Friday, August 28, 2009

Simon's Favourite Books (in no particular order)

This was horrible. The books i've left out are definitely not talking to me at the moment. I hope they forgive me.
So here are my choices

Nights at the Circus by Angela Carter
a most wonderfully bawdy celebration of life. The central character of the book Fevvers, a circus performer whose claim that she's a Cockney virgin, hatched from an egg and is part swan attracts the attention of Jack Walser a journalist keen to discover the truth. Joining the circus as a clown, Walser is taken on a magical journey he'd never have dreamt. This is Carter's most complete novel and it's full of wonderful characters that are brought to life in glorious technicolour.

Lullaby by Chuck Palahniuk
a reporter, investigating a spate of cot deaths discovers that a deadly lullaby is the cause. His quest to destroy all copies of the book with the lullaby in inevitably take him to darker and darker places. With his knowledge the lullaby, can he live with its power without using it on the people who are trying to thwart him? There are some big topics in this book (abuse of power, government control), and it can be read on so many levels. Read it a second time and your experience will be completely different. His descriptions on minutae are brilliant and necessary and this is his most accessible novel to date.

My Cousin My Gastroenterologist by Mark Leyner
trying to find a coherent storyline in this book is unlikely to reap rewards. Leyner writes like he thinks, and this takes the reader on a crazy journey, where you don't get the chance to stop and enjoy the view. Insane, hyperactive and exhausting, this is a book you'll absolutely love or hate, but Mark Leyner is definitely worth a look.

The Black Dahlia by James Ellroy
the best crime novel i've ever read, this dark atmospheric classic stems from a real life unsolved murder in Hollywood in the 40s where a butchered body of a woman is found. Ellroy describes in a perfectly pitched and stoccatoed style the seedier side of post war Los Angeles, and he never pulls his punches. This is the first of Ellroy's 'LA Quartet' and by far his best.

Coming Up For Air by George Orwell
George Bowling's hopes of recapturing something of his childhood by revisiting Lower Binfield, the quaint town he grew up in, are destroyed as the horrors 'progress' have turned the place unrecognisable. Written in 1939, there's an underlying theme of the impending war, and also Orwell accurately predicts how much of the landscape of Britain would change in the name of improvement. It's also brilliantly written, and captures all the best things about Orwell's writing. His characters are truly memorable and alive and he has the ability to make the reader both hopeful and angry at the same time.

We'd like you to let us know your top 5 books.

Please read this post for your chance to win 20, yes you heard me right, 20 books of your choice*.

Click on this form below, print it out and post it to us, or drop it in. Alternatively you can email us with your choice, plus your name and we'll add it into the mix.


Lacey Tiger said...

I feel guilty now. I really wanted to include an Angela Carter, but couldn't seem to squeeze one in. I probably would have gone for Wise Children. It was the first book I bought from the stalls on the South Bank shortly after moving to London and it was the first London based book I read actually knowing where places were.

Horace Bent said...

Woo Hoo. I'm going to email you my choices now. Dan Brown all the way! Huzzah!

Karen Triggs, N22 said...

Good grief, this is sooo difficult.