Reading and Reviewing

We visited our local library a couple of weeks ago and I found a few books from the BBC Big Read; I tend to forget about the library, but the boys love going there, and the best thing is – the books are free.

Many of the books on the list are ones I have no prior knowledge of (some I’ve heard of, but don’t know much about the story), and The Thirty-Nine Steps, by John Buchan, was no exception. It tells the story of a young man who flees his London flat after finding a new acquaintance – a man embroiled in some sort of political plot – dead in his home. He escapes into Scotland, and meets a variety of people along the way from whom he seeks help. He eventually returns to London to seek out an important political figure who will offer him safety and secure his innocence, and with whom he hopes to foil an enemy ploy. I thoroughly enjoyed it, for its clever plot, and the enticing, exciting way in which it is written. The characters are varied, dramatic and interesting, the journey of our main man is intriguing, and the chase is tremendously thrilling. It was an easy, quick read, and I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed it.

My sister was astonished to hear I hadn’t yet read Goodnight Mister Tom (by Michelle Magorian), as it was a book she read at school. I’m not sure how it slipped through the cracks with me; I’d certainly heard of it, but never picked up a copy until now. It is a beautiful, emotional, poignant story, set in England during World War Two. Tom Oakley looks after a young evacuee, William Beech, who has been sent away from London by his abusive, deeply religious mother; in Little Weirwold, through a great deal of nurturing, he discovers his true personality and strength, which enables him to deal with ultimate tragedies in his young life. Such a stunning story, and one I wish I’d had the pleasure of reading earlier.

The Forsyte Saga, by John Galsworthy, held great promise for me – it sounded exciting…but sadly failed to deliver. Others have raved about this book, but it honestly didn’t do anything for me. I tried so hard to get into it, but struggled with each page and breathed a sigh of relief when it was finished. I’ll be writing a review for 1001 Books to Read Before You Die…and it won’t be a positive one.

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