Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Your Favourite Books

After spitting out the dummy and throwing the toys from the pram after it yesterday my prep has been going well and the fear has dwindled. My Sol Stein notetaking should be finished today - I'm planning to read over the notes before I tackle each story as a refresher - which means I'll be reading through my first draft tomorrow.

And with this comes Phase Two of my (hopefully) cunning plan - reading. And not just cereal packets and billboards either. Novels that I cannot only learn and find inspiration from, but also enjoy. A tall order these days for some reason.

So I'm hoping you can help by commenting or emailing your favourite:

  1. Book of all time; and/or
  2. Book published recently, perhaps in the last five years.
I came up with point 2 because I reckon some of you have a classic as a favourite novel like me, therefore missing out any more modern works that you also enjoyed.

A disclaimer: I'm primarily looking for books that you love and enjoyed reading, not books that are technically well-written. In other words I'd like some recommendations from friends. Recommendations from critics are a different kettle of fish altogether.

Your imput can really help me kick start my love of reading again - so please don't be shy!


SpiralSkies said...

1. Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys - not a 'classic' classic but it does necessitate you reading Jane Eyre first...

2. Something Beginning With by Sarah Salway. I think you'd really like this actually.

(And I know you're in the throes of Sol Stein, which I'll be trawling too soon. but, for a different take on a similar theme, I heartily recommend Reading Like a Writer by Francine Prose. Less textbook-y than Stein; more like having a tutor lead you by the hand through example. Oh yes, I love it.)

Yvonne said...

Hi Jen, I read Wide Sargasso Sea when I was a student and loved it, so I'm definitely going to read Something Beginning With. And thanks for the Reading Like a Writer recommendation, I need all the help I can get!

JJ said...

Recent books I've enjoyed are A Spot of Bother by Mark Haddon and The Woman on the Bus by Pauline McLynn.

Going to a book club renewed my love of reading, because I had to read books I hadn't chosen. I loved Anita Diamant's The Red Tent from book club.


Yvonne said...

JJ, thank you! I've added those books to my wish list. A book club is a great idea, will look into some in my area.

laurie said...

i can never say what my favorites are because there are too many and they're all so different and i like them for different reasons.

so i'll just give you a random mixed up list

the great gatsby by f. scott fitzgerald

dinner at the homesick restaurant by anne tyler

the spirit catches you and you fall down by anne fadiman (non-fiction)

the blind assassin by margaret atwood

jen said...

It changes all the time but here are a couple...

We Need To Talk About Kevin - Lionel Shriver

Underground - Haruki Murakami

Just finished On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan, which was pretty good. And any of Ian Rankin's books are fab for a curl-up with a cup of tea. Of course, as soon as I've posted this, I'll think of something else...

Yvonne said...

Laurie, The Great Gatsby is one of my favourite books and Margaret Atwood is one of my favourite authors, so good choice! ;) I haven't read the other two books you listed so thanks, I've added them to my list.

Jen, I love We Need to Talk About Kevin and what I've read of Haruki Murakami I've really enjoyed, have not read Underground yet though so that's on my list. Will add On Chesil Beach too. Would you believe that I've never read an Ian Rankin book?! Terrible, will have to remedy that so...

Alix said...

Oh where to start!
1) The Pursuit of Love/Love on a cold climate - Nancy Mitford
Hideous Kinky - Ester Freud
Cold Comfort farm - Stella Gibson
2) The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox - Maggie O'Farrell
Case Histories - Kate Atkinson
Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
Have you heard about goodreads? ? It's a really great book sharing/review kind of site you'll find lots of recommendations there and they have online book groups if you can't find one near you.
Good Luck with the editing today.

Beccy said...

I recently read Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen which I loved and A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini.

My favourite oldie would have to be Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger which I'm sure you've read.

Yvonne said...

Alix, brilliant, I've only read two of those. Will add them to the list, thank you!

Beccy, haven't read those books (apart from Catcher in the Rye, fantastic choice!) thanks a million.

SpiralSkies said...

Crumbs this is so brilliant - like you, I'm planning to do loads of reading. Am scribbling and adding all these suggestions to my Amazon wishlist.

Friends' recommendations are so much better than the critics, you're right.

(I've never read Ian Rankin either. To be rectified soon.)

Yvonne said...

Jen, I am planning to visit my local bookshop tomorrow, list in hand like a schoolkid with the new term's reading list!

(...but a lot happier like.)

Helen said...

Maggie O' Farrell after you'd gone and Sarah Waters The Night Watch both beautifully constructed.

Random Reflections said...

Hmm... I've read a few books of late I have really liked. Two that spring to mind are:

- The End of the Affair by Graham Greene

- The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham. I didn't think I would like this book at all, but thought it was excellent when I read it.

My favourite book is probably A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute.

None of those books fall into your "in the last 5 years category" as they are all probably from the 1950s.

I'm trying to really broaden my reading and am enjoying it lots so far. I do plan to write them all up by creating a new blog in the not too distant future. I feel that if I am going to all this effort, I'd like to try and remember what I've read!

Yvonne said...

Helen, thank you. I'm looking forward to reading your recommendations.

Random Reflections, I read Day of the Triffids and I remember liking it, especially the very fifties language and reactions to the sci-fi threat. Very original. I will definitely have a look at the other two novels as I haven't read them.

Anonymous said...

Since starting to study again a few years back, I have not been a great reader of novels, sorry. If I think of any, I will let you know, though.

There is an award for you waiting at mine.

Yvonne said...

Hullaballoo, thank you so much for the award! You are so sweet to think of me!

CTaylor said...

Favourite book of all time is:

Brave New World - by Aldous Huxley

Favourite book of the last 5 years is:

After You'd Gone - by Maggie O'Farrell

Yvonne said...

Cally, Brave New World - definitely one of my favourite books. And that's the second vote for After You've Gone, I'l definitely have to read it now!

jen said...

Me again. Thought of a few more...

- Neuromancer by 'father of the internet' William Gibson. Read it years ago, so no idea if all the tech stuff has dated badly or not, but it was enjoyable at the time.

- Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver - her year of living as a locavore.

- Table Talk by AA Gill - all his razor-sharp restaurant criticism in one volume.

-Ann said...

My classic has got to be "The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I also really liked "Of Mice and Men" by John Steinbeck.

I'm reading "Moby Dick" right now - it's great, but really slow going. The language is very thick and archic and my brain is fat and lazy. :)

Recent favourites....I love Laura Lippman and would highly recommend "Every Secret Thing" and "What the Dead Know." Ian Rankin is my favourite writer of all time and I think his recent best was "The Naming of the Dead."

I mostly read crime fiction and chick lit but made some forays into more contemporary literature last year. Absolutely loved "On Chesil Beach" by Ian McEwan and "The Road" by Cormac McCarthy (although that one was REALLY grim).

econgirl said...

Richard Yates' Revolution Road: Miserable, Depressing, Claustrophobic, Effortlessly written, Urban paranoia, Paragraphs you have to keep rereading, occasionally darkly funny, Why life sucks. A-mazing.

Yvonne said...

Econgirl, thanks for the tip, will definitely look out for Revolution Road - sounds like my kind of book!