Three books in particular with family history themes inspired me to start writing.
Josceline Dimbleby’s “A Profound Secret” about her Pre-Raphaelite connected ancestors was damned in the Guardian with a caustic review guaranteed to strike the fear of God into any aspiring amateur historian's heart. But I think all you need to enjoy it is a bit of empathy as it’s a well-told and poignant story.
I spent precious book tokens on Alison Light’s beautiful "Common People" and was very moved by her father’s recollections of her alcoholic grandfather. He knew he wasn’t welcome to come in when he was in his cups, and handed over sweeties on the doorstep instead. “Memories become epitaphs” stuck with me, as well as her analogy of family history as waves, sometimes bringing in treasures with the tide, and taking others forever out of reach.
Hancox by Charlotte Moore was rambly and absorbing, just like the house that it was written about, and full of those open secrets that all families ignore. It seemed to be a place where every cupboard or attic space was stuffed with correspondence. Kudos to her for organisational skills let alone narrative ones.
I love a list. Which books would inspire you to write?
Not so much a journey of discovery, more of a commute of compulsion
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