Friday, 2 September 2011
Top 5 Friday ... Books
I have been wanting to do a 'Top 5' series in the style of High Fidelity for a while. But, it's only this week that I have finally been able to actually get up-to-date with my reviews as well as all the other events that seem to have happened in the last couple of months.
Anyway, I am here now and I thought I would start off with one of my favourite things to do, i.e reading, and give you my 'Top 5' books.
Contrary to what you might think I don't actually read 'only' romance, I love a lot books in most genres. Give me a book over the television any day!
Where possible the cover images are those I first read as most of these books have had many re-prints and re-issues with different covers.
Message from Nam - Danielle Steel
Yes, I know that it is dreadfully uncool to like Danielle Steel books and apart from this one I don't think I have read any of her others. But this one has been with me for a long time, it was a book my mum ordered in to our local bookshop (no Amazon or Waterstones back then!) especially for me, after we had watched the TV Movie adaptation during the summer holidays one year, which by the way is quite crap but my young self enjoyed it. It was the book that started it all... and by "all" I mean two things.
Firstly, this book started my love of romance books, without reading it then I wouldn't love all things romance now. This book along with Barbara Taylor Bradford's A Woman of Substance were my introduction into 'women's fiction' in general.
Secondly, this book started what can only be described as an OBSESSION with all things to do with the Vietnam War. After reading this I went on to devour any non fiction book, TV show, or Movie about Vietnam I could find, I was fascinated about it. Even to this day I continue my obsession, the Wikipedia page about it is one of my most frequented webpages. If you want a Vietnam War movie recommendation, I'm your girl...!
I still have my original copy on my bookshelf, it has been read many times over the year and survived many, many house moves!
It may be uncool, but I love this book.
Bridget Jones's Diary - Helen Fielding
I am too young to remember the original Bridget Jones's Diary column that ran in The Independent and even the original release of this book. But I promise you this, I read it BEFORE it was made into a movie. I don't mind the movie by the way, apart from the fact that Bridget really should have been portrayed by an English actress and it was 'dumbed down' a little (my opinion btw, don't stone me!), the book is waaaayyyy better.
I remember when I read this, it was the summer I turned 15 (1999) and the 2nd book had just come out and there were whisperings about a movie and my friend leant me her copy telling me I 'had' to read it. So I did, and I loved it, and I continue to love it to this day. I have read it maybe 3 or 4 times and it never gets old or less humourous. What I love most about it is its innate 'Britishness' and the dry humour that goes arm in arm with it.
Nineteen Eighty-Four - George Orwell
When I became a teenager, I found myself turning very liberal, much to my parents disgust. Suddenly I became aware of political aspects that I did not like, which I had not given a hoot about before. And on one of my many stints in devouring anything on a particular subject that I could get my hands on, I came across the idea of dystopian futures and found this book.
It's a terrifying yet utterly fascinating book, that has had a huge effect on the English language. Although I don't think I can really forgive it for giving us reality TV, groan!
I loved this book, it impacted on me hugely, I actually did a whole design project based on themes from this book in my first year at university, and it continues to do so. When I first met my husband I convinced him to read it and it has become one of his favourites as well.
Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
I know this is only a novella but I'm still keeping it in there.
I didn't read this book through choice, it was actually a set book in my curriculum for English Literature in high school. But literally from the first page I was hooked, I remember the first day we were given our copies in class and our homework was to read 2 pages or something silly like that, instead I read the whole thing that night as I could not put it down. And I remember being frustrated in classes when we would have to read sections as a class so that everyone finished it, and hanging back to talk to my teacher about it and it's themes!
And yes, I admit I cried. It's a beautifully told story, which doesn't sugarcoat it's themes of loneliness or circumstance.
The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
Sorry for the crappy image, this was the best one I could find of the version I read.
This is again a book that I didn't read through choice, but boy am I glad I did! This was a set book for my English Literature A Level, and I loved it straight away.
I was also pleased that it fitted in with my interest in dystiopia, just like Nineteen Eighty-Four!
While I admit to not really being a feminist, some of the feminist themes in this book have really stayed with me. I really love all the social critques it includes and I think it is an absorbing and quite scary book. I have probably read this book about 5 times, and always find new layers to it.
Although please don't watch the film, it's awful, and so unlike the book.
What are your 'Top 5' books?