The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain (1885)

Love this book. The best thing about it? Hmm. I’ll go for its pragmatism.

Here’s the boy Huck chewing over what Miss Watson, an old maid with goggles on, tells him about how to live his life, including praying and other worthy stuff.

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A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith (1943)

Blink and you’ll miss this as it’s unfairly not often enough in best-ever lists.

Maybe that’s because the usual suspects like War and PeaceDon Quixote and yadda yadda yadda have been loitering longer. (Sphincter fix: a humble 77 jostling 151 and whopping 415 years.)

Join little girl Francie with her brother, mama and papa in the astonishing poverty of Brooklyn at the turn of the last century.

It’s tempting to skip through what they were eating, but pause and reflect on this before your next meal.

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The King in Yellow by Raymond Chandler (1950)

Okay, okay – last Chandler nibble for a bit. The indignity of being shot at.

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Pearls are a Nuisance by Raymond Chandler (1950)

Sticking with Chandler’s style for a few short posts.

Here’s the story’s hero trying to be tough and in control but it not working very well. One’s got to smile.

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The Lady in the Lake by Raymond Chandler (1944)

If you prodded me in the chest and said, ‘Off the top of your balding head, name a writer that makes you frisky when it comes to style.’

I’d say, ‘Trick of the light. Chandler.’

The magical thing about Chandler’s style is you can’t really unpick how he does it. Gotta keep trying, though.

There are some obvious touches like word economy and timing, but you still can’t explain how that rabbit – or the smile on your face – came to be there.

I think I might’ve wised up to a couple of wee wows, though. So turn up your collar, glance over your shoulder, and lean in…

Continue reading The Lady in the Lake by Raymond Chandler (1944)