Books Before the Blog


A selection of pre-Book Jotter reads

This is the start of an occasional feature in which I highlight a small selection of books I read and enjoyed at some point before publishing this blog. Included are a mishmash of genres, fiction and non-fiction; light and heavy; old and new; in effect, whatever pops into my memory when I start writing.

If This is a Woman: Inside Ravensbruck: Hitler’s Concentration Camp for Women by Sarah Helm (Published 2015)

While the narrative is often heartbreaking, shocking and in places difficult to read, it is never unnecessarily explicit. Some remarkable women emerge from the shadows – and it is vitally important we don’t allow such brave souls to sink back into obscurity.

This book is an important history of Ravensbruck, which I believe should be read in addition to the many existent accounts of World War II and The Holocaust.

A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle (Published 1887)

Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson meet for the first time in a novel of two very distinct halves. Published in 1887, A Study in Scarlet was a compelling start to this famous literary partnership, and it is fascinating to witness the protagonists sizing one another up when introduced by a mutual acquaintance.

The story takes place in London, but when Holmes has solved the mystery at the end of Part I, we are unexpectedly transported to Utah in 1847, where ghastly crimes are committed by members of the Mormon community. All becomes clear in due course, but I confess that for some pages I thought I was reading an entirely different book – either that or an unfortunate printing error had occurred. That said, both narratives are gripping and move along at a lively pace. The plots converge satisfactorily before events reach a climax.

An enjoyable read!

The Reader on the 6.27 by Jean-Paul Didierlaurent (Published 2014)

A simple, amusing, humane little novel, peopled with a cast of eccentric yet extremely likeable and compassionate characters. It is a light and uplifting tale, which will appeal greatly to book lovers seeking something intelligent but undemanding. I read it from start to finish in one sitting as I relaxed under the Cypriot sunshine last year.

The perfect holiday read!

The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka (Published 1915)

I am not going to attempt to write anything original about Kafka’s nightmarish little allegory because there is nothing insightful I could offer that hasn’t already been put forward by people far more erudite than myself.

I will, however, share with you the fact that the author himself once said of this novella (which describes a man waking in his bed one morning to discover he has mutated into an enormous creepy-crawly) that it was “extremely repulsive and nausiating”.

The Metomorphosis is a brilliant short story about the absurdity of life, and is, without doubt, Kafkaesque.

Please do let me know if you enjoyed this short feature so we can do it again!

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13 replies

  1. Ty for sharing! Ive read Sherlock before. It has been years though. I should plan a reread one day!

  2. What a great idea! I love it.

  3. This is a great idea for a feature and I love Kafka!

  4. Thank you Plot Monster and The Orangutan Librarian, both. So glad you liked it! 😊

  5. Love these kinds of posts. I’ve been participating in Throwback Thursday most weeks. It’s hosted by Renee It’s Book Talk. It’s so nice to talk about some of the great, older titles I read before I started blogging.

  6. Thanks, Ann. Yes, it seems a shame not to discuss books we’ve read in the past. Many thanks for dropping in.

  7. This this is a great idea. I might just use it, and will credit you. I have over the years written some reviews of books read before blogging, but have only done a few as it’s been hard to muster decent reviews. This is a good idea to keep the blog going while I’m on holidays and can’t post frequently. It’s also a way of getting some less familiar, now, older authors on the ‘net. I might do my own pic though,


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