Charlotte Reads Classics

Slowly, slowly, she sipped a sentence.

Tag: Jo Nesbo

A Love Letter

I find refuge with people in drawing rooms; pulling dust sheets from the furniture and filling silent spaces with stories. I am not content with today by itself – I want context, I want meaning and I want history. I like discovering and bringing the past to life. I need The Classics. I know that older isn’t necessarily better, so I like historical fiction too – new writers bring new perspectives after all. But what is better than the wicked wit of Mitford? The cutting observations of Woolf? The universal truths of Austen? Narrowing it even further: How can you improve upon writing from the most turbulent and influential periods in history?

I’ve had a break from classics whilst I read a few of Jo Nesbo’s crime novels. They were all action, twisting plots and brutality. Yes, there are plenty of action packed classic novels (and plenty of brutal ones too) but there wasn’t that magical quality of a classic. The sense of being welcomed into something – initiated, maybe – into a much beloved book. I really enjoyed them but I didn’t want to savour them, which is another way of saying that I’d recommend them but I don’t want to write about them.

So I’ve come back to the classics, and my Classics Club list  and have started Parade’s End by Ford Madox Ford. Set in my favourite period of history, the crossover between the Edwardians and the Great War, the story is made up of four separate volumes: Some Do Not…No More ParadesA Man Could Stand Up- and The Last Post. The BBC adaptation starts tonight and I have nearly finished the first book so hopefully it won’t spoil anything! There is a nice introduction to Parade’s End on the Penguin Classics features page here.

As you can gather, I’m returning to the War Books project I started back in May –  a list of books that seems to be spiraling out of control, so an update post might be required soon. The Penguin link above mentions a few other WWI titles that sound interesting –

  • The Middle Parts of Fortune by Frederic Manning
  • Jacob’s Room by Virginia Woolf
  • Death of a Hero by Richard Aldington
  • Memoirs of an Infantry Officer by Siegfried Sassoon

I finally move house next week (cannot wait) so after Parade’s End I may have to content myself with reading whatever is unpacked. But for now, I’m going to curl up and read about Christopher and Sylvia Tietjens and the last long Edwardian summer.


Nemesis, Jo Nesbo

Yes, I will slowly be reading this entire series. This was just as fast paced and intriguing as The Redbreast, although with even more twists and turns. Nesbo moves away from Norwegian history this time and instead follows a more classic crime scenario: bank robberies. However, nothing so clichéd as your average bank robbery of course.

For a good introduction to Jo Nesbo and his novels this slate review worth looking at.

Lets Not Talk About Larsson.

The Redbreast, Jo Nesbo

Alas, my holiday is over so thats the end of my holiday book list! I went for a bit of scandinavian crime this time. This was a proper page turner, and mixed modern day with 1940s war stories. Very dark, masculine, and unrelenting. A bit confusing, but that could be me reading too fast and not concentrating enough. I never manage to guess who the murderer is! Nesbo’s detective is quite intriguing so I’ll perhaps read some more in the series.

Oh, and a good translation too.