Tag Archives: books

A few of my favourite things…

read-all-the-books-meme

For a few years I kept lists of books. This was more than just for pure bragging rights (although have you seen how many books I read in 2012? What a nerd burger!) it was also useful for remembering books, and it helped for recommendations.

If you’re a reader (weird breed of folk with clearly too much free time) you’ll be hit many times with the question, “What is your favourite book?”

It’s a hard one, and can you choose just one? Do you have one type of favourite food? Do you have one favourite song you listen to on repeat? Do you have a film that you’d happy to watch non-stop on a long haul flight?

Like food, songs and films what is deemed favourite depends on how we are feeling. There’s certain books I will be more drawn to then others. While I’m all for sexual liberation (if you dig whips and belly-wine, well, good for you) but thinking about 50 shades makes me 50 shades of nauseated. And not because erotic novels don’t have their place in the world. But moving on…

So if a good person asks me what my favourite book is, it might be easier to break it down to these categories:

Favourite books for a laugh

  • Fall Girl by Toni Jordan (and Addition too).
  • The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
  • Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibson
  • Unpolished Gem by Alice Pung
  • Yes Please by Amy Poehler

Favourite books for out of this world escapism

  • American Gods by Neil Gaiman
  • Tithe by Holly Black
  • Jennifer Government by Max Barry
  • Shadow of the wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafron

Favourite books by Australian authors

  • Dark Roots by Cate Kennedy
  • Animal People by Charlotte Wood
  • The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak
  • Burial Rites by Hannah Kent
  • Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey
  • Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta

Favourite “it’s a classic” books

  • Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  • My Brilliant Career by Miles Franklin
  • In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

Favourite Non-fiction books

  • Tracks by Robyn Davidson
  • The Consolations of Philosophy by Alain de Botton
  • Rewire your brain by John B. Arden
  • Alice on the line by Doris Blackwell
  • Mindless Eating by Brain Wansink
  • Edie by Jean Stein
  • The Reality Slap by Russ Harriss

Favourite Higher-brow (probably has a sticker on the front for prestigious award) books

Favourite Genre-bending books (think literary meets sci-fi)

Favourite horror/thriller

But there’s so many more…

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Crying over Fiction

Last night I cried. Snot dribbled on my pillow and my heart heaved, I was a bit of a mess really. I wasn’t crying because of a death in the family or something serious, in fact it was a work of fiction that strummed my heart strings. I blinked away the tears and forced myself to read the last chapters of John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars.

Even as I’m typing this out now I feel a bit teary. And it makes me wonder, how fantastic is this author that a fictional story affects people in this way? John Green made me laugh and cry. How many authors can do that?

I never used to be such a fictional cry-baby. All through my teenage years I was a tough cookie. Yeah I liked The Notebook alright but why would I cry? I laughed at my friend when she cried at the movies while watching P.S I Love You, I found it soppy and lame. I felt sad when Dumbledore died but I wasn’t that emotionally invested in the wizard. I couldn’t even cry at the end of the Anne Frank movie, and that wasn’t fiction, that was pretty damn sad.

Then something happened to me. Hormones, life, age. Without the teenage shield of angst and Simple Plan albums my hard shell eroded and I became like this walking gooey centre. At twenty years old Marley and Me made me a blubbering mess. The Packed to the Rafters episode where Melissa died in the car accident I cried for a solid three minutes hoping my old housemate would not walk in and see me in a moment of vulnerability. Heck, even the WorkSafe ads made me tear up.  What if the Dad didn’t make it home, who will play basketball with the boy then?!

But these were movies, ads, TV shows. They have the ability to use visual and musical aids to make a moment more dramatic, tragic and linger on. But a novel, all they have is words to create this affect which is why I was amazed at The Fault in Our Stars, it is one of very few books that have made me cry.

It is the first John Green book I have read so I don’t know if all the other books are just as heart-breaking but beautifully written. Mostly I was impressed by the characterisation, the love and the humour, despite the awful situation of terminal cancer.

“Because you are beautiful. I enjoy looking at beautiful people, and I decided a while ago not to deny myself the simpler pleasures of existence.”

What book have made you teary?

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Wise words from Charlotte’s Web

You have been my friend. That in itself is a tremendous thing.
I wove my webs for you because I liked you.
After all, what’s a life, anyway?
We’re born, we live a little while, we die.
A spider’s life can’t help being something of a mess, with all this trapping and eating flies.
By helping you, perhaps I was trying to lift up my life a trifle. Heaven knows anyone’s life can stand a little of that.

Charlotte, “Charlotte’s Web”

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