April 15th, 2007


Dangers of supping on honeydew

I have just finished Selina Hastings’ biography of Evelyn Waugh. I hate the end of a biography: I don’t want my hero or heroine to die. Now, everything else I am reading seems mediocre and the pile of modern novels waiting to be read, utterly untempting. I feel as bored and depressed by the prospect of nothing really good to read as Waugh himself could have done.

I started compiling a list of modern novels which have really had wow! factor for me. Books which delighted by their originality or humour; which have already been re-read happily and gone onto the favourites’ list. Considering the hundreds of books I must have read, the list is sadly short. Anything by a dead author is out. Here’s what I’ve come up with so far.

The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13¾, Sue Townsend
Hawksmoor, Peter Ackroyd
Lake Wobegon Days, Garrison Keillor
Microserfs, Douglas Coupland
The Secret History, Donna Tartt
The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, Alexander McCall Smith
Toast, Nigel Slater
A Landing on the Sun, Michael Frayn. Also Spies. Also his first novel The Tin Men, one of the funniest books ever written.

Help me out here with books I might have forgotten. I could have made a much longer list of non fiction books.