Shelf Isolation #6

While the Bath Festivals team is self-distancing this spring, we’re keen to share with you (and each other) the books on our shelves that inspire us during these uncertain times. Keep an eye on our blog and social media for regular recommendations from the Bath Festivals team! This week’s picks are by Georgette McCready, Public Relations Officer.

#ShelfIsolation – Georgette McCready

The three books I’ve chosen are all novels I have read many times and I’d recommend them as ideal escape routes for the imagination that we need in difficult times.

The Light Years by Elizabeth Jane Howard (published 1990)

The Cazalets are a middle class family living with the threat of war over them in late 1930s. Their stories are told through the eyes of family members from the oldest generation down through the grandchildren. Howard is brilliant at creating rounded characters, largely likeable despite their flaws. She moves adeptly between the heartache of a teenage girl, or the intimacies between married couples, to the hilarious exchanges between small children. And if you enjoy The Light Years there are four more books in the series, spanning 20 years. You will never be lonely with this cast of characters to keep you company.

Case Histories by Kate Atkinson (published 2004)

Maverick private detectives don’t come any more endearing than Jackson Brodie and this is the first of a series that feature his messy love life, his passion for country music and his investigations into other people’s ‘tragedies and cock-ups.’ Brilliantly tightly plotted, fast-paced and with lots of laughs along the way, you’ll imagine yourself sitting alongside Jackson in his Fiat Punto, growing fonder of him by the minute as he shares his world-weary views on modern life.

Lowbourn by Jo Baker (published 2013)

A fresh take on Pride and Prejudice sees the Bennett household dramas unfold through the eyes of the servants. We see their lives and losses on the other side of the house as they prepare meals and launder the Bennett girls’ dresses. After reading this for the second time I dissected the book scene by scene, in order to admire how cleverly Baker uses multiple points of view to unfold the plot, never putting a foot wrong. This is a masterclass in showing and not telling.

We’d love to know what our audiences been reading! Do you have a shelf that you would love to share? Post your #ShelfIsolation recommendations on Instagram or Twitter and tag @TheBathFestival

We welcome any donations that you can make to help Bath Festivals continue during this difficult time. Please click here to donate.

Previous Shelf Isolations
Shelf Isolation #1 – Stephanie Massie (Head of Development)
Shelf Isolation #2 – Elysia Collins (Production Coordinator)
Shelf Isolation #3 – Kate Abbey (Literature Programmer)
Shelf Isolation #4 – Hazel Plowman (Head of Creative Learning)
Shelf Isolation #5 – Rebecca Tantony (Poetry and Spoken Word Programmer)

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