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.
Helen is a solicitor in a firm that deals with Trade Union rights. Ever since she can remember she has been an avid reader and just over a year ago started blogging her thoughts about some of the books she reads at MadAboutTheBooks. She also posts reviews on GoodReads from time to time.
Without further ado, here are Helen’s Triple Choice Tuesday selections:
Middlemarch is, without a doubt, my favourite book of all time. I know the sheer length of it can appear daunting and the language can also seem a little off-putting. Luckily, I came across Middlemarch when I was still a student. I shared a flat with an English Lit student who asked me if I’d read it. She insisted that I must do so immediately as she thought it was the “best book of all time’” I think the fact that it was so highly recommended by a contemporary made it seem more accessible to me.
I have now read Middlemarch four times and on each reading I have got something different from it. During my first two readings, my younger self was more interested in the various love-affairs and how they would play out. The more mature me was fascinated with the social and political background.
I read Middlemarch most recently in December 2014. The structure of the book and George Eliot’s mastery as a writer overwhelmed me anew. She can move from (melo)drama to comedy to pathos seemingly effortlessly. And Casaubon! What a marvellously horrible creation he is!
George Orwell’s 1984 was another book I read as a student. Come to think of it, 1984 was still just about in the future at that point!
A friend had borrowed it from the library and needed to return it the next day so I lay down behind the sofa, the only spot you could get any peace in our shared flat, and read the book in a day.
I still love George Orwell’s plain-speaking prose. The dismal world in which Winston lives is so realistically created. The constant surveillance, threat of violence and perversion of language are, unfortunately, still relevant issues today.
To be fair, I think that The Pearl That Broke Its Shell by Nadia Hashimi has found a large audience in the US but doesn’t seem to have found a niche here. Hashimi is part of the US Afghan community and in her book she explores the difficulties faced by women in Afghanistan today and in the past.
Rahima is growing up in today’s Afghanistan and her story is contrasted with that of her great grandmother Shekiba, who grew up in the early twentieth century. We learn about the practice of bacha posh — a girl being raised as a boy until puberty, usually for the convenience of the family. Rahima experiences some freedom in her childhood but eventually, just like her sisters, she is sold into marriage.
This is a book that I think everyone should read. Rahima’s fate haunted me long after I had finished reading…I do so hope she will be okay.
Thanks, Helen, for taking part in my Triple Choice Tuesday!
Some great choices here! I took part in a Middlemarch readalong about 10 years ago but abandoned the book about a quarter of the way through. I really ought to go back and try again. I, too, read 1984 at school (in the actual year 1984, if I remember rightly) and loved it. I read it again a few years ago and loved it anew. And I like the sound of The Pearl That Broke Its Shell, a book I’d not heard of before you mentioned it here — on to the wishlist it goes!
What do you think of Helen’s choices? Have you read any of these books?