On Facebook, everyone has these lists. And they’re all “Paradise Lost”, “Catch 22”, “The New York Trilogy”. Impressive, grown-up fiction. But you know what? I don’t care. I’m pretty sure everyone’s lying anyway, but if they aren’t, their taste in literature is terribly boring. If ya’ll think The Illiad is the epitome of a good time, well, you enjoy that.
Anyway, here is my very immature and very truthful list of my 10 most favouritest books.
(Well, more the most influential ones. But I wanted to say “most favouritest”)
Bartimaeus Trilogy, Jonathon Stroud.
I wish I could be a fraction as funny as Stroud in The Amulet of Samarkand. But I also admire the series for taking some massive (and devastating) narrative risks. Wish I could tell you, but, like, spoilers. When I grow up, I want to be like Stroud. That is all.
Harry Potter, J K Rowling.
It was inevitable.
To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee.
Partly because I played Scout in the annual school play when I was in Grade 9. It was a really big deal for me.
The Power of One, Bryce Courtenay.
Strangely enough, a book about boxing provided me with the framework for my religious beliefs. After years of angst in an assembly-every-morning Christian school, I picked up this book. For some reason, what Courtenay wrote resonated with my feelings and gave me a sense of peace.
The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray, Chris Wooding
Because “even monsters want to live”. Which blew my twelve-year-old mind. And, to a certain extent, still continues to do so. Also, because it scared the crap out of me.
The Wish List, Eoin Colfer
I’m not sure why, but I read this book at least ten times when I was between the ages of nine and thirteen. It was funny, it was sad, it was sweet. And it was unusual. So yes. I just picked it up every time I ran out of other books to read.
Beloved, Toni Morrison.
For crushing me.
The House of Leaves, Mark Danielewski
I could not stop reading it. Hands-down the most terrifying thing I have ever read, but also unbelievable as a literary experiment. There is nothing else like it. Nor, indeed, like its fanbase.
The Coldfire Trilogy, Celia Friedman
Well, it’s nothing if not dark. The protagonist vivisects his wife and kids in the first chapter. For purely selfish reasons.
And yet, somehow, he still ends up being at least a partially sympathetic and likable character. The ending of the series was stupid (don’t kill someone and then not kill them, grrr), but I still think it’s quite a feat to have a monster that captivating as a protagonist. Also, good feminist author. Bonus points.
Titus Groan, Mervin Peake
It’s a bit of a toss-up with Tolkien, but I think Peake produced the most gorgeous writing I have ever read. It is incomprehensible to me that, in a book of four hundred pages of miniscule words (which is only part one of a trilogy), Peake has the power to floor me by the beauty of a metaphor every ten sentences or so.