The Next Best Book Club discussion

Looking For Recommendations > 1920's type thing

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message 1: by El (new)

El Fiona, I would recommend some Virginia Woolf, though I suppose "normal" may not be the best term to describe her characters.

message 2: by Donitello (new)

Donitello Wow.... Amazing how hard this request is. There are tons of books about AMERICAN working class people, which are set in the '20s and '30s.

How about ALL CREATURES GREAT AND SMALL? Beautifully written, and lots of them.

Anyone else? I'd love to read more of this kind of book m'self.

Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 1736 comments You might try Sinclair Lewis. Elmer Gantry I really enjoyed. Or John Steinbeck - how about Cannery Row and/or its sequel, Sweet Thursday?

Oh, on the British side - how about To Serve Them All My Days? The hero teaches at a "posh" boys' school, but comes from a Welsh coal mining family.

message 4: by Donitello (new)

Donitello Fiona wrote: "Lol if you can't think of british then American will do. Brits obviously don't like writing about their working classes... but that's why I want to read one."

Exactly! Me, too! I find it difficult to believe there aren't any...?

TO SERVE THEM ALL MY DAYS sounds promising....

JG (Introverted Reader) All Creatures Great and Small is a great suggestion, Doni! I love those books!

message 6: by Jeane (new)

Jeane | 4891 comments Great book All creatures great and small!

message 7: by Hayes (last edited Dec 28, 2008 07:01AM) (new)

Hayes (hayes13) Doni said: How about ALL CREATURES GREAT AND SMALL? Beautifully written, and lots of them.
me too me too... I loved them. I wanted to become a vet thanks to those books. Got all the way to the 1st year of university studying biology, and then gave it up (for lots of different reasons).

You wanted just plain folks, which is tough. But try Dorothy Sayers Lord Peter Wimsey series anyway. Sayers is just plain folks, vicar's daughter I think, and says this about her detective: (from Wikipedia)

In How I Came to Invent the Character of Lord Peter Wimsey, Sayers wrote:

Lord Peter's large income ... I deliberately gave him ... After all it cost me nothing and at the time I was particularly hard up and it gave me pleasure to spend his fortune for him. When I was dissatisfied with my single unfurnished room I took a luxurious flat for him in Piccadilly. When my cheap rug got a hole in it, I ordered him an Aubusson carpet. When I had no money to pay my bus fare I presented him with a Daimler double-six, upholstered in a style of sober magnificence, and when I felt dull I let him drive it. I can heartily recommend this inexpensive way of furnishing to all who are discontented with their incomes. It relieves the mind and does no harm to anybody.

Later in the series Harriet Vane, an autobiographical character, shows up and the books get even better.

JG (Introverted Reader) Fiona, they are sort of like short stories, each about an encounter with a different animal/owner. But then there will sort of be a theme throughout that he keeps returning to, like in the first one he's pursuing a girl named Helen.

message 9: by Nikki (new)

Nikki Boisture | 121 comments The Jungle by Upton Sinclair. It's American, but is about immigrants....

message 10: by Donitello (new)

Donitello Hayes wrote: "In How I Came to Invent the Character of Lord Peter Wimsey, Sayers wrote: 'Lord Peter's large income ... I deliberately gave him ... After all it cost me nothing and at the time I was particularly hard up and it gave me pleasure to spend his fortune for him....'"

This is off-topic -- apologies for that -- but I also once wrote a story that I wished had happened to me! It got accepted into CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE WOMAN'S SOUL, so I guess lots of other women wished it had happened to them. Or else maybe it did, and they related? Anyway, I think I'll post it on my profile page.

Again, sorry for getting off-topic, but you brought up a very cool memory. This is definitely one of the joys of art: The world can be recreated at will. Everyone should try it!

message 11: by El (new)

El Nikki, The Jungle is great, but published a little earlier than Fiona wanted. I would still recommend it too though. :)

message 12: by Anne (new)

Anne | 624 comments I loved The Outcast, by Sadie Jones. She's a Brit playwright and this is her debut novel. Wonderful. Set right after WW II, so later than you've specified, and the families are upper middle class, but still...the writing!!

Another you might like is Charles Todd's series centering on Inspector Ian Rutledge. Set in England at the end of WW I. Lots of description of small town life, which I loved.

Bel Ria is by the author of Incredible Journey. It's set in the UK toward the end of WW I.

Susan Howatch wrote the Starbridge series, which begins in the 1930's. Very, very readable.

message 13: by Hayes (last edited Dec 29, 2008 10:18AM) (new)

Hayes (hayes13) Another you might like is Charles Todd's series centering on Inspector Ian Rutledge. Set in England at the end of WW I. Lots of description of small town life, which I loved.

sounds good for me too! thanks

message 14: by Jeane (new)

Jeane | 4891 comments I read A test of wills by Charles Todd and liked it a lot.

message 15: by Brenda (new)

Brenda | 163 comments I seem to repeat myself often when I recommend the Maisie Dobbs series by Jaqueline Winspear. It begins just after WWI.

message 16: by El (new)

El Fiona, The Jungle is about the corruption of the American meatpacking industry. It's a pretty harsh depiction of immigrant life in the early part of the 20th century in America. Because of the book President Roosevelt investigated the conditions in meatpacking plants and as a result some things were made better.

message 17: by Anne (new)

Anne | 624 comments Here's a link to British and Irish authors writing during the 1920's (and other time periods as well). Happy hunting! I plan to nose around a little myself.

El, thanks for remembering The Jungle. Heartbreaking and important book. That made me remember another book, not quite of the same caliber, but it touched on the beginnings of the Workers movement in America: Sea Glass, by Anita Shreve.

message 18: by Rosemary (new)

Rosemary | 170 comments try books by William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway, and Virginia Woolf for American novels set in the 1920s. I also recommend John Steinbeck for a good portrayal of California during or near that era

message 19: by Rosemary (new)

Rosemary | 170 comments oh, and Theodore Dreiser

Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 1736 comments If you want writing about the 20s and 30s, rather than the writing of that period, you might try Maisie Dobbs. It's a historical mystery, set in 1929 - but there is an enormous amount of backstory. The heroine's father is a costermonger, and she was "in service" before she was a detective.

message 21: by Donna (new)

Donna | 137 comments For something on the lighter side, the Phryne Fisher mysteries by Kerry Greenwood are set in the 1920s in Melboure Australia

message 22: by Kathryn (last edited Feb 12, 2009 02:43PM) (new)

Kathryn Agatha Christie, for sure!!! I especially love the first few in her Tommy and Tuppence series, starting with The Secret Adversary

Our Hearts Were Young And Gay An Unforgettable Comic Chronicle of Innocents Abroad in the 1920s is great fun! Two American college-grads who go on their European summer tour. Admittedly, they have SOME money and status as they attended Bryn Mawr and have saved enough to travel for months in Europe, but mostly it's just a lot of wide-eyed adventure and it's hilarious!!! They also meet some interesting "big names" of the day. This is a true story.

I also enjoy the Phryne Fisher series, though I think she is definitely a bit of a "flapper" and is quite rich, though she works with a lot of other types of folk and is very giving.

In terms of TV, have you seen "House of Eliott"? My sister and I LOVE that series. Two sisters in the early '20s England move from relative poverty to owning their own fashion house. Here's a link in Amazon:

I'm excited to keep up with this post as I, too, absolutely love the '20s and '30s and England/European settings.

message 23: by Liz M (last edited Feb 12, 2009 04:49PM) (new)

Liz M The Apes of God: The novel is set in England during 1926, leading up to the General Strike in May. It has an episodic structure, following a young simpleton called Dan Boleyn from one encounter with the literati to another.

Bread Givers A Novel: This masterwork of American immigrant literature is set in the 1920s on the Lower East Side of Manhattan and tells the story of Sara Smolinsky, the youngest daughter of an Orthodox rabbi, who rebels against her father's rigid conception of Jewish womanhood.

message 24: by Andra (new)

Andra (aezadnik) Fiona:

I don't know if anyone's mentioned it yet, but Ragtime is an awesome book about the 1920s. The historical figures are great and it has that, I don't know...old America feel to it. I loved it. I'm a sucked for the 1920s too.

If you're looking for a new TV show to pick up about that time, and if you don't mind totally weird stuff Carnivale from HBO is pretty good. It's got the period down flat, with some crazy sci-fi good vs. evil in it. Of course, it doesn't really make any sense, but I would recommend it all the same.

ஐ Briansgirl (Book Queen)ஐ (briansgirlkate) The characters tend to be upper class but a good set of books for this time era are by P.G. Wodehouse.

ஐ Briansgirl (Book Queen)ஐ (briansgirlkate) I found the complete four seasons DVDs of BBC's P.G. Wodehouse's Jeeves and Wooster and the library. After watching these (23 one-hour episodes) I'm starting to read what Jeeves books I can find. He wrote 25 short stories and 12 novels about Jeeves. The library has only 4 novels and a short story. I ordered an onmibus (for under $4 plus shipping) of 2 more novels and 10 short stories and I had to really go looking to find The Code of the Woosters. I finally found one for $4 plus shipping, but some went as high as $20 used. The BBC series did tend to stick to the plot of his books but they changed details here and there, at least in the book I'm reading.

message 27: by Josie (new)

Josie (maid_marian) I haven't read it (watched the movie though), but there's Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons, which answers some of your requirements, Fiona. It's set in England, 1930s, and whilst Flora does mix with an upperclass set, she goes to live with some distant relations on their farm... so there's that, if you haven't already read it!

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