There is a lot to be said for growing older gracefully, and as I am turning 50 in a few months I figure I can either run from it, or embrace it. I am definitely happier now than I have ever been, and certainly more at ease with myself and that has to be a good thing.
I was born in the early 70s, 1971 to be precise. It was an interesting year:
- The end of old money in the UK and about time too. It took between a few months to phase out the complicated system of 12 pence per shilling and 20 shillings per pound but by the end of 1971 is was all decimalised.
- The US were still at war with Vietnam and were still sending people to the moon.
- Jim Morrison, Louis Armstrong, Harold Lloyd, Coco Chanel and Nikita Khrushchev died.
- David Tennant, Ewan McGregor, Winona Ryder, Martin Freeman, Sandra Oh, Elon Musk and myself (to name but a few) were born.
- Intel released their first commercial processer.
Of course I have no memory of any of this as I was just a baby.
The 70s were a very fertile ground for all media but some of the books published this year were very dodgy (I am thinking of my most hated book The dice man by Luke Rhinehart). But there were a few utter gems.
Some of these books were on my TBR before I wrote this post but they all are now.
1 Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson
I have been meaning to read this book for far too long now, and as its only 200 pages long and available in my local library I have decided the time has come and reserved it. Its a road trip book in the midst of the drug addled 60’s America. I can’t wait. Hopefully it will be a contrast from the dry January lockdown I have just had.
2 The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula K. Le Guin
Ursula K Le Guin is the mother of literary sci-fi and I have never read any of her work. Set in a dystopian world we may be heading towards in reality, a man wakes up and realises that his dreams can affect reality.
3 Nemesis (Miss Marple #12) by Agatha Christie
I do love a good Miss Marple, admittedly I have seen more adaptations on the TV than I have read. This one has been reported as the best of the Marple mysteries and I even have an e-book of it somewhere. This one starts with Miss Marple receiving a letter from an old friend after his death asking her to investigate a crime after his death but with no other details.
4 Lives of Girls and Women by Alice Munro
This author is predominantly a short story writer but this has been hailed as the best of her novels. Semi-autobiographical about a girl growing up in rural Ontario in the 1940s. From reading others reviews it may be a slow burn but well written, so maybe a good bedtime read.
5 An Accidental Man by Iris Murdoch
I have a copy of this picked up from a charity shop years ago and not read yet. I have only read one Iris Murdoch before, Under the Net which I listened as an audiobook and enjoyed but didn’t find particularly memorable. This looks to be a very different beast and a much more challenging read. Set in the Vietnam war about a pacifist who gets drafted who is cursed; he brings misfortune to all who know him. Apparently all the characters are unlikable and slightly mad; this may stay on the shelf unread for a while longer.
6 Paper Moon by Joe David Brown
I had never heard of this book before I started writing this post but looking at all the reviews on goodreads I want to read it. An 11 year old orphan’s journey through the deep south with a con man who just might be her father. Alas it is out of print but I managed to pick up a old hardback copy from abebooks for the price of an expensive coffee.
7 The Day of the Jackal by Frederick Forsyth
It has been described as the best thriller ever by a few sources and a book that I think my dad had on his bookshelf at one time or another. It is definitely a bloke book. It is about an hit man who is employed to assassinate the French president and the quest to find him.
8 Adolf Hitler: My Part in His Downfall by Spike Milligan
The title itself is enough to make me laugh. One of the worlds funniest men, ever. This is the first part of his war memoirs from his time in the army from when war broke out and his attempts to avoid the draft till the Algiers landings in 1943. Its only a short book and I have it ordered from the library.
9 Rabbit Redux (Rabbit Angstrom #2) by John Updike
I have been meaning to read the Rabbit series for some time, but have never quiet gotten there. This one seems to be the most well received of them all and has been described as Rabbit gets woke (admittedly by somebody who rated it poorly). He has moved on from the hedonistic 60’s and ten years on has grown up badly. I will read this eventually, but I should read the first one in the series first.
10 Maurice by E.M. Forster
A posthumously published novel which is one of the earlier forms of gay literature so even though it was only published in the 70s it was written in the 1914 when gay sex was still illegal for men. Its another one winging it’s way to a library near me as I speak (hopefully).
Well there we have it. This was originally going to 10 books written before I was born, but I was more inspired by the year of my birth so I rolled with it. Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the Artsy Reader Girl so head over there and check out other blogger’s lists.
Tell me what you think and/or share your Top Ten Tuesday link in the comments below.