-read it since. It was a too precious experience to spoil with the cynicism of my adult mind.
East of Eden by John Steinbeck is an amazing read in which you feel you have experienced all of American history in one intense, not completely pleasant draught. To be honest I don’t remember the plot in any detail. It was nearly 40 years ago I read it. I only remember the sense of awe that it left me with.
Terry Pratchett “Small Gods” is an easy to read, even a comedy novel, which discusses the role of Gods in religion. Even if you believe there is only one true God this book will make you think about the role of religion, and religion creators.
F.H.Burnett “The Secret Garden”. I love the way that lives are saved and transformed by the garden in this novel. It is supposed to be a kid’s book, I think, but would be more appreciated by adults because you need to have suffered to appreciate the relief.
P.G Wodehouse’s “Summer Lightning” and I meant “Something Fresh.” Memory’s going again. I love the Blandings novels of P.G Wodehouse and I’ve picked this one as the first. In this novel we can see the author as a young man trying to make his way in the world. We see a different world, where a man who’s earning virtually nothing can still afford to live in the centre of London under his own steam and also the beginning of Wodehouse’s genius emerging.
Jane Austen “Northanger Abbey.” I felt I should buffer up the English side of the equation (and I know there are many worthy candidates here) but I like this one and I think it rounds off my selection nicely – a love story with a sense of humour. I have read a lot of the gothic horror novels which are mocked in this novel and enjoyed them. I got this far before I realised that I’d put Mansfield Park when I meant Northanger Abbey. Just as well they didn’t see my response. They would have felt that I was messing with them. Just a bit heavier!