Here’s the first post for my brand new feature, Shelf Swap! I love swapping book recommendations, so I’m asking one person each month to pick five books from my Goodreads shelves that they want to read and five books from their own shelves that they think I might like to read.
5 BOOKS FROM STACEY’S SHELVES THAT JIM WANTS TO READ
The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim
I want to read more for the 2016 Classics Challenge than I did for the 2015 Classics Challenge (this, admittedly, wouldn’t be hard!). I like reading quieter books at times and this book, about four women renting a castle on the Italian Riviera, sounds like a really great read.
The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter
One of my resolutions for the year is to read more short stories, and this has been on my radar for many years, ever since I saw and loved Neil Jordan’s The Company of Wolves, adapted from one of the stories. This is acclaimed as a fabulous collection of feminist fairy tales and several friends (including Charlie!) are massive fans.
Six Against The Yard by the Detection Club
This is another short story collection and it’s such a fascinating idea! Six authors tried to create the ‘perfect murder’, which a real-life CID Superintendent then attempted to solve. The presence of Dorothy L. Sayers, who I’ve always meant to read, and Margery Allingham, who’s a favourite of mine (more on her below!) makes this especially interesting to me.
Journey to the River Sea by Eva Ibbotson
I’ve read lots of Eva Ibbotson’s books for slightly younger readers and enjoyed them but have never got around to her more famous novels. I think this is generally thought of as the best and the setting, South America in 1910, sounds wonderful.
Cross My Heart by Carmen Reid
Again, Reid is someone who I’ve read a few books by (in the St Jude’s series) and really enjoyed. However, I’m told this World War II novel about a girl in the resistance is definitely her best – I know Debbie is a big fan and our tastes tend to be similar so I think I’ll love this one when I finally read!
5 BOOKS FROM JIM’S SHELVES THAT STACEY SHOULD READ
Autumn Term by Antonia Forest
Nearly all of the school stories that formed most of my reading growing up are sadly out of print, but this one (which I only read myself fairly recently) is a wonderful example of the genre. Forest is a superb writer and her characters are very well-written and realistic.
The Crime At Black Dudley by Margery Allingham
I know you’re a massive fan of Agatha Christie’s, like me. Allingham (called ‘a shining light’ by Christie herself) is the other Golden Age detective writer that I adore. This is the first novel to introduce Albert Campion, who appears a vapid playboy but is actually a brilliant sleuth.
The House of Eyes by Patricia Elliott
In a year full of great middle grade mysteries, this was one of the best and has been sadly overlooked by a lot of people! I think you’d really enjoy the setting – at a time when the suffragettes were really active – and the clever plot.
How Green Was My Valley by Richard Llewellyn
Another for the 2016 Classics Challenge! This coming-of-age story of a young boy in Victorian Wales is a gorgeous, lyrical read. I think it resonates with me particularly strongly because I’m Welsh, but it’s so beautifully written that I’d recommend it to everyone who enjoys classics!
Coming Home by Rosamunde Pilcher
Another coming-of-age novel. I adore this book about Judith, a schoolgirl in late 1930s and early 1940s England who finds a second home with a rich friend and her generous family while Judith’s own family are in Singapore. The romance here is one of my absolute favourites, and there’s real tragedy as well. The TV adaptation is very different but superb in its own right.
Thank you for swapping bookshelves, Jim!
Which of these books would you read?