Do you have favourite books, one's you can't bear to toss out when the big shelf clearing is on? I bet everyone does.
I'm a real sucker for those classic English writers like Evelyn Waugh, Somerset Maugham, John Galsworthy etc who wrote in the early part of the twentieth century. The between the wars periods is a fascinating time in English history with the tossing off of Victorian and Edwardian prudishness and the rise of the women's movements.
My all time favourite in this vein is the twelve novel series A Dance To the Music Of Time by Anthony Powell. It spans the period from about 1920 when the narrator Nicholas Jenkins is at boarding school and continues through to the 1960's. The books are an extraordinary depiction of English culture and society through those changing times and took over twenty years to write.
I'm now in my third reading of the lot and I'm just finishing the fourth book and loving them all over again. I bought my copies secondhand and had my son and husband on the lookout for various titles. I had a list in my bag and crossed them off as I acquired them. This has resulted in a variety of editions but it doesn't matter and just shoes how popular the books are to be reprinted time and time again. The BBC did four part miniseries several years ago. The actors are astonishingly perfect in their roles but many events have been telescoped by necessity.
They intricacies of the family relationships, marriages and friendships are staggering as Nicholas moved through his life meeting and remeeting people as he goes. Powell has created a vast world of completely believable and enthralling characters. His note taking must have been prodigious to keep track of everything and everyone. Remember he would have been writing on a typewriter at best.
I have trouble keeping track of my handful of characters and their little time lines!