a good read

From Candy and the Golden Eagle by Gwyneth Mamlok, London: Nelson, 1965

I have been fascinated by the Lost Man Booker Prize of 1970 since reading about it a few weeks ago on the Gentle Author's blog. The winner was announced yesterday as J.G. Farrell, whose work I'm ashamed to say I don't know, but when I had a look at the longlist I recognised so many of the authors' names I felt a sudden inclination to read - in a leisurely fashion - through the list myself.

Despite being an avid reader from about the time this list was published, my tastes did not at that stage extend much beyond the adventures of Candy and Peppermint (see above), so many if not most of the titles have passed me by. However, several of the authors later became great favourites - Mary Renault, H.E. Bates, Nina Bawden, Susan Hill, and recently, Ruth Rendell - that I felt a curious mixture of nostalgia and expectation when I read through the list of names, and a great desire to immerse myself in the literary culture of a time which seems to me synonymous with a great intellectual and social freedom, and yet still in touch with a golden age that I remember with misty affection.

In the spirit of my reading practises as a child, I have set myself the challenge of acquiring all these titles either from the public library or secondhand, even though many of them will probably be reissued in desirable and glamorous new editions. If there is one thing I remember about 1970, it was a much greater thriftiness and lack of waste - something I could certainly do with reviving...

The Lost Booker Prize of 1970 longlist:

Brian Aldiss, The Hand Reared Boy
HE Bates, A Little Of What You Fancy?
Nina Bawden, The Birds On The Trees
Melvyn Bragg, A Place In England
Christy Brown, Down All The Days
Len Deighton, Bomber
JG Farrell, Troubles
Elaine Feinstein, The Circle
Shirley Hazzard, The Bay Of Noon
Reginald Hill, A Clubbable Woman
Susan Hill, I'm The King Of The Castle
Francis King, A Domestic Animal
Margaret Laurence, The Fire Dwellers
David Lodge, Out Of The Shelter
Iris Murdoch, A Fairly Honourable Defeat
Shiva Naipaul, Fireflies
Patrick O'Brian, Master and Commander
Joe Orton, Head To Toe
Mary Renault, Fire From Heaven
Ruth Rendell, A Guilty Thing Surprised
Muriel Spark, The Driver's Seat
Patrick White, The Vivisector


Diane said...

I remember the 70's as being very frugal indeed at our house. Dad was a miner and it seemed obligitory to have a strike every year for a few weeks which must have been a nightmare for my parents - with 3 small kids to feed. It taught me a lot though from watching how my mum made the pennies stretch. Like the look of the book list - i'll have to dig some of those out. xxx

Lucille said...

That book! Such a lovely reminder. I went rushing to my cupboard and found 'Candy and the Rocking Horse'. Your book list is very appetising and I like your idea of going back to the library.

Jane said...

Oh, 1970! The year I did my A levels, left home for my first job, met my husband... I earned £2 per week and my board and lodge working for a children's charity with one day a week off in term-time! Must have read about half this list when they first came out - still have some but this is a house filled with books. We're certainly back in an age of austerity in this house. Thank goodness for a good local library. Sounds like a good summer reading project, Sue.

mary said...

Len Deighton's Bomber was very good, I discovered it in the library not that long ago (like you, I was rather too young at the time).

Gilly said...

Oh my gosh!! Candy and the Golden Eagle. I know the plot by heart having read, re-read and re-re-read the book to Sue since she was knee high to a grasshopper!! The the pre-quel - Candy and the Rocking horse.


No, I had better stop!

Dan said...

I don't remember these books, though I do remember Carrie's War by Nina Bawden. I really love that illustration you've chosen though!

rossichka said...

Dear Sue, I have a little gift for you in my blog... Best wishes! xx

Around My Kitchen Table said...

That is such a diverse list with several genres. I fear the Man Booker is much more proscribed these days. I love Ruth Rendell. I love her even more in her Barbara Vine persona. Thanks for the list. It's a a real eye-opener.

Penny said...

This is going to be tough.
I've read six of those books, all worthy of the big prize.
1970 brings back some sweet memories - it was my first year at uni.

A Time to Dance said...

Gosh I dont know any of those books..but I was only a slip of a thing in the '70's I keep looking at my holiday pile ...looking forward to the time when I can read them...bliss...I am making my mouse blanket this summer when we are on holiday in Germany...hope I can remeber how to interpret the complicated instructions...I may need to call on you and the video again...love H

Cottage Garden said...

Sue, I was lucky enough to win a giveaway from Verity at Verity's Virago Venture of two Lost Man Booker prize titles - the Birds in the Trees and The Fire Dwellers which were both excellent reads. I was not familiar with either of these authors beforehand.

I like your idea of obtaining all these books second-hand or through the library - something I have been striving to do this year as I tend to get seduced by new book covers!

Good luck in your challenge!

Lucille said...

Hi Sue,
I think the book was 'A House with Four Rooms' by Rumer Godden. Another one for the list. Thanks for checking back with me.

Lorenza said...

lovely list! I've noted them down, not that I am approaching to be a student again, although I will be very busy, I have no doubt I will feel less tired and stressed to enjoy some leisurely reading :D

There is a little giveaway over at my blog, if anyone fancy taking part ;) L xxx