Saturday, 16 May 2009

Favourite reads

Someone sent me this on Facebook (ruinous networking site that writers of old didn't have to contend with): This can be a quick one. Don't take too long to think about it. Fifteen books you've read that will always stick with you. The purpose being not to populate your list with pretentious literary heavyweights; you know, the ones you are supposed to have read.

Here are mine...

1. The Outsider - Albert Camus
2. The World According to Garp - John Irving
3. Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
4. Cheating at Canasta - William Trevor
5. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close - Jonathan Safran Foer
6. The Blind Assassin - Magaret Atwood
7. Life of Pi - Yann Martel
8. Julius Winsome - Gerard Donovan
9. An Equal Music - Vikram Seth
10. The Time Traveler's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
11. The Diceman - Luke Rhinehart
12. The Trial - Franz Kafka
13. The Wasp Factory - Ian Banks
14. 1984 - George Orwell
15. Vernon God Little - DBC Pierre

Come on, play along...(And, yes, I know one is a collection, but it had to go in.)


Barb said...

This was harder than I thought it would be! You almost want to write why, but how could you possibly explain?

1. Fantastic Voyage II: Destination Brain by Isaac Asimov
2. Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde - Robert Louis Stevenson
3. The Leopard Hunts in Darkness - Wilbur Smith
4. The First Man in Rome - Colleen Mccullough
5. Carrie - Stephen King
6. Sun on the Stubble - Colin Thiele
7. The Chant of Jimmy Blacksmith - Thomas Keneally
8. Lord John and the Private Matter - Diana Gabaldon
9. Sweet Dove Died - Barbara Pym
10. Pillars of the Earth - Ken Follett
11. Miss Smilla's Feeling for Snow - Peter Hoeg
12. Cloudstreet by Tim Winton
13. The Tax Inspector - Peter Carey
14. StarMan - Sara Douglass
15. The Alchemist's Key - Traci Harding

TOM J VOWLER said...

Thanks, Barb. It is harder than you think, yep. And hard to resist listing Russian classics you've read but not enjoyed! I'm ashamed at the gender inequality in mine, but I'll blame sexist book-recommending friends!

Billy said...

You're right, it's not easy, but, for better or worse, here's my list (and I am including one genuine Russian classic, that I did enjoy):

1. The Complete Short Stories - Ernest Hemingway
2. The Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
3. A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving
4. The Things They Carried - Tim O'Brien
5. Breathing Lessons - Anne Tyler
6. The Spy Who Came In From The Cold - John Le Carre
7. The Godfather - Mario Puzo
8. Salem's Lot - Stephen King
9. The Master and Margarita - Mikhail Bulgakov
10. Something Wicked This Way Comes - Ray Bradbury
11. Underworld - Don DeLillo
12. The Early Stories - John Updike
13. Lonesome Dove - Larry McMurtry
14. Island - Alistair MacLeod
15. after the quake - Haruki Murakami

TOM J VOWLER said...

Thanks, Billy. Some great tomes there.

Vanessa Gebbie said...

Well, there would have to be books I loved when I was a teenager, maybe younger, in my list...and it really made me think hard. The things that stay with you arent always the most 'cool' are they?!

1. The Outsider - Camus
2. The Don Camillo Stories by Giovanni Guareschi
3. Austerlitz by W G Sebald
4. The Gormenghast Trilogy by Mervyn Peake
5. The Bible
6. The Collected Works of Shakespeare
7. The Shipping News by Annie Proulx
8. The Rattle Bag Collected Poems
9. Under Milk Wood by Dylan Thomas
10. The Lord of the Rings by Tolkein
11. Quarantine by Jim Crace
12. Northern Lights by Philip Pullman
13 Roget’s Thesaurus
14 The Best American Short Stories of the Century, ed John Updike
15 They called it Passchendaele by Lyn MacDonald

TOM J VOWLER said...

Thank, V. Being a nosy so and so, I love seeing others' lists. I loved the film of The Shipping News; wish I'd read it first.

What it is about L'Etranger that gets under your skin? A character, indifferent to his mother's death, unengaged with any aspect of the world, remorseless, unsympathetic to people's suffering...Imagine pitching that book now?

Vanessa Gebbie said...

Sorry Tom, just seen this.

I felt huge empathy with the guy. here was someone who didnt fit in, who was just being himself. And who was condemned for not exhibiting socially acceptable behaviour.
I think it was a brilliant book for teenagers. Hit the zeitgeist big time.

Si said...

Yes, one's a play, yes, another's a children's book, and yes, they're all a lot more mainstream than the rest of you, but for what it's worth, here's mine...

1: If This is a Man – Primo Levi
2: It – Stephen King
3: Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
4: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon
5: Intimacy – Hanif Kureishi
6: High Fidelity – Nick Hornby
7: Trainspotting – Irvine Welsh
8: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof – Tennessee Williams
9: Lucky Jim – Kingsley Amis
10: The Time Traveller’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
11: The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas
12: Only Forward – Michael Marshall Smith
13: My Sister’s Keeper – Jodi Picoult
14: Enduring Love – Ian McEwan
15: The BFG – Roald Dahl

TOM J VOWLER said...

Thanks, Si. I love your list, esp 4, 9...and 14, which almost made it onto mine, but I suffer from McEwan apathy, an affliction that doesn't allow me to forgive him for the mediocre novels enough to love the good ones.

Alison said...

I don't think I have read enough books to do this! But my number one continues to be the best by far...

1. Shikasta – Doris Lessing
2. The Lord of the Rings trilogy - Tolkien
3. News from Nowhere – William Morris
4. The Book Thief – Marcus Zusack
5. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night – Mark Haddon
6. After You’ve Gone – Maggie O’Farrell
7. The Fifth Child – Doris Lessing
8. 1984 – George Orwell
9. The Time Traveller’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
10. The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox – Maggie O’Farrell
11. How I live Now – Meg Rostoff
12. Mort – Terry Pratchett
13. The Golden Notebook – Doris Lessing
14. Wee Free Men – Terry Pratchett
15. awaiting completion ;)


Jack Harris said...

I found this extremely difficult and couldn't bring myself to strike out some epic works.So having been reading for at least twice as long as you Tom, I'm going for a list of 30 but to play nearer to the rules I've treated myself to 15 European works and 15 from the Americas.



1.Grapes of Wrath-John Steinbeck
2.Ragtime -E.L.Doctorow
3.My Life as a Man-Philip Roth
4.Underworld-Don DeLillo
5.The Road-Cormac McCarthy
6.Lay of the Land-Richard Ford
7.Tropic of Capricorn-Henry Miller
8.Blind Assassin-Margaret Atwood
9.Love in the Time of Cholera-Gabriel Garcia Marquez
10.Rabbit at Rest-John Updike
11.Slaughterhouse 5-Kurt Vonnegut
12.The Assistant-Bernard Malamud
13.Beloved-Toni Morrison
14.Giovanni's Room-James Baldwin
15.Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance-Robert Pirsig


1.The Tin Drum-Gunter Grass
3.The Unconsoled-Kazuo Ishiguro
4.If This is a Man-Primo Levi
5.Germinal-Emile Zola
6.The Sea-John Banville
7.Your Face Tomorrow-Javier Marias
8.A Prospect of the Sea-Dylan Thomas
9.Lanark-Alasdair Gray
10.Midnight's Children-Salman Rushdie
11.Life and Fate-Vasily Grossman
12.Two Lives-William Trevor
13.Ada-Vladimir Nabokov
14.Jude the Obscure-Thomas Hardy
15.The Fall-Albert Camus.

What! no Becket, Proust, Dostoyevsky, Greene or Joyce.Only two women and one proper Englishman.Get out of here.

TOM J VOWLER said...

Thanks, Jack. Funny how Midnight's Children divides folk!

Have you read Faulks' Engleby? Might be your cuppa. I loved it.