Choosing ten favourite books is almost impossible. I love books and must have read thousands. A while ago I started to realise that some of my favourite books I had not read for forty years. So I went back and reread them. Sadly a number of them did not stand up to the scrutiny.
This list will change daily but it is fun to do (They are not in any particular order):
a. On the Road – Jack Kerouac
It is a book of its time but I love reading it. The flow of the words as they tumble along in that stream of consciousness. I am aware of the sexist irresponsibility of the beast but it is so full of life. It was the first book that dared to say there was an alternative to the machine of the establishment. I love its vitality and daring.
b. One Flew over the Cuckoo’s nest – Ken Kesey
The film was good but, as is often the case, the book is so much better. In the book Murphy is a side character. The action takes place in Chief Broom’s head. It is a book about freedom.
c. The Magus – John Fowles
I adored this book. It played with your head so that you did not know what to believe. It was so well written that it drew you in. The trouble is that you cannot reread it once you know what happens and I was a bit disappointed with the ending.
d. Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
This was an Indian Sci-Fi book for me. It was so funny, textured and fast moving. I’ve just realised that I want to reread it again.
e. The Tin Drum – Gunter Grass
I often have two books on the go and I read this one at the same time as the Rushdie. They both had a similar feel for me. I loved the humour, Sci-Fi element and pace. I also loved the message in it.
f. Norwegian Wood – Haruki Murakami
All Murakami’s books have a surreal quality to them. They feel other-wordly. I lose myself in them. It was a toss up between this one and most of the others. IQ84 is probably just as good.
g. Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
The story of the dust bowl refugees so strongly put you could feel the injustice and persecution. I used to prefer East of Eden as a story but having reread that I’m back to this one as his best.
h. Whit – Iain Banks
I loved all Iain Bank’s books and especially his culture series. The Wasp Factory was exceptional but Whit blew me away.
I. 1984 – George Orwell
I used to prefer Keep the Asphidistra Flying but I’ve come back to this one. It is still chilling. Our society is controlling. Big Brother really does live.
j. Lady Chatterley’s Lover – D. H. Lawrence
Women in Love, The Rainbow and Son’s and Lovers all do it for me but I think Lady Chatterly’s was the one that captured his philosophy.
k. The Tropic of Capricorn – Henry Miller
He started modern writing for me. The bohemian dream in New York and Paris. This book encapsulated it.
l. Journey Beyond Tomorrow – Robert Sheckley
Sci-Fi is one of my passions. I don’t like Fantasy but something that makes you think. Sc-Fi, when it’s good, is about the possible.
m. For Whom the Bell Tolls – Ernest Hemingway
A story of love and betrayal in the hopeless morass of the Spanish civil war. The fight against fascism undermined by intrigue. A great book.
n. 2001 A Space Odyssey – Arthur C Clarke
I could put a whole lot of Sci-Fi in here but Arthur really painted a picture here and the film, for once, captured it.
o. A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess
How the imagination runs riot. A great book.
p. A Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
A horrifying story of how religious fanaticism can destroy people. I think I preferred Oryx and Crake as a story but this really told a chilling story.
q. The Book of Dave – Will Self
Will Self surpassed himself on this one. I loved the apocalyptic story.
r. The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro
The way he captured the time and feel of society in Britain back in the 1930s was spectacular. The aristocracy looking to appease Hitler – brilliant.
Well that must be ten by now (and I’ve just got in my stride). I’ll have a think. There’s some I know I’ve missed out of my top ten that definitely should be there!