Best Books of 2012: 12 of 12

Here is the twelfth and last of my own best reads of 2012 and as soon as I have posted this I am off for lunch at Boodles, the second oldest gentlemen’s club in the world they say. I am invited there to discuss a book that needs writing, starting in 2014. Plan ahead!

My final book of last year is from the past, so far back that it seems like another world. It’s by the author of the famous play Journey’s End for which its author is best known. The Hopkins Manuscript by R C Sherriff, published in 1939, is an apocalyptic but very witty novel, somewhat after the style of H G Wells, but seemingly narrated by someone as innocent and naïve as the Mr Pooter in Diary of a Nobody. The end of the world is forecast when scientists realise that the moon is slowly but surely falling out of its orbit and will collide with the earth but seek to keep it a secret for fear of creating alarm and despondency. [In those days, secrets were kept if the Establishment did not want the news to spread: think about the King and Mrs Wallis Simpson.] The story, however, seems to come from millennia into the future. Mr Hopkins’s manuscript has come, according to the spoof foreword from ‘the Imperial Research Press, Addis Ababa’, and is sadly all that survives from that distant, prehistoric period when, apparently, life and civilisation flourished in what is now a barbaric and desolate Europe. After all that I have been reading recently about forgeries and fakes, it is not surprising to be reminded just how easily uncorroborated accounts of earlier events can become accepted as the Ur-text. The book is very good fun to read and I’m very glad to have stumbled over it, thought not in Addis Ababa. You will need to get this from second-hand booksellers. Verdict 6 out of 10

This was the final blog about books read in 2012. Happy reading!

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