I think I'm finding it easier to lump a months worth of books together in one post rather than trying to separate them out. Sometimes I might read two of the books in a week, some weeks I don't read any books I feel warrant being on here so its easier to do them all in one go.
Book Title: Mary Barton
Author: Elizabeth Gaskell
Would read again: 8/10
Comments: I love Elizabeth Gaskell, Cranford is one of my all time favorite comfort reads and has been since I was a teenager. However Mary Barton is a different kettle of fish. Its less dreamy and much harsher and I found it less enjoyable. That said it reads as a realistic and insightful portrayal of the time and if it had been written by another author I probably would have had different expectations and enjoyed it more. So I can recommend it, but don't expect it to be in the same style as Cranford.
Book Title: To Kill a Mockingbird
Author: Harper Lee
Would read again: 10/10
Comments: This was one of the books we studied for GCSE English. Normally I hated reading the books in English class. We would have to read them together so slowly, and I am a really fast reader. So I would be reading ahead and the person at the desk next to me would have to nudge me when it came to my bit to read out loud because I'd be in the wrong place (thanks Gemma, you probably don't even remember doing it but you helped me a lot). By the time we finished reading it in class I would have been bored of it, and I know plenty of other people out there who are put off reading certain books just because they are chosen as required reading in English class.
This one however, I never ended up getting bored of, and I have voluntarily read it several times since leaving school. I sincerely believe that its a book everyone should read at least once.
Book Title: Twopence to cross the Mersey
Author: Helen Forrester
Would read again: 7/10
Comments: This is another book I first encountered at school, primary school in this case. Looking back it was probably a bit advanced for me then, but because I was a quick reader I think I often read books a little too young and so didn't properly understand them fully. Not the language, more some of the concepts in them.
In this case although I read about the poverty and the appalling living conditions, I don't think it was until I was older I really understood that Helen Forrester had had such a bad experience.
She wrote a whole series of books and her life does improve in many ways. This book is not a happy one though, which is partly why I don't read it too often.
Book Title: The Upstart
Author: Catherine Cookson
Would read again: 8/10
Comments: When discussing Catherine Cookson, my family often agree that she can be a bit depressing. She has a habit of killing off lots of characters and making them live very grim lives. Its gritty and realistic, but as with Twopence to cross the Mersey, I find Catherine Cooksons books should not be read if you are already in a depressed mood. (Or maybe they should to show me how much worse my life could be?) They are alsway interesting though, she writes mainly to highlight the social divide between rich and poor and this book is no eception. Its got engaging characters, even ones you think at the start aren't very engaging become more so.