Following on from my last post, I've been doing some thinking. Joc asked me if I could say what my top three were from the 1001 list this year, so I've been trying to decide. Trying to narrow down 100 books to three isn't an easy task at the best of times but these books are so different that it's been pretty much impossible. I don't think I can say that there are a definitive three favourites out of this year's reads.
What I can do is list a few that stood out for various reasons and hope that will suffice.
Watchmen – Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons – This was the first graphic novel that I'd read for years and I loved it. The artwork was amazing and added so much to the storyline. It was a bookring but one of the few books that I was reluctant to pass on. I think I may need to get a copy of my own as it was such a beautiful book to just flick through and admire.
The Child in Time – Ian McEwan - I read several books by Ian McEwan over the year and have just picked one at random as I loved them all. I only started reading his books because of the 1001 list, which is obviously a serious oversight on my part. As he would have a place on my favourite authors list I felt he should have a book on this list.
The old man and the sea - Ernest Hemingway - This was the first Hemingway I'd read and I really loved it. I will definitely be seeking out the rest of his on the list and then anything else I can find.
Vernon God Little – DBC Pierre - Another bookring, and a book I'd been meaning to read for ages. It was absolutely brilliant. I'd recommend it to anyone. Well deserved of its place on the list.
Life of Pi – Yann Martel – If I had to pick that top three I'd really want to put this one in it, it was that good. The problem is, I'd need a five way tie for number three…
Broken April – Ismail Kadare – Possibly my favourite 1001 book of the year? It's so difficult to say, but I was very taken with this one. I loved the snapshot of the Albanian culture, and the way the story was told. I think I've probably talked more about this book than any of the others.
Half of a yellow sun – Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche – This was excellent. It had just the right mix of fact combined in with the fiction. Education mixed in with the entertainment. Brilliant writing.
The Midwich cuckoos & Day of the Triffids – John Wyndham - Classic sci-fi. So much better than any TV or film adaptation.
Morvern Callar – Alan Warner – This was so different, and completely mad. I just loved it.
The Swarm - Frank Schatzing – This was huge Sci-fi novel but was completely engrossing from start to finish.The storyline was massive but never out of control. A brilliant book.
Two other books that particularly stood out in the Sci-fi genre were these.
War with the newts – Karel Capek
We – Eugene Zamiatin
There has been quite a bit of crime/detective which is a genre I like reading. I've really enjoyed the books that fell into the Crime Noir category which is not something I've read before. I'll be looking out for more of that. I also want to read more of the Ripley books as I loved that one. The ones listed below were stand-outs.
The postman always rings twice – James M. Cain
The long good-bye – Raymond Chandler
Red harvest – Dashiell Hammett
The talented Mr Ripley – Patricia Highsmith
The lost honor of Katharina Blum – Heinrich Boll
They shoot horses don't they? – Horace McCoy
And, there are just a few others that I have to mention.
The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald – I don't know why, but I just liked this one.
The Monk – Matthew Lewis – deliciously dark and gothic
Catch 22 – Joseph Heller – Alternately tragic and funny.
The Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck – Brilliant and heartbreaking.
One flew over the cuckoo's nest – Ken Kesey – This was superb, especially as I could 'see' Jack Nicholson while I was reading it.
Choke – Chuck Palahniuk - my first Palahniuk and I loved it. Must find more of his!
So there you go and I'm sorry I'm nowhere near narrowing it down to three, but you see my dilemma. I've read so many books that were not only very, very good, but also very, very different.
I can't wait to see which books are waiting for me in 2010.