Monday, June 28, 2004

Best Book Ever? I'll answer my own question, shall I?!

After Billy's marvellously lengthy answer to my question about what his favourite book was, perhaps I should attempt to answer it for myself...

When I was a child, I used to love reading Enid Blyton. Not the Famous Five so much, but the Secret Seven. I think it was the "in-club" mentality that appeared to me, and also the adventurous side of life. I can still remember the realisation at around the age of 8 that life was indeed not the big af=dventure portrayed in Ms Blyton's books, and it never would be. That was a shocking realisation for an 8yr old. Maybe we should blame Ms Blyton for giving children false hope for how exciting their life should be... but then that wouldn't make for a very good story now would it?!

Like Billy, I'd have to include High Fidelity in my top few favourites... there are so many things I can relate to - the lists, the organising and re-organising of your CD collection, the general obsession with music... a very funny, readable and enjoyable book.

On a completely different note, I also really loved A Suitable Boy. At almost 1500 pages long and said to be the longest written work in the English language, it's not exactly handbag-friendly, but I really couldn't put this book down. It's a fascinating tale of a million and one characters, all interesting and unique, arranged marriage, religious feuds, and also a potted history of the relationship between India and Pakistan. A truly beautiful book, one which I must read again soon (time permitting!). If you haven't read this, you simply must.

My all-time favourite book is a bit of a "compilation" - it's A Capote Reader, a collection of works by Truman Capote. This book has everything you could wish for and more - short stories, travel writing, novellas (including Breakfast at Tiffany's), and written portraits of famous people the author was friends with at the time (like Marilyn Monroe). I just love the way he writes, and the characters he writes about. Magical. I still have yet to read "In Cold Blood", his journalistic book about the true story of a murder, but it's sitting on my bookshelf in anticipation!

Books I haven't enjoyed (or indeed finished) include Lord of the Rings (read about a third of it, but then I just felt it was getting pointless... needless to say I haven't indulged in any of the film offerings), and Captain Correlli's Mandolin (read over half, but just couldn't get away with it, and again I never watched the film for that reason).

Books I own which I feel that I should read sometime in my lifetime: James Joyce's Ulysses (tried to read it once, but life got in the way, and I wasn't able to give it my undivided attention, which I think it deserves), Kafka's The Trial, and The Satanic Verses (if only to see what all the fuss was about), and a Hitch-hiker's Guide to the Galaxy (I hate science fiction, but people always say this is more of a comic novel than a sci-fi book).


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