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Excellent literature that isn't all doom and gloom

(43 Posts)
Jux Fri 08-Feb-13 17:24:18

DD and a select group from her year have special literacy classes with the Head. So far they have read

The Knife of Never Letting Go
Great Expectations
Things Fall Apart

Next, they are doing The Inheritors.

She is getting a bit depressed! These books seem to be sorely focussed on the dark side of life/society etc.

We are trying to think of books which are of the ilk, but a little more optimistic.

Any ideas?

Jux Fri 15-Feb-13 01:28:49

Remus, I feel Bath has become rather louche since the Regent took an interest. All the ton now visit Harrogate. Bracing, doncha know?

Will look put for Frost in May (I have a feeling I have it in a box somewhere); have not come across Enchanted April. I have quite a lot of Angelou - very affirming. Again, in a box somewhere.

No I can't just hand over a box. There are books in them which may need to be removed first (dh had some awful junk); everything is higgledy-piggledy as the boxes got moved about a lot, books dragged (all our faves that we could find) and so got repacked with whatever was closest etc.

It's horrible, and I dream of houses with shelves floor to ceiling on every single wall.

drjohnsonscat Thu 14-Feb-13 20:12:49

yy to Frost in May. I read it obsessively as a teenager. It's like a boarding school story for adults - all the friendship and childishness of boarding school with the intensity of emerging adulthood.

Galaxymum Wed 13-Feb-13 20:46:26

I recommend Frost In May by Anthonia White. This is a lovely book, a literary school story and 1st in her trilogy based on her life.

Maya Angelou writes beautifully and you can take positive thoughts from her. Not doom and gloom.

Can't remember author but I read Enchanted April at uni which is a positive read.

You mean you DON'T go to Bath every year? My goodness. Everyone who is anyone goes, you know.

That reminds me. I must remind Mr Remus to prepare the barouche.

Jux Tue 12-Feb-13 21:01:17

Lamprey, I always found Catcher in the Rye very calming. Oddly safe. I think it's that image at the end of someone catching children so they don't come to harm (can't remember the details, obviously due for a re-read!).

Remus, er yes. And those little sojourns to Bath to take the waters, and those horribly cramped houses - old Vicarages are just sooooooo small, one can barely keep a minimal household. grin

Austen hasn't dated! Love is universal, don't yer know! smile

lamprey42 Tue 12-Feb-13 00:58:01

Catch 22 would be a great idea. Not sure 'Catcher in the Rye' could really be classed as cheerful though! 'Bilgewater' Jane Gardam was one of my teenage favourites and Iain Banks 'The Crow Road' although these maybe aren't literary enough. Lian Hearne's quarter (across the nightingale floor etc) are a good read and following the asian theme 'Wild Swans' Jung Chang might work too.

Jux Mon 11-Feb-13 22:17:37

Yes, he is a bit dated (from what I remember), but then so has Austen!

Silitoe has dated quite a lot, I think.

Catch 22 - have tried six times to read this and failed every time. smile

Jux Mon 11-Feb-13 21:29:25

The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner by Sillitoe. Loved it at her age, and just found it, too! Anyone read anything by him? It's the only thing of his I've got.

Jux Mon 11-Feb-13 21:27:59

Thank you so much everyone! So many!

She has read quite a lot of Gerald Durrell, some Pullman (His Dark Materials, and Ruby in the Smoke and possibly some others; enjoyed RitS most), not interested in Holmes strangely enough. I've found Daughter of Time by Tey, but I don't think she's started it.

Not heard of Railway Bazaar.

Catcher in the Rye, great idea and it's in a box somewhere! Also thought Catch 22 - also in a box somewhere! (There are at least 40 boxes which would be unpacked if we had shelves for them; then are my RIP brother's books, another 10 boxes; and my other brother will be coming to live with us soon and his large 2-bed flat is so full of books that you can't see the floor for piles of them as there is no more room on his shelves. My bedroom has 20 or so piles up against walls which are on average 30 high. It's a nightmare. We need another house to make into a library!)

Yes to Sherlock Holmes - they are great fun!

Sally Lockheart books brilliant but some v sad bits.

The Perks Of Being A Wallflower? Really good apart from its stupidly irritating ending imho.

Phineyj Sun 10-Feb-13 23:24:42

Our Man In Havana (Graham Greene)

Phineyj Sun 10-Feb-13 22:31:12

The Catcher in the Rye
The early Philip Pullmans such as Ruby in the Smoke
The Josephine Tey books are all classics e.g. The Franchise Affair, Brat Farrar
The Conan Doyle Sherlock Holmes short stories
Do you know, it's hard to think of cheerful classics!

StairsInTheNight Sun 10-Feb-13 22:12:12

I had chosen the Railway Bazaar! Thank you.

Katisha Sun 10-Feb-13 22:07:47

I liked The Great Railway Bazaar and Riding the Iron Rooster. Maybe the Railway Bazaar first?

StairsInTheNight Sun 10-Feb-13 22:03:36

This is a great thread. I have added lots to my amazon basket smile

I would recommend Gerald Durrell: My family and other animals (or the whole Corfu trilogy). Love humorous travel writing- particularly Tim Moore (not classic literature but if anyone else likes this kind of thing please give 'French Revolutions' a go.

Which is the best Paul Theroux to start with? I have long wanted to read some of his work, and thrilled by a new author (to me) with a big back catalogue. Am hovering over my amazon basket- any suggestions on where to start would be great.

Katisha Sun 10-Feb-13 20:37:30

How about some travel stuff? I remember enjoying the Paul Theroux rail journeys across India and China. Some very funny moments.

Might she consider Bill Bryson as something lighthearted after all the doom? Or the Ladies' Detective Agency series?

MarianMaudsley Sun 10-Feb-13 20:26:16

Decline and Fall
The Pickwick Papers
some Roddy Doyle - I like The Van best I think

anonymosity Sun 10-Feb-13 20:16:38

What about American literature - there are stacks of excellent novels all studied at 1st class UK universities:
Writers including
Maya Angelou
Philip Roth
Norman Mailer


TempusFuckit Sat 09-Feb-13 16:33:20

Scoop, Travels with my aunt, Moll Flanders, The Woman in White, Bleak House

Just give her a box and let her grab what takes her fancy! smile

When she reads for pleasure, what sort of things does she generally choose? Perhaps we could think of classics or modern texts which link to those?

Jux Sat 09-Feb-13 11:55:12

Ooh yes! Cold Comfort Farm!!!! Completely forgotten about that. Another one which is in a box somewhere.....

Have given her 100 days of solitude, but she hasn't started it yet. Not sure about Nabokov as I didn't enjoy his books, but worth a try.

Thurber, Mitford, Jerome, I've got them all. In boxes somewhere. grin This w/e shall be a weekend of excavation...

Remus, there are about 6 of them, and they all seemed to think it was a fantastic opportunity and were chuffed to bollocks when the letters arrived over the summer telling them of it and that they were invited. Not sure how they are all feeling now. It's one lesson a fortnight; no idea what they are missing in order to do it.

highlandcoo Sat 09-Feb-13 00:15:35

Nancy Mitford : The Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate

Jerome K Jerome : Three Men in a Boat

James Thurber : The Thurber Carnival .. and other writings

and best of all .. Diary of a Nobody : George and Weedon Grossmith

It definitely doesn't all have to be doom and gloom smile

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