Remember These? Books beginning with F and G

Before I started blogging I used to keep a list of the books I read in an A-Z notebook – the title, the author and a rating out of 5, but no other information. I did this from the mid-1990s to around the year 2000, but sadly kept no records after that until October 2009 when I started my blog.

I still have the notebook and a few years ago I began writing a series of blog posts highlighting some of the books listed under each letter, but only got as far as E before getting distracted and forgetting to do the rest. I did enjoy working on those posts, so I have decided to continue and try to get all the way to Z this time – and yes, I do have a book listed under Z!

So, without further ado, here is a selection of the books that appeared on the ‘F’ and ‘G’ pages of my notebook. I originally gave the books ratings out of 5 and the additional symbol * means that I particularly loved the book while X means I didn’t finish it. Although I’ve included my original ratings here, these do not necessarily reflect what I would feel about the books if I read them again today!

Books beginning with F and G:

Gormenghast The Gormenghast Trilogy by Mervyn Peake 5/5*
I remember buying this book after watching the BBC adaptation in 2000. My edition includes all three novels in the trilogy – I didn’t like the third one, Titus Alone, but loved the first two, Titus Groan and Gormenghast.

The Far Pavilions by M.M. Kaye 5/5*
This wonderful novel set in India is one of my favourite historical fiction novels. I loved it the first time I read it and when I re-read it in 2010 I was pleased to find that it was still as good as I remembered.

Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell 5/5*
I have read Gone with the Wind several times and don’t know if this particular entry refers to my first read or a later re-read. It’s another favourite, though, so it would get 5/5 from me every time.

Grim Pickings Grim Pickings by Jennifer Rowe 5/5
This was a great Agatha Christie-style mystery novel set in Australia and revolving around a murder that takes place in an old woman’s orchard where her family have gathered to pick apples. I think it was part of a series, but I never read any of the others.

The Ghost of Thomas Kempe by Penelope Lively 3/5
This is one of Penelope Lively’s children’s books. I can remember what the front cover of my copy looked like (and I think I still have it somewhere) but the story has faded from my mind. I would like to read it again as I think I might appreciate it more now than I did the first time.

The Fog The Fog by James Herbert 3/5
I very rarely read horror novels these days but I used to read a lot of them. I enjoyed this one, about a mysterious fog that spreads across Britain, altering the minds of everyone who comes into contact with it.

Freezing by Penelope Evans 3/5
I have no memories at all of reading this book. According to Goodreads, it’s a crime novel about a photographer who works in a mortuary and tries to find the identity of a drowning victim who is brought into the morgue one day. It sounds a bit gruesome but I must have enjoyed it enough to give it a 3/5 rating.

First Impression by Margot Dalton 3/5
I can’t remember this one either. It’s another crime novel, this time about a detective trying to solve a missing child case.

Fog Heart The Ghost Road by Pat Barker 2/5
If you’d asked me whether I’d read anything by Pat Barker I would have said no, but obviously I did read this one. I think I’ll have to read it again as I can’t remember anything about it and I suspect it deserves more than 2/5! It’s the third in the Regeneration trilogy and I don’t have any record of reading the previous two, so maybe that was the problem.

Fog Heart by Thomas Tessier 2/5
The story of two couples who are drawn together when they attend a séance and meet a young medium called Oona. I do vaguely remember reading this book, but I wasn’t very impressed by it.

The Ghosts of Candleford by Mike Jeffries 2/5
Neither the title nor the author sound familiar to me but Amazon tells me that this is a ‘classic tale of the supernatural’. Seeing how many books I’ve read and then completely forgotten about has confirmed for me (if I needed to have it confirmed) that starting a book blog was an excellent idea!

Have you read any of these books? Can you shed any light on the more obscure ones?

I’ll be back soon with another selection, but if you missed my earlier Remember These? posts you can see them here.

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20 thoughts on “Remember These? Books beginning with F and G

  1. farmlanebooks says:

    What a great selection of books! I also loved the first two in the Gormenghast trilogy – I don’t think anyone can match Peake’s vivid descriptions. Such a shame his next two books weren’t in the same league.

  2. kaggsysbookishramblings says:

    I love the Peake books – but I think you need to leave a gap between reading Gormenghast and Titus Alone, because the latter is very different and you also have to take into account his experiences as a War Artist (visiting Belsen) which inform the story.

    • Helen says:

      Yes, it was probably a mistake to move straight onto Titus Alone immediately after finishing Gormenghast. Hopefully I’ll get round to reading the trilogy again at some point, so I’ll be sure to leave a gap next time and see if that helps!

  3. realthog says:

    I didn’t like the third one, Titus Alone, but loved the first two

    I think we’ve all had that experience! Kaggsysbookishramblings is right, though: it’s best to read it is a separate book and forget that it’s supposedly part of a trilogy. Mr Pye is quite a lot of fun, too, if you haven’t tried it. I haven’t had opportunity to read the much more recent Titus Awakes (2011), which was completed from Peake’s notes by his widow, Maeve Gilmore. Hm. I guess I should make the effort to lay hands on a copy . . .

    • Helen says:

      I would like to give Titus Alone another chance, so I’ll take your advice and treat it as a separate book next time! I haven’t tried any of Peake’s other books yet, but I’ve been curious about Mr Pye so I’m glad to hear you would recommend it.

    • HelenC says:

      I’m another who loved the first two books but wasn’t keen on Titus Alone. I came across Titus Awakes in my local library last year, but I’m afraid I found it unreadable and abandoned it fairly quickly.

  4. beckylindroos says:

    I was never able to keep a reading journal before I tried online in about ’97 when started at Geocities. I went with them and iWeb and now I’ve been with WordPress for about 5 years. I love it – I can look back and see what I thought of some book. 🙂 Prior to that I just have to rely on my memory.

    Yes, I remember The Far Pavilions from my mid-20s, Gone With the Wind rom when I was about 12 (and I want to reread it), The Ghost Road from as an adult. Loved all of them – Thanks for the memories.

    • Helen says:

      That’s one of the things I love about blogging – the fact that my thoughts are all recorded in one place and I don’t have to rely on memory! I’m glad you loved those three books too. 🙂

    • Helen says:

      I’ve been meaning to read the Regeneration trilogy for years and had somehow completely forgotten that I’d already read The Ghost Road! I’m glad you liked it. I want to try it again, but not until I’ve read the first two books.

  5. piningforthewest says:

    I read the Peake books way back in the 1970s and remember enjoying them but can’t remember what I felt about the third one, I wish I had taken notes then. The Ghost Road isn’t as good as the previous two books, as I recall.

    • Helen says:

      I remember thinking that Titus Alone was so different from the first two Gormenghast books it didn’t even feel as if it had been written by the same author. I would like to read the whole trilogy again, though, and do as some of the commenters above have suggested, leaving a gap between the first two books and the third one.

  6. Alex says:

    Do you think that having read a book and forgotten about it is like never having read it at all? I always feel guilty when I don’t remember a book, not even a vague feeling of whether I liked it or not.

    • Helen says:

      Yes, I do feel a bit guilty that I can’t remember reading them! It doesn’t necessarily mean that I didn’t like the book, though – just that I didn’t find it very memorable.

  7. Margaret @ BooksPlease says:

    I read the Gormenghast trilogy many years ago – loved them and reread the first one after seeing the TV version a while ago. The Far Pavilions is another book I years ago too – loved it! I’m a bit hesitant to re-read books I loved in case it spoils my memories – when I re-read Little Women I was so disappointed that I no longer loved it as I did when I was a child! I read Gone with the Wind quite recently and was delighted to find I loved it too!

    Alex asks about feeling guilty at forgetting about books etc and I don’t – I just feel sad that I’ve forgotten! I’ve recently read Green Darkness by Anya Seton which I thought I’d read years ago but as I read I immediately thought – I haven’t actually read this before, I just knew about it!! Now that worries me – how many other books are there that I think I’ve read and haven’t?

    • Helen says:

      I love re-reading old favourites, but yes, it can be disappointing when they aren’t quite as good as you remember. I read Little Women several times during my childhood/teenage years but not since then – I wonder what I would think of it if I read it again now!

  8. BookerTalk says:

    I read Peake in my teenage years and just remember being so perplexed because this was like nothing I had read before. Wish I had kept. Reading journal before I started blogging, it would help on those occasions where I am trying to remember if I did read a classic or on,y think I did

    • Helen says:

      Peake’s books are perplexing enough to read as an adult so I’m not surprised you were perplexed as a teenager! And yes, reading journals can be very helpful – I just wish I’d recorded more details in mine, as only knowing the title and author doesn’t really tell me very much.

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