Weekly Geeks – Reading from the decades.

Weekly Geeks is a bookish community site that posts weekly tasks for readers to participate in if they wish, and this week’s one is about examining a book (or books) which were published in your birth decade. Tell us about a book that came out in the decade you were born which you either loved or hated. Is is relevant to today? Is it a classic, or could it be? Give us a mini-review, or start a discussion about the book or books.

If you follow my blog, you may know that since my big birthday this year I’ve decided to remain 36 in my brain for as long as I can get away with it – but I was actually born in 1960. There were some great books published in my birth year, so I’ve decided go no further into the 1960s, and introduce a few that I’ve read…

The Weirdstone of Brisingamen by Alan Garner was one of the best children’s fantasy novels I’ve ever read. I’ve been meaning to re-read this one for ages though as I the only thing I can remember about it is that it’s set around Alderley Edge in Cheshire.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.  A true modern classic that I underappreciated when I first read it as a teenager. Another that I must re-read soon.

The Ballad of Peckham Rye by Muriel Spark. 

I read this one a couple of years ago, and found it to be awas a delightful short novel. It’s about a young man who arrives in a slightly posh bit of South London, stirs things up rather devilishly bringing this staid bit of town to life, and then he disappears. Is Dougal Douglas the devil or just a very naughty boy? 

Spark’s prose is sparse – there’s not a word wasted. Thinking about this book reminds me that I must read more of her work very soon, and that I must get hold of Martin Stannard’s biography of her which is now out in paperback.

Also see Margaret’s Weekly Geeks post over at Books Please

To buy any of these from Amazon.co.uk click below:
The Weirdstone Of Brisingamen (Collins Voyager) by Alan Garner
To Kill a Mockingbird (50th Anniversary edition) by Harper Lee
The Ballad of Peckham Rye (Penguin Modern Classics) by Muriel Spark
Muriel Spark by Martin Stannard

0 thoughts on “Weekly Geeks – Reading from the decades.

  1. Jenny says:

    Oh, I used to love Alan Garner, I haven’t read any of his books in a long time but I’ve been meaning to.

    Did you ever read The Owl Service? I’m sure I had nightmares after reading that, but it’s such a wonderful book.

    • gaskella says:

      I read all the famous ones – but strangely can’t remember the stories at all, yet I know I loved them. I’m planning to revisit soon.

  2. BooksPlease says:

    I loved Alan Garner’s books too. I’ve never read To Kill a Mockingbird, but bought a copy a few weeks ago, I don’t think I’d have liked it as a teenager – hope I will now.

  3. LizF says:

    I adored Alan Garner’s books especially The Weirdstone and its follow up The Moon of Gomrath but was never able to persuade any of my kids to read them for some reason!
    Have just had to buy my second copy of To Kill A Mockingbird as the original (bought in 1975 when I was 16 according to the inscription in it!) is on the verge of collapse having been read so many times – it was one that I managed to persuade the kids to read although funnily enough none of them studied it at GCSE (probably a good thing in junior daughter’s case as her teacher left a lot to be desired and would probably have put her off it!)
    I did read The Ballad of Peckham Rye and Girls of Slender Means but can’t remember a thing about them – time for a re-read?

    • gaskella says:

      My daughter won’t read the Garner either (yet!). I love Muriel Spark – but have only read about half of her books – plenty more including the Driving Seat and Girls of Slender Means, but I must re-read the others too as almost all books I read before starting to write notes about them seemm to merge into a book soup in my memory – the note-taking which metamorphosed eventually into blogging really helps me remember them!

  4. LizF says:

    Had to think about books from from my birth decade as it occurred to me that I hadn’t the vaguest idea whether any of my favourite books had been written in the 1950’s – having only been around for 8 months of the decade!
    Having checked up, I discovered that not only were the Narnia books written in the 50’s, but also The Once and Future King, Charlotte’s Web, Gerald Durrell’s My Family and Other Animals AND Lord of the Rings – which I must admit I thought had been written in the 60’s!
    I have very fond memories of all the above as I bet thousands of others do – don’t know if you read the Durrell, Annabel, but the story about the matchbox and the scorpions still makes me laugh now!
    BTW the film of Charlotte’s Web with Dakota Fanning is really good and very true to the book, unlike that appalling rubbishy effort made of The Little White Horse!

    • gaskella says:

      Liz – what a great decade for modern classics. I adore the Once & Future King – I should add it to my desert island list. Charlotte’s web I never read, but did enjoy the film. I’m a bit ambivalent about My family & other animals – don’t know why, maybe I should re-read it – it may because I wasn’t fond of the TV series of it…

  5. Kinna says:

    What a great year to be born in! I haven’t participate in any of the Weekly Geeks but this is one is calling my name so will give it a go.

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