Saturday, December 03, 2016


I would love some suggestions as to what to read. 

I want a novel that:

is set now or in the last 100 years;

is beautifully written in simple prose;

has a fair amount of dialogue, and no descriptive passages of more than two pages at a time;

is not experimental, magic realism, crime, or SciFi; 

is not violent, and does not contain references to child abuse;

has a compelling story.

It can be serious or comic, but I don't want anything lightweight.

Does anyone have any suggestions?


lyn said...

Have you read Mothering Sunday by Graham Swift? I read it earlier this year & I'm still thinking about it.

Sue Hepworth said...

Thank you, Lyn. I do like Graham Swift and have read that. I liked it but perhaps not as much as some of his others.
Do you have any other suggestions?

lyn said...

Have you read any Penelope Lively? Her last novel, How It All Began & an earlier novel, Cleopatra's Sister, are my favourites. She,s just published a new book of short stories, The Purple Swamp Hen, but I haven' read it yet.

Sue Hepworth said...

Yes, I read and really enjoyed How It All Began. So I will check out Cleopatras sister, which I have not seen. I have read others by Lively and enjoyed them. Thank you, Lyn. I have just stumbled across a William Trevor book lent me by a friend that I had forgotten about and am on chapter 3. It's called Love and Summer, and I think it's going to be a winner ( for me, personally,)
I have also dipped into Our Spoons Came from Woolworths recommended by someone on Twitter, and like that too, though it is not quite what I was looking for.
I appreciate your suggestions. Others very welcome.
Do you now any authors in the vein of any of these - Lively, Helen Dunmore, Tyler, Shields, Smiley, Kent Haruf, Sebastian Barry or Christopher Tilghman?

ana said...

A couple of ideas. Ann Patchett's Commonwealth. And Colm Toibin' s latest two novels, Brooklyn and Nora Webster. One of his earliest The Heather Blazing is an all time favourite of mine. Hope you are beginning to feel better, Sue

Sue Hepworth said...

Oooh, Commonwealth sounds good! Thanks, Ana.
I did read Brooklyn ages ago and was disappointed after all the high praise from the critics.
Perhaps I was not in the right mood.
Very excited about Commonwealth though !

Sue Hepworth said...

and thanks, Ana. I am mostly better now.

Anonymous said...

Its been a patchy summer on the reading front - sent into an autumn tailspin by trying to give the Guardian's 'Unbooker Prize' shortlist a shot. I gave up after 4 of the 6 - a rather dispiriting experience.

How hard it is to summon up the details of a satisfying read - especially when I mostly read on Kindle, and a title/author in a list conjures little after the event.

When I really love the e-book, I will buy the hard copy to 'keep forever' - which of course i won't (Julian Barnes: 'Levels of Life', Lydia Davis: The End of the Story' (not your favourite.))

You have provided so many worthy suggestions over the years, I feel honour-bound to come up with a few for now - and try harder in the future:

- 'Out Shooting Horses' Per Petterson
- 'The Miniaturist' Jessie Burton (brilliant debut, but didn't like her second novel 'The Muse'
- 'The Glass Room' , Simon Mawer.

I'm currently laughing over 'Sex & Death: Stories' by Sarah Hall and Peter Hobbs.
And 'The Dinner Party' by Herman Koch held some dark kind of chuckles.

Also looking forward to reading: 'The Vegetarian: A Novel' by Han King, and the much promoted 'The Visiting Privilege', stories by Joy Williams.

Happy reading, wherever your eyes land!

Christine said...

A favourite novel of mine is The Tortoise and the Hare by Elizabeth Jenkins, which for me fills all your criteria. I have blogged about it.

Sue Hepworth said...

Thank you H for all these titles. I'm glad to see the Per Petterson one again as I had forgotten the title. X

Sue Hepworth said...

Thank you, Chrissie, I will read what you've said.