October was a bit of a disappointment where reading is concerned. I only read three books which is very few for me, and I was driven back to an old classic halfway through the month, although ‘driven’ probably isn’t the right word, more liked romped happily home to a book I hadn’t read for years.
Talk to the Tail by Tom Cox, this wasn’t that much of a disappointment I have to say, as I still really enjoyed the writing. I just didn’t laugh quite as much as at Under the Paw which I read last month, I also think I went in with higher expectations because Under the Paw was so eye wateringly funny. Talk to the Tail branches out more than its predecessor from the main theme of cats, and this is where it lost out for me personally, I just love the cats too much (I realise claiming ‘there aren’t enough cats’ on a book with a cat on the cover is possibly a little bit unreasonable). I’m not put off reading the next in the series though The Good the Bad and the Furry, as I think this goes back to more about the Bear and the rest of Tom Cox’s cat menagerie – which is what I love so much about this writer.
The Woman Who Went to Bed for a Year by Sue Townsend. This was another book I really wanted to love based on the writer’s previous work. If you have never read the wonderful Adrian Mole books by Townsend then get yourself to a library immediately and pick them up. This was just not quite up to that standard unfortunately. The woman is the rather brilliantly named Eva Beaver, who does exactly what it says in the title, leaving her children and husband to fend for themselves, and we see the chaos that ensues; including Eva becoming an internet sensation. There is still much to like about this book though, Sue Townsend is too good at creating believably flawed and funny characters for it to not be a fairly enjoyable read, think I just came to it with higher expectations based on her other work.
Howards End by E.M. Forster. I can’t begin to sum up what a wonderful novel this is. I’m not going to try to analyse or review this book when so many other critics have done a much better job than me over the years. I first read Howards End when I was a teenager and it had a big impact on me at the time, but I haven’t read it since. It was such a treat to return to this book, and it was even better than I remembered. It is such a nuanced book about three families in Edwardian England, all of whom have completely different experiences and values which don’t match well when their lives start to be intertwined. Add to this hints of the looming war with Germany, painful examination of the class system and the sinister shadow of Imperialism and you have a truly classic novel.