Monday, 23 January 2012

Mailbox Monday 23.01.12

I treated myself to a few books last week, so thought I'd take part in Mailbox Monday, hosted this month by At Home with Books, as it may be a little while before I get round to reading them. The synopses in brown are taken from either Goodreads or Amazon.

The first of two books I got for the War Through the Ages WWI challenge, Strange Meeting sounds wonderful.
 A heart-rending tale of friendship in wartime that deserves a place on the shelf beside the great books of wartime literature. The trenches of the Western Front are the setting for this story of the extraordinary devotion that develops between silent, morose John Hillard, full of war's futility, and his as yet unscathed trench mate, David Barton. The lyrical beauty of Hill's narrative draws the reader in and doesn't let go. This little novel is a gem, compelling and moving, a treat for all readers of fiction.
Next is Journey's End, a classic play that I remember being very impressed with when we studied an extract from it in school. Now's my chance to find out how it ends.
This powerful play endures in the tradition of great drama because until wars are at an end, the human race will continue to question what our reaction should be to the cycle of killing and being killed in the name of foreign policy. Sherriff's play creates real characters, some of whom deal better than others with the stresses of warfare in the trenches, the close proximity of the enemy and the pointlessness and inevitability of dying.
I so enjoyed My Cousin Rachel last month,  I thought it might be nice to try some of du Maurier's short stories.

The stories in this collection, some written before du Maurier published her first novel, reflect many human emotions: romance, disenchantment, fantasy, nostalgia, ambition, irony, the longing for adventure. Each of them is based on something observed, something overheard, and all will provide pleasure for every mood.

Will Self's reworking of Oscar Wilde sounded too interesting to pass up.
In the summer of 1981, aristocratic, drug-addicted Henry Wotton and Warhol-acolyte Baz Hallward meet Dorian Gray. Dorian is a golden Adonis- perfect, pure and (so far) deliciously uncorrupted. The subject of Baz's video installation, Cathode Narcissus, and the object of Henry's attentions, Dorian is launched on a hedonistic binge that spans the '80s and '90s. But as Baz and Henry succumb to the AIDS epidemic, how is it that Dorian, despite all his sexual and narcotic debauchery, remains so unsullied - so vibrantly alive?


  1. Ohh, the DuMaurier book is one I'm not familiar with. I do love her writing. Enjoy your new books.

  2. It looks like you're in for some good reading!

  3. Both the Du Maurier and Self books look interesting. I love forward to reading your reviews.

    Here is my Mailbox Monday.

  4. You got a great mailbox! Happy Reading!!!

    Here is my post!

    1. I hope you enjoy your reads.

  5. Strange Meeting sounds really good. Have a wonderful week and happy reading. My mailbox is here.

  6. That's a nice eclectic selection! I hope they're all fabulous reads for you!

  7. You can't go wrong with short stories by du Maurier--if Don't Look Now is not in that collection, you should find it anyway. Wonderfully chilling story and vintage DDM.

    The WWI book sounds so good--really in keeping with the Downton Abbey phase that I and so many others are enmeshed in.

    Reworking classics is always intriguing and risky but I found Dorian Gray to be rather tedious (should have been a short story and not a novel in my opinion), so Will Self's may be an improvement.

    1. Don't Look Now isn't in this particular collection, but I have heard great things about it and definitely plan to get it on a future shopping spree!

      I really should watch Downton Abbey - everyone seems to love it :-)

      Will Self's Book of Dave was brilliant and I keep promising myself I'll read more of his work. I settled on Dorian as the premise looked interesting, and I'm fascinated to see where he goes with a familiar story.