I’m delighted to say that I’ve been nominated by the Other Watson at Wanton Creation for the Booker Award, which is specific to literary and otherwise bookish blogs. If you don’t already follow Wanton Creation, I’d highly recommend that you start doing so – his posts are varied, lively, and always entertaining.
The rules for this one go as follows:
1. Nominate other blogs, as many as you want but 5-10 is always a good suggestion
2. Post the Booker Award picture.
3. Best of all, share your top 5 books of all time.
I can’t tell you how difficult it is to choose just five favourite books, but I’m going to suggest a few which I thought were quite brilliant or original the first time I read them, and which I have to returned to time and time again.
This is a book with one of the most original structures I’ve ever read – and Sarah Waters excels at those anyway. In this case, we are told a story by many different characters in London during and after the Blitz, all of whom it turns out, have complex interactions with one another. Fascinatingly, it tells the story in reverse chronological order: so that people’s motivations become clearer as you read on, and find out what happened in their pasts. The book manages to evoke the zeitgeist of the time, without labouring over it. There are both lesbian scenes and one of self harm, so not for everyone I guess, but they are portrayed with great sensitivity and respect.
I’ve been reading these two books (combined into one novel sized book in the edition I have) since I was a child, and I keep returning to them. They are fairytales of a sort, but Thurber has such fun playing with language that at times it reads more like poetry than prose. ‘The Thirteen Clocks’ is a quest story, with Prince Zorn of Zorna seeking to find jewels to win the Princess Saralindas hand; while ‘the Wonderful ‘O” is about what happens when military law goes mad, and takes against a particular vowel. So that ‘What’s mist is not always moist’, becomes ‘What’s mist is nt always mist’, hero becomes her, and Ophelia Oliver disappears from the haunts of men.
The Gollux, the only gollux in the world, in his indescribable hat, is surely one of the most charming and memorable fairytale figures.
I had trouble picking which of John Wyndham’s novels to include here. He is, to me, a wonderful example of how it is possible to tell a complex science fiction story simply, in plain English. Deceptively simple, and yet wonderfully imaginative sci-fi of the 50s.
The Day of the Triffids has been converted into several films, with varying degrees of success, but none can copare in my eyes to the book itself, and it’s nightmarish vision of genetically modified killer plants.
This was my favourite book for a long time, although perhaps rather less so since I read it’s sequel (which was pretty disgusting in parts), and Frankie and Stankie by the same author, which tells almost the same story, but set in South Africa. However, this novel is really charmingly gossipy, with moments which will make you cry, and a great dose of wit.
I’m reading a Philip K Dick at the moment, but it’s one of his novels when he reached that stage of his life of being rather crazily paranoid. I thoroughly enjoyed this anthology of his short stories, which show off the tremendous range and depth of the author’s imagination, which is pretty hard to match.
So, to suggest a few people for this award, partly because I thoroughly enjoy reading their blogs, and also because I’m very interested to see what their 5 favourite books are. May I recommend:
Indie Writing Blog – bravely tackling the world of Indie publishing
Chompasaurus Reviews – Annie both reviews books, and has interviews with authors
The Writing Blues – A personal journey through the world of writing and books
Science Fiction and Other Suspect Ruminations – a very knowledgable view on retro sci-fi. Always love the cover art!
Sabrina Garie – a writer and reader who comes up with some very thought provoking ideas.