Charles Dickens, Great Expectations. I started this book at the beginning of my Goldfinch hangover. I took a while for me to really start enjoying, but for the last 1/3 I was hooked. I seem to remember reading Oliver Twist in Junior High, and “reading” Tale of Two Cities when it was assigned in school. It’s so much more enjoyable to read classic books without the pressure of class. When I taught, I always told my students they should read Invisible Man on their own time, as not to ruin it with excessive critique. I might try another Dickens.
Chang-rae Lee, On Such a Full Sea. Initially I was put off by the 2nd person narration sections, but while overall I preferred the straightforward storytelling portions, this book won me over. I think it felt cold to me when I started, in that way that modern novels feel cold, but it was an interesting story and deep.
Noel Streatfeild, Far To Go. In 2014, I’m determined to read all of the N.S. books available through our regional library system. I had never read this book, although it’s prequel Thursday’s Child was one of my favorites as a kid. It’s odd to me that there isn’t a recent biography of Streatfeild considering how many people (women) love her books.
Noel Streatfeild, Movie Shoes. Another Streatfeild that I didn’t read as a kid, with the usual themes, plus a stereotypical Black maid. I have this memory of reading a Streatfeild book one day at a random library where my mom parked me while she ran errands. In the book, of course I can’t remember the title, the children were drinking orange squash. That detail stayed with me because I had no idea what orange squash was, and it really didn’t sound promising. I’ve always wanted to find the book, but so far I’ve struck out. I think maybe it was an earlier edition that has since been edited to remove some of the Britishisms-maybe it was Theatre Shoes, or Children on the Top Floor.