Welcome to Triple Choice Tuesday. This is where I ask some of my favourite bloggers, writers and readers
to share the names of three books that mean a lot to them. The idea is
that it might raise the profile of certain books and introduce
you to new titles, new authors and new bloggers.
Today’s guest is Alex, who blogs at Alex In Leeds.
Alex is fuelled by whisky, coffee and a mix of modern and classic books — she began book blogging in 2004. As well as book reviews, her blog shares the stories of her adventures: between 2009-2011 she completed 101 goals in 1,001 days, which included surviving a three year book-buying ban, travelling around the world, flying a plane, walking 100 miles in a week and getting a personal genetics test done.
These days she works as a freelance genealogist, exploring family histories (and occasionally solving genealogical mysteries), just an hour away from the gorgeous Yorkshire Dales.
Without further ado, here are Alex’s Triple Choice Tuesday selections:
This might surprise a few people who read my blog and expect me to pick The Master and Margarita or something from the 1930s, but it’s Chaucer’s tales that got me hooked on the history of English literature when I was in my teens. I can still recite favourite passages in Middle English, too. Chaucer can be urbane and witty when he’s playing with the idea of courtly love and sarcastic and bawdy when he’s sharing tavern gossip. He’s the first really experimental literary voice we hear in English.
When I was 17, I spent an entire summer exploring Hungary on my own as a direct result of reading this book and A Time of Gifts. These two books tell the story of Fermor’s 1933 journey on foot from the Hook of Holland all the way to the borders of Yugoslavia. I was fascinated with the idea of long walking trips (I still am) and rereading my battered copies on a mountainside in Hungary felt like a door being unlocked. There are question marks over the books, he didn’t write them until in his 60s, but they remain magical for me and full of good memories.
In 1925 Ada Chesterton, a journalist, walked out of her London house with nothing in her pockets and lived on the streets for a couple of weeks to explore what being homeless actually meant. What makes it all the more remarkable was she was in her 40s and it was the middle of winter. Her account of life in workhouses and homeless shelters, desperately trying to get a job are heart-breakingly honest and eye-opening. I find myself regularly recommending this and Round About A Pound A Week by Maud Pember Reeves (a report on life at the equivalent of minimum wage in 1913, recently reprinted by Persephone Books) to clients who want to know what life might have been like for those in their family tree who weren’t so well off.
Thank you, Alex, for taking part in my Triple Choice Tuesday!
These all sound like intriguing choices — I’ve not read any of them. I’m especially intrigued by Ada Chesterton’s book.
What do you think of Alex’s choices? Have you read any of these books?