Someone asked me what my top ten books were recently.
I know, it's a click-bait list article thing, and I can't really rank the books that I like easily. However, I think I can give you ten books that have stayed with me for "some reason" and briefly explain why. I can't promise any order to the list, any rhyme or reason to the inclusion of books or any great themes that I shall be exploring. Equally, there will be books that are missing simply by dint of me having read them too recently for them to have stayed with me yet, like How to be a Woman by Caitlin Moran and Kazuo Ishiguro's Remains of the Day, which are both brilliant books in their own rights and will no doubt make me think for a long while yet but, having only been read in the last few weeks, can't really qualify for the list.
Then there's the influential books that shaped who I am today: Bernard Cornwell's Sharpe series, Tom Clancy's books, Colin Dann's Animals of Farthing Wood series or pretty much anything by John Wyndham (his short story Consider Her Ways was very much part of making me who I am, as was The Trouble with Lichen and, of course, Chocky). Obviously not all of those can make a list of ten books that have stayed with me, so the list will be culled and will be pretty random. Without any further ado then, the list continues after the line break. But only the first 7, top three will have to wait for another day.
Also, if you haven't read it, do so. If you haven't read anything by Terry Pratchett then I recommend beginning with Guards! Guards! if only because that's the first one I read.
Goodness, I am queen of the run-on sentence!
I finished it when I was visiting Auschwitz with a school trip. It was surreal and also strangely fitting to be thinking about identity when reading a book that tackled that and the link to landscape. How much of a product we are of where we live and how we relate to that landscape. Set in Pre-Conquest and post-Conquest angland it was a story about the end of the world. It was a story as much about the language (itself made-up to mimic eald anglisc enough to look like it but remain legible) as it was about the people. Although, as a classic novel, it is a bit simplistic and the ending is a bit of a cop out, it was a book that brought an atmosphere that cannot be denied. An atmosphere of mist and legend. And something one immerses in like a fragrant bath with scents and candles and petals on the water. Somewhere downstairs there's the smell of a wonderful meal and the promise of something excellent for dessert over the dining room table. That's the feeling of this book. Let's face it, anything that can make room for itself during the assault on one's sensibilities that is a visit to Auschwitz is going to stay with you. I'll let Mr Kingsnorth himself take up the task of making you buy this.