Posted by: janesandell | December 17, 2018

17th September

There aren’t many classics on this list but an early choice was A Room with a View by EM Forster.  When I was in Sixth Year my inspired and inspiring English teacher Mr Stephen gave me a period a week to browse in the school library and read whatever I wanted.  I was the only person studying CSYS English that year and I already knew that I was going to study it at university.  It was Ken Stephen’s considered opinion that reading widely was the best thing I could do in preparation.  So, along with Shakespeare and Shaw, John Donne and Hugh MacDiarmid, Jane Austen and Neil Gunn I read randomly and in a completely unguided way.  And A Room with a View was one of the books I thus discovered.  It’s a perfect study of manners and character and a wonderful sideswipe at Edwardian society.

I don’t remember when or how I came across Jennifer Crusie’s books but it would certainly have been in another library. Bet Me is by far and away my favourite.  It’s a contemporary American romance full of punchy, witty, sharp dialogue and quirky characters.  Minerva Dobbs is a risk-averse actuary with a love of food, a domineering mother, a beautiful, thin younger sister and an inferiority complex.  Fortunately she also has two loyal, supportive but honest best friends.  One crazy evening she bumps into Cal Morissey in a bar with his two friends and colleagues.  And so begins a roller-coaster definitely-not-love story.  It’s clever, funny and fast-moving and my go-to book when I want something not quite demanding to read.


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