Bright Young Things discussion

Group Reads Archive > Bright Young People (Chapters 1-5)

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message 1: by Ally (new)

Ally (goodreadscomuser_allhug) | 1653 comments Mod
Please use this thread to discuss chapters 1-5 of...

Bright Young People The Rise and Fall of a Generation 1918-1940 by D.J. Taylor Bright Young People: The Rise and Fall of a Generation 1918-1940 by D.J. Taylor D.J. Taylor

message 2: by Ally (new)

Ally (goodreadscomuser_allhug) | 1653 comments Mod
I tried this book last year but just couldn't finish it. I've picked it up again now that it's won our March Group Read poll but I'm still finding it a bit of a struggle.

Despite the interesting people and events I just can't seem to connect with Taylor's writing. Its coming across as a bit pretentious to me and rather than telling us the story of bright young history its dry 'name dropping'. It also lacks structure for me flitting from event to person to prank to a different person - no connecting thread for me so far.

hmmm so far a little disappointing - such an interesting subject to have been made so dry and unentertaining!


message 3: by Bronwyn (new)

Bronwyn (nzfriend) | 651 comments That's a bummer! I'm hoping to read it this summer if I get a chance. I want something entertaining though as opposed to all the stuff I read for school! Boo. :( ;)

message 4: by Bronwyn (new)

Bronwyn (nzfriend) | 651 comments I see that this book discussion never took off! I started this last night, but am only through the prologue so far. We'll see if your observation hits me too, Ally.

message 5: by Bronwyn (new)

Bronwyn (nzfriend) | 651 comments Okay, I'm onto chapter five now, so I feel like I can comment a bit on the book, now.

I'm not actually finding the writing style that hard to read. You can definitely tell Taylor writes criticism (among other stuff), but it's not too bad. Maybe it's just because I've just come off grad school and reading really dry, difficult, boring things, though.

I don't find it to be merely name dropping either. I think that given the subject matter and that so much is just parties and who people knew and hung out with, it off course has a bit of name dropping. It doesn't bother me though, I expected it. And it's less than I expected, actually. It would be like trying to write about some of the 'celebrities' now without making it look like name dropping. Why are these people famous, really? Because they know people, because they are in the tabloids, etc.

I do agree that there's not much connecting the book together. It's very much just a series of essays, but that doesn't really bother me. I wish it was a bit more connected overall, but the thematic chapters are fine too.

I'm enjoying it overall, but I do wish it were a bit more fun.

message 6: by Ally (new)

Ally (goodreadscomuser_allhug) | 1653 comments Mod
Maybe I'll have to give it another go then Bronwyn! - I just felt that it was such a vibrant period in history and didn't really understand how he could have zapped all the energy out of it. Maybe I was too harsh!

message 7: by Nigeyb (new)

Nigeyb Bronwyn wrote: "I'm enjoying it overall, but I do wish it were a bit more fun. "

This debate doesn't seem to have really taken off.

Did you finish is Bronwyn? What did you think?

Ally wrote: "hmmm so far a little disappointing - such an interesting subject to have been made so dry and unentertaining!"

What about you Ally? Did you get any further?

83% of Goodreads readers liked it - though not many of them give it a five star review.

One reviewer notes... At the beginning, it seems a bit tedious and fractured, but, as you get farther in the book and the pacing back and forth between people becomes quicker, it really is a good read. And, gives a real look at the lives and emotions of these people described.

Another reviewer states....

These fabulously wealthy twenty-somethings knew that time was fleeting, and made the most of it. Champagne flowed at parties that lasted until dawn. Scavenger hunts zigzagged the players all across London. And yet there was a deeper sadness that permeated their carousing. A sort of nostalgia in their own time.

Which I find touching and wise. I have known that feeling myself, the knowledge that I am living through halcyon times even whilst I am experiencing them. And that feeling reminds me, once again, of the atmosphere of A Month in the Country (our June 2013 fiction read). A really special book and one you should read. I only finished it a couple of days ago and it has really stuck with me.

message 8: by Bronwyn (new)

Bronwyn (nzfriend) | 651 comments I did finish. Looking at my rating I only gave it three stars. I honestly don't remember a whole lot about it. Reading my comment here again seems about right though. It just had such potential and didn't do much with that. I enjoyed Flapper by Zeitz much better, though of course about different people.

message 9: by Nigeyb (new)

Nigeyb Thanks Bronwyn. That's really helpful.

What books have people come across that really do the era justice? I am hoping for more of a UK perspective but, that said, am open to anything about the 1920s.

message 10: by Bronwyn (new)

Bronwyn (nzfriend) | 651 comments I haven't read much generally about the period, unfortunately. I'd love suggestions too. Most of what I've read has been through here. I've read Anything Goes, Flapper, Bright Young Things which are more general. On more narrow topics/people I read Bobbed Hair and Bathtub Gin, which I really enjoyed. And I've read The Sisters about the Mitfords, and Mad World about Waugh, etc.

I have Only Yesterday on my shelf to read, borrowed from my mom. I'm sure there are others too but I'm not by my books so I can't give specifics. I'm looking forward to seeing what others recommend.

message 11: by Nigeyb (new)

Nigeyb Thanks again. I will keep you posted with any good books that I come across too.

message 12: by Gene (last edited Apr 14, 2013 07:36PM) (new)

Gene Ruyle (plainsmann) | 14 comments Generally, this topic fascinates me -- though for the past two months between doing a Noel Coward play, outside writing deadlines, and opening two online (closed) groups at Facebook, I'm currently a little underwater. BUT, tonight I'm checking back in on Goodreads. This book unfortunately sounds too iffy to pick up right now (maybe "summer reading" in a couple of months?). Thanking you all for your postings, and trying to stay abreast of things, - Gene

message 13: by Jan C (new)

Jan C (woeisme) | 1525 comments I could be tempted to pick it up again. If I can find it.

message 14: by Nigeyb (new)

Nigeyb Plenty of good reviews around. I'm keeping an open mind :-))

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