I've been asked one of *those* questions. You know the ones... As a book lover I dread this question, but, to celebrate my 300th blog post, I am going to make my best stab at it. I was asked about my most favourite book. When I complained about the restriction, I was told to name my top three. So here they are!
In third place...
Yes, that children's classic Watership Down by Richard Adams. Except I don't think it is your typical children's book. It spoke to me on so many levels - a quest story, a love letter to the British countryside, a treatise on fascism and extreme propaganda. The characters were vivid and well-drawn, from Hazel and Fiver who led the group, to Bigwig, who always seemed to be so contrary. As a child I was amused by the fact that one of the characters said 'Piss off!' The storytelling within storytelling worked for me as well - tales of El-Ahrairah and how he outwits Lord Frith. Just saying these iconic names makes me want to pick the book up again! Certainly it is a book that I have read more than ten times, and would turn to again and again out of comfort and enjoyment.
In second place...
I picked up Archangel by Sharon Shinn on a whim from the library when I was in my teens. And I have never, before or since, been SO entranced by prose. I think Shinn has the most amazing talent to bring magic alive - and her passion for music imbues every word of her novels. Archangel is the first in a trilogy of three, and all of them are well worth reading. Archangel tells the story of Gabriel, who is to wed the Edori slave Rachel - the trials and tribulations as they learn to love each other are beautifully written, and the idea of lovers destined to be together was presented in a unique manner. To me, stunning.
In first place...
So here it is. My most favourite novel of all time. It is not the best written; it is not the most literary; and it is definitely not genre. It is this:
The Sunne in Splendour is a sprawling epic of a novel. It is over 900 pages of exploring characters from our own history. It takes the controversial Richard III and overturns what we might think of the person who Shakespeare vilified and who was said to murder his own nephews. This novel is a sympathetic portrayal of a man who was loyal to his country and who wanted the best for his family. Historical personages spring to life from the pages; bitter betrayals and love stories are detailed by engaging prose. I just love this book and endeavour to read it every couple of years or so. Sharon Penman is a supremely talented author, managing to breathe life into a long-dead era. Her research is superlative and I admire the dedication taken with every single one of her novels. This is by far my favourite and, indeed, my favourite book of my whole life.
Now I open the floor to you. It is tough - but tell me your top three books, and why. Invite me to read those books that you deem, in your opinion, to be the best you have read. They needn't be the best written, just those that resonated beyond all others with you. I'd love to hear!
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