Friday, February 17, 2012

My Top "10" Favourite Books of All Time

So, since you guys are all waiting patiently for my next review (which I promise is on its way- it is a series and there is a LOT to write about it), I decided to just make a mini-post. I know, I know, the oh-so-cliche "Top 10" list. Oh well.

I'm going to write this in basic list form I guess. So, I'm not going to really go into much detail for each book. I might just put a few thoughts about each one down, but each and every book on this list will someday have its own review, so I just want to keep this very simple.

So, let's get to it. My "Top 10 Favourite Books of All Time", and yes I did top favourite, because "Best Books of All Time" is pretty subjective and I think pretty much comes down to the same thing. Oh, and I have 11 plus a couple of authors that I wanted to mention). Also, remember these are my favourite books "of all time", so the age demographics will vary. So, some of them will be books I read when I was younger, but still love to read just as much today. And I tried to keep it pretty pure in terms of the criteria that the books could fall into. So, no childrens' books (though tween and teen are ok), no "did-you-know" books, no manga, no annuals, no guide books, etc, etc. Anyway, here is my list (in no particular order);

1. A Gathering Light by Jennifer Donnelly    


2. Hunted by N.M. Browne

A book I have loved since I was much younger. It still holds its charms for me.

3. Cupid and Psyche "by" Apuleius    

Now, I'm not sure if this should count, but I really love the story and I just couldn't help myself. I don't know why this particular myth stands out more than any other to me, but it's just very "pure" almost. And you wouldn't think it would be, what with everything that goes on in this short little fable, but somehow it's very innocent. Maybe it's just my romantic side coming out for the "true love conquers all" morale, but there are plenty of those and most of them don't make even half of the impression this one did for me.

4. Fire Bringer by David Clement-Davies      

This is a book that has been in my "Top" list since the moment I read it, years ago. For anyone who likes Watership Down, you will probably love this book. The only regret I have when reading it, is that David Clement-Davies hasn't written more. I love this author so much, I can't get enough.

5. You Might Be a Zombie and Other Bad News  by the Editors of                                

Now, this might be technically cheating, given my criteria, but I had to include it. This is the best "did-you-know" book I have ever read (and I read a lot of those things). It's all done with such terrific humour and it really is factual.

6. The Ingo Series by Helen Dunmore    

The first time I came upon this series was years ago
at a school book fair and I was instantly mesmerised by the magic and charm of the story. It's a very nicely written tale and every year I went looking for the next instalment.

7. The Stones are Hatching by Geraldine McCaughrean    

This is another book that has never not been on my "Top" list (whoa double negative). Again, it has such a magical quality about it. It's a little similar to David Almond's "Heaven Eyes", but not that much. It's got the same kind of feel to it. It is a pretty dark book for the age group it's aimed at. Not in the traditional meaning of the word, maybe it's more accurate to say it has dark aspects to it.      

8. The Swallow and the Hummingbird by Santa Montefiore                                                   

I cannot for the life of me remember how I came across this book, but I am so glad I did. The story is so intricate and pretty realistic, and often in a very gritty way. In its purest element it's a romance, but it's also a coming of age story, which is rare to see in adult fiction and it is done beautifully. The descriptions and the interactions the characters have with one another make for fantastic reading.                

9. The Old Kingdom Series by Garth Nix

Garth Nix is definitely one of my "Top 10" favourite authors of all time, and this series is one of the main reasons why. Again, this can be pretty dark, I mean you have a lot of what are basically zombies running around, but that's not the focus of the book. That's just the plot point that enables the rest of the book to occur. What I love about Garth Nix's books are his characters. They're just so..good. To my immediate memory, there is nothing I don't like about how any of the characters are written and that includes minor characters as well. I think my favourite book in the series is Abhorsen, just because I feel like we see more interaction between all the characters. In the first two books, it is mainly the protagonist and their (at max) couple of companions, at least one of which will be some kind of animal. But, that is by no means a criticism.

10. The Ruby in the Smoke Series by Philip Pullman

Now, I know when you hear Philip Pullman you think Northern Lights, etc, etc, but, in my opinion, this series is much better. They both have the same kind of writing style (what with both being written by the same author) and they both have that feeling of a kind of muted despair or darkness, but the Ruby in the Smoke has better characters (as least I think so). It's not so much of a coming of age story with the "loss of innocence" undertone, but more of a victorian mystery, I guess. And as always, Pullman writes the most chilling villains and the Ruby in the Smoke is no exception.

11. In Harm's Way by Doug Stanton      

The story of the USS Indianapolis, as told through survivors' accounts. I have always been a fan of 'survival' stories, because I like to know that people have been in these terrible situations that no one should ever have to go through and have beaten the odds. The history of the USS Indianapolis is infamous and rightly so, but the truth told by the soldiers who were there is harrowing. A very sad story about the tragic deaths of 879 men.

Lastly, I just wanted to mention a few authors that I couldn't pick just one favourite book for. They are Ann Halam, Darren Shan and Alex Shearer. I hadn't noticed until just now, but they all write books that are aimed at teen or young adults and they all write ghost stories in a way. Ann Halam is the epitome of ghost stories and every book I read of hers is spine-tinglingly chilling. You definitely have to read them all in one go. Darren Shan of course writes dark, horror books that are more muted than adult horror fiction (which is good for me as , strangely considering these authors, I am not a fan of horror), but will leave your blood running cold by the end. More so with his latest "Demonata" series, which is almost pure gore, than with his "Darren Shan" series. And finally, Alex Shearer who is maybe more of a thriller writer, but with elements of horror weaved into his stories.

So, that's my "Top 10" list. Hope you all liked it and feel free to let me know your favourites books in a comment below. If you want me to do a film version of this list just let me know.