I received some interesting answers to my questions from yesterday (and I welcome more at any time!). I will clearly have to read Scott soon, and I’m thinking of a couple of possibilities: perhaps Waverly because it’s what we’ve got on the shelves, or perhaps Ivanhoe, which Victoria highly recommends, or perhaps The Heart of Midlothian, recommended by Ed.
In answer to my question about what types of books I’m missing, I got some great responses, which fall into these categories:
- I need to read some science fiction/fantasy. I knew this would probably come up — it’s an area I know little about. I read some Isaac Asimov as a teenager but that’s about it, unless you count books like Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go, which has science fiction elements, which I’m not inclined to count, as I didn’t pick it up for that reason. Stefanie suggested Ursula LeGuin’s Left Hand of Darkness, so I think I’ll start there.
- I haven’t read much historical fiction, although I read a lot of novels published in previous centuries. I pick historical fiction up now and then, but not often — I’ve read Ferdinand Mount’s Jem and Sam, about Samuel Pepys, and Beryl Bainbridge’s According to Queeney, which has Samuel Johnson and the Thrales in it. I’ve also read the first novel in Neal Stephenson’s Baroque Trilogy and the first of Patrick O’Brien’s Aubrey-Maturin series, both of these suggested by Victoria. I liked them both … but I wasn’t in love with them to the extent that I wanted to keep reading the series. I think I have a hard time with series unless I can breeze through them fast like I did with Philip Pullman’s series (which, now that I think about, is an example of speculative fiction I’ve read). I consider this a failing of mine. I did really like reading about late 17C England in the Stephenson novel, however. Both Victoria and Danielle recommended Michael Faber’s The Crimson Petal and the White, so I think I till turn to that one next, or perhaps Fingersmith by Sarah Waters.
- Finally — mysteries. I’ve enjoyed the Maisie Dobbs books I’ve listened to, but there are more. And Danielle recommends P.D. James, whom I will read at some point soon.
Thanks for these great suggestions!