Thursday 31 December 2020

Reads of 2020

It's traditional to post on Twitter one's reads of the year. I'm not in the same league as those lightning-fast folk for whom the above pile would represent the books digested in an average month, or even week. I'm not sure I feel too much envy. Let slow reading be a thing.

No Anita? a contributor enquired. And it is true: I sometimes take long breaks. I first read her in 1990, and read them all - a mere handful in those days. From then on, yearly, I'd wolf down her novels as they appeared: usually in late August, or so it seems in sunset-lit memory.

I prefer, perhaps, especially at times such as now, a long digressive immersive meandering novel, a novel to get lost in, and the nineteenth century usually supplies. Of the above I think I loved Quentin Durward most. You read it and you're in the nineteenth century again, and yet also in the fifteenth. It's a strange, complex, mazy fantastical reading experience.

(The bisque bust, by the way, is a Robinson and Leadbeater of Sir Walter Scott, c. late Victorian. I bought it in that wonderful little shop, Mark Sullivan Antiques in Cecil Court, London, which always reminds me of the place the Prince and Charlotte Stant pay a fateful visit to in The Golden Bowl.)


  1. I am staring at that bust with covetous eyes. There seem to be many similar available online, of varying quality, I may have to indulge...

    The Stevenson I must read, having just recently read the Weir of Hermiston in one of those two-novel editions that also contains The Master of Ballantrae. I adored Weir of Hermiston.

    1. Many thanks for comment. I'm fascinated by historical novels written in the past, for the perspectives they give not just on past time but on how other times viewed the past.


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