I started #FridayFavorites back when I started up the blog again and wanted to make sure I kept at least one regular post a week. This was, of course, before I knew there were others out there. But I decided to keep it, especially since I have the whole year planned out.
Today’s topic covers my top five favorite books published in the 20th century (in England).
The Hobbit – “In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.” I couldn’t not be pulled in with that line. The rest of the book is such an adventure and a beautiful story.
Object Lessons – Eavan Boland is one of my favorite poets of all time. In this, she mediates on being a woman and a poet in modern Ireland. “Once the idea of a nation influences the perception of a woman, then that woman is suddenly and inevitably simplified. She becomes the passive projection of a national idea” (136).
The Remains of the Day – A profoundly compelling portrait of the perfect English butler and of his fading, insular world postwar England. Stevens embarks on a country drive, during which he looks back over his career to reassure himself that he has served humanity by serving “a great gentleman.” Yet, readers are left wondering if the man Stevens served was great and even if Stevens himself was great.
Midnight’s Children – Not going to lie, I totally read this book after the Doctor Who episode “Demons of the Punjab.” As I never learned anything about India or the Partition, except from Britain’s POV, I wanted to know more. Midnight’s Children is a classic, magical realism novel that is an amazing read. Saleem Sinai was born at midnight, the midnight of India’s independence, and found himself mysteriously “handcuffed to history” by the coincidence. As one of 1,001 children born at midnight, him and the others are endowed with mysterious talents. The reader is drawn into a fascinating family saga set against the vivid background of India in the 20th Century.
The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty – I mean it was one of the books I focused on for my thesis, so I had to include it in the list. Eneas grows up in County Sligo with little to no issues. Yet, once older and unable to find work in post-WWI, he joins the British-led police force (the Royal Irish Constabulary). Labeled a traitor by his fellowmen, Irish Nationalists, Eneas spends most of his life running away from Ireland but always trying to get back there as well. Always trying to find home and a place to belong, when he belongs nowhere. A haunting novel about how war and violence can affect your home, and one decision sets the course of your life.