World Book Day is a special occasion to celebrate the authors whose books have become our lifetime companions and whose books were unputdownable
Honouring World Book Day 2016
For me on top of the list is Dame Agatha Christie, the British crime writer and playwright. She is the author of many, many books featuring famous sleuths like Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple. Hercule Poirot is the Belgian detective, loved by numerous fans all over the world and Miss Marple is the grey haired but very shrewd old lady, living in a British village, that has excellent insights into the human mind. Agatha Christie’s books are translated into 103 languages, how impressive is that? She is the world’s bestselling novelist of all times, need I say more? Among my favourite Christies are “At Bertram’s Hotel”, “Death in the Clouds”, “The Secret of Chimneys”, and “The Secret Adversary”.
Thinking of crime novels, Dorothy Sayer’s gentleman detective Lord Peter Wimsey springs to mind, an alumnus of Oxford University belonging to Britain’s upper class. For those of you interested in classical cars, one of his is a 12-cylinder (1927) Daimler four-seater. Dorothy Sayers has written much more, such as playwrights and poems. Furthermore, she has translated Dante’s “Divina Comedia” in English. Both Dorothy Sayers and Agatha Christie are the founding members of the ‘Detection Club’ (1930). This group of mystery writers held regular dinner meetings in London, to discuss several aspects of their writings and to write detectives together.
To change to psychological novels, how about Irvin Yalom, the American psychiatrist who taught at Standford University and has written such beautiful books like “The Schopenhauer Cure” and my favourite “When Nietzsche wept”. This book, published in 1992, tells about dr. Joseph Breuer, who is fallen in love with one of his patients. Influenced by Sigmund Freud, his disciple, he treats Nietzsche for his headaches by implementing what has become as the basis, the origin of psychoanalysis. It is a moving and touching book, one I thoroughly loved reading.
And what about Nicci Gerrard, who writes psychological novels like “Things we knew were true” and “Simple in the Moonlight”. She writes original and with style, while we readers really get to know her characters and what drives them. Together with her husband Sean French she is Nicci French, one of the world’s leading crime fiction writers with novels as “Catch Me When I Fall”, “Until It’s Over” and the Frieda Klein series.
As we have talked of crime and psychological novels, at the end of this blog there should be room for a ‘feel good’ novel. For me, only one springs to mind: “Miss Pettigrew lives for a day” by Winifred Watson. It is London, 1939, and Miss Guinevere Pettigrew is again on her way to the agency as she had lost yet another job. By chance, she is lead to the apartment of the glamorous American actress and singer, who cannot choose between her three lovers. In her newfound role of ‘social secretary’, she is swept into this for her unknown world. While sorting other people’s (love)lives, transforms. To tell all would spoil the tale of the lovely and touching feel-good novel, also adapted into a beautiful, romantic and charming film. “Every woman will have her day” and this is the day of Miss Guinevere Pettigrew.