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Writing Home by Alan Bennett

Writing Home (original 1994; edition 1995)

by Alan Bennett (Author)

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978814,753 (3.98)12
The funny, revealing, and lucidly intelligent writing of one of England's best-known literary figures, Writing Home includes Bennett's journalism, book and theater reviews, his diaries from the 1980s, an account of Miss Shepherd--a London eccentric who lived in a van in Bennett's garden for more than 20 years--and much more. 32 pages of photos.… (more)
Title:Writing Home
Authors:Alan Bennett (Author)
Info:Faber & Faber, London (1995), Edition: First Paperback Edition, 417 pages
Collections:Your library

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Writing Home by Alan Bennett (1994)


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Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
I very recently read two books by Pierre Chatillon, and quite a few chapters begin with him describing how much he loved/loves to go camping/walking on the beach (either a river in Quebec or the seaside on the Mediterranean in the south of France (Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, Camargue), or in the Gulf of Mexico in Florida). While there, he consistently admired the seagulls, the waves, the sunrise, the sunset, and how much these all meant to his life. Since he is a poet, he describes them poetically and even quotes some of his poems.

I remember years ago reading one commentator who wrote that good editing is when there are not excessive repetitions in a book. Short and tight is the ideal. After two books in about a week where it seemed like most chapters began with a couple of paragraphs or with a couple of pages about the wonderful bodies of water and the flowers and the birds, I was starting to get worn out by it.

So imagine my surprise and relief when I started my next book, Writing Home, by Alan Bennett and saw a total contrast. This is because he was a kid in Leeds, Great Britain during WWII. His Dad was a butcher and they were not so well off. So the books in his school all had kids going on happy picnics by a farm with bunnies and cows and chickens and a nice blanket spread on the ground, etc., etc. Apparently in the north of England, the beaches are not as glamourous as the places Pierre Chatillon visits, and he went to countryside inns where his parents felt they were too poor to actually eat in the dining room and brought bagged lunches from home only. Oh wait, Alan Bennett's mother would break down and order spaghetti on toast, or a poached egg on toast.

After about 5 or 10 pages, I sighed in relief that I would not have to endure any more long descriptions on how much the beach and the waves and the sunrise and the birds mean to that particular author

"It was a village called Wilsill, in Nidderdale. There were a few houses, a shop, a school and a church and, though we were miles from any town, even here the stream had been dammed to make a static water tank in readiness for the firefighters and the expected bombs.".
  libraryhermit | Apr 30, 2018 |
Marvelous, marvelous, marvelous! ( )
  CarltonC | Jul 11, 2017 |
I know I'm not going to be popular with this, seeing as Alan Bennett is considered a National Treasure, but I didn't get on with this book at all. Where other reviewers have praised his wry observations I could only find tedium. I repeatedly told myself that I was missing something and persevered until the end of The Lady in the Van (page 130) but then resignedly gave up, not able to face the rest of the 612 pages. I did smile occasionally at his wit and sense of humour but I'm afraid it's not enough to save the book. I've taken it off the shelf repeatedly but felt the same every time, so I think it's time to let it go. ( )
  passion4reading | Jul 16, 2012 |
A readable, intelligent and often funny collection. Alan Bennett comes across as utterly honest, to us as well as to himself. ( )
  janglen | Nov 29, 2010 |
A book full of scraps and tid-bits that nobody in their serious mind should attempt to read, let alone buy. Supposedly, most of these 'occasional pieces' were once published or unpublished. Much of it is either very boring or of inimitably little interest. The Diaries, for examples, tell us nothing whatsoever, as with most other pieces. Personally, I most enjoyed two reviews, about Auden and Kafka, although the one about Kafka was too long and lost my interest towards the end, where the author strayed and became more preoccupied with himself (again).

It took me an incredibly long time to finish this tome (of 630+ pages), and I feel I wasted a lot of time reading it.

I would advise anyone to take it from a library and read only those parts which have your particular interest, rather than attempt to swallow the whole book. ( )
  edwinbcn | Jun 19, 2010 |
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"What you want to be," Mam said to my brother and me, "is gentleman farmers. They earn up to 10 pounds a week."
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An overlong mix
Of thoughts, observations and
Recollections: dull!

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