Read and tell Mondays

And so another week begins – and it’s time again for our weekly Read and Tell Monday. I have been thoroughly glued to this all weekend:

With Dickens fever sweeping the nation, and our new Hot Key home Clerkenwell being an old haunt of the revered author, I rediscovered this complete gem of a book on my shelves at home. It’s utterly gripping: a completely brilliant biography/social history/detective story all rolled into one. Turns out that Dickens, as well as turning out the odd good novel, was also a dab hand at acting, and had a whole other career on the stage, writing for the stage, and supporting and befriending those on the stage. One of whom was the enigmatic Nelly Ternan, who was eighteen to Dickens’ forty-five when they met – and who completely captured his heart. Out of virtually nothing – not a single letter between Nelly and Dickens survives – Claire Tomalin somehow manages to paint the most astonishing portrait of a young woman almost entirely written out of history.

It’s a book that asks us to dig under the surface to be reminded that things are not always as they seem; a book that brings nineteenth-century London so vividly to life that you can almost smell the gaslights flickering on the stage.

Ooh, and what’s more, I have just seen that this wonderful book is to be made into a film directed by Ralph Fiennes, scripted by Abi Morgan – a treat to come in late 2012.

So, what have you been glued to this weekend – let’s hear …


5 responses to “Read and tell Mondays

  1. I am still… STILL… reading The Passage by Justin Cronin. Every time I pick it up off my bedside table, I sigh at my apparent lack of progress. It’s just so long. But I am so hooked, I couldn’t possibly give up on it.

  2. Haha, as you said Sara…for the next 20 Mondays…

    I started two books this weekend – and both very different from each other:
    Hons and Rebels by Jessica Mitford, after discussing Lydia Syson’s A World Between Us – which is set in the same period and basically giving me another excuse to re-ignite my recent Mitford obsession…

    And A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness. As SO many people have told me over the last year how wonderful it is, and I’ve always felt guilty for not reading it yet!

    Sarah B

  3. Mines “Professor Moriarty” by Kim Newman which is a funny alternative to all the Sherlock Holmes stuff going on now.

    A Monster Calls is great, might have got some grit in my eye at the end. Don’t tell anyone…

  4. Rather approproately for the ‘women written out of history’ theme, I’ve been reasding ‘The World’s Wife’ by Carol Ann Duffy – I’m not really that into poetry as a rule but this is such a lovely, interesting collection I’ve been hooked! Duffy writes about famous men’s wives, mothers, sisters or re-writes traditional folk tales concerning women with a feminist twist. I lurve it! Also continuing to make my way through ‘Affinity’ – can’t wait to get home and crack on with it actually…

  5. Slightly cheating, these are partly holiday reads from last week/ partly weekend reading: finished both Gillespie and I by Jane Harris and John Lanchester’s Capital.
    For some reason I didn’t know of Jane Harris before, but galloped through this one. The atmosphere gets progressively creepier as you read. The narrator is a rather unusual person, Glasgow (of course) is a significant character in its own right, and the contrasts between the late 1880s and the 1930s (especially in women’s lives and aspirations) are well done. Also I’d really like to go on a pleasure boat on the river Kelvin. Maybe one day they’ll bring them back.
    Capital is immense. And it works. The preview hype is all true. So satisfying.
    And I’ve just been reminded by a post above that I always meant to read Hons and Rebels.

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