Friday, 24 July 2015

Summer reading

Every year, the broadsheet daily and Sunday papers publish features on what various literary luminaries are going to be reading on the beach this summer. I nearly always read them, but I don't generally end up following many of the recommendations.

This year, though, I was short of something to read on various long journeys, so I followed the suggestions of one particular article (in The Telegraph, I think) and downloaded a couple of novels, Michael Frayn's Towards The End Of The Morning, and RC Sherriff's The Fortnight In September.

The former is excellent, and a must for anyone who has worked in newspapers, although the sort of Fleet Street world it describes was already long gone years before I ever set foot in a newsroom.

The latter is also a fine book - I'm about halfway through at the moment - and conceals considerable depth within its disarmingly straightforward style. Essentially it's an account of a family's annual holiday in Bognor in the late 1920s, early 1930s, but it has a lot to say about class and social attitudes, as well as family life.

One gripe. The iPad version has been extremely badly formatted, with lots of typos, usually with the last letter of one word being attached to the start of the following word, like this: lik ethis. You can usually work out exactly what's meant (although in a few cases there's a word missing altogether), but it does feel pretty slipshod. Electronic versions should be more than just text files flowed haphazardly into the pages.

Still, don't let that put you off. I'm surprised both these books aren't much better known - give them a try.

1 comment:

Caroline Gill said...

Thank you, Matt: I have made a note of the Sherriff book. I'm just finishing 'A Conscious Englishman', Margaret Keeping's novel about Edward Thomas.