Friday 9 July 2010

Meme With Relish - all about the books!

I limit the memes I participate in, but I love this one - it's so highly personal, but still gets discussion going about the IMPORTANT books. I found the meme over at Unbound, so please join in, and pass the credit back to Adele and her team (and me, if you're feeling in a kindly way!)

1) One Book That Changed Your Life: An odd choice to kick off here - Knights of Dark Renown by David Gemmell. I mean, it isn't an obvious book to pick and certainly people might expect Legend of Gemmell's books. But this was the first Gemmell book I ever read, and it really opened my eyes to the potential of the fantasy genre. To that point I'd read safe, warm fantasies by such authors as David Eddings and Terry Brooks and Gemmell's writing showed me that heroes aren't always the good guys, and it doesn't end happily ever after for everyone. Gemmell made me want to devour every single fantasy novel I could lay my hands on, and ultimately led me to the point I'm at now.

2) One Book You Have To Read More Than Once: I am a compulsive re-reader - so I have many that I could recommend here. But I'm going for One of Us by Michael Marshall Smith. This book is clever, slyly funny, dark, futuristic, scary - everything you need from a book that you'll tackle more than once. Every time I read it I gain more from the experience. I have much love for MMS.

3) One Book You'd Want On A Desert Island: You mean, just one book FOREVER?! What a hideous thought! Seriously, just one book? Fine then: I've already confessed my love for this book on the blog before so I'm not embarrassed to say it again. Since it is a book I've re-read pretty much every year since being given it by my parents and I'll love it forever thanks to nostalgia, I'll put out The Silver Brumby by Elyne Mitchell. If I'm stuck on a desert island, I'll probably be too busy trying to.. y'know... survive to read anything much - The Silver Brumby is a nice slim novel that won't take much time to whip through as a diversion between finding water and building some kind of swanky bamboo house.

4) Two Books That Made You Laugh: The first of these is Notes From a Big Country by Bill Bryson - this is the one and only book that has had me crying with laughter and snorting unattractively on public transport. Deeply embarrassing! I was asked by my neighbour on the train what book it is that had me in such a state, so hopefully Bryson got another sale out of it! My second is The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde - I didn't so much laugh out loud at this one, but the sheer inventiveness, the terrible puns and the wacky sense of humour made me chuckle at least once on every page.

5) One Book That Made You Cry: This is an odd one - and will probably prove obscure to most people. Those who have read it might wonder why I cry at it - but I do every time I read this book. My book is On Mystic Lake by Kristin Hannah. It is one of those books about a woman going back to her hometown after the death of her mother, rather cliched in places; truly it isn't a masterpiece. And yet when Hannah writes about the main character's thoughts over the bereavement and the fact she'll never see her mother again I am left sobbing. It is so heartfelt, but, truly, I think it is because I love my own mum so much and I can't imagine a time without her.

6) One Book You'd Wish You'd Written: I wish I'd written Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke - it was so quirky, with such beautiful language, breathtaking imagination, vivid characters. I would be proud to say I'd written such a stunning novel.

7) One Book You Wish Was NEVER Written: Actually Guilty Pleasures by Laurell K Hamilton. I really enjoyed the first eight or so books of the Anita Blake series as escapist fun, but, if it meant I hadn't had to endure the horrendous out-of-leftfield sex fiend Anita has become since book ten in the series, I would rather not have had the pleasure of the first nine. Seriously, never has a series become so utterly different - to the point where characters don't even act the same, and everyone seems to be spilling bodily functions on everyone else *shudders*

8) Two Books You Are Currently Reading: Wow, I am at one of those rare, rare, RARE times where I am actually reading more than one book at a time. I'm well-known for my book monogamy and usually I would NEVER read more than one book. However, I am now committed to my huge Malazan read, so I am trawling through Gardens of the Moon on a chapter by chapter basis, while at the same time reading Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? I'm a little pleased that I can admit reading these two books publically, rather than having to confess anything by Jilly Cooper alongside Twilight, or something daft like that *grin*. I sound all intellectual and heavyweight - although not even in the league of Larry or Paul!

9) One Book You've Been Meaning To Read: There are so many - SO MANY - that it is hard to pick just one. But I am going to plump for The Lies of Locke Lamora - part of the rules of my recent giveaway of rare copies of this book (ooh, could I fit *more* 'ofs' into that sentence?!) was that I should provide a review of it as well. And I really want to read it. So I shall pick this one and determine that I shall get to it as soon as possible. After Grass by Sheri S Tepper. And The Passage by Justin Cronin. And Johannes Cabal the Detective. Yeah, I've been here before. There are too many awesome books being published!

So that's me! Please do join in - I'd love to hear yours. Drop me a comment saying where you've posted your book meme to :-)


  1. Great answers. Bill Bryson and Jasper Fforde are two of my favorite authors. I always warn people not to read Bryson in public though because they will just embarrass themselves (as I know from experience)
    I would probably also choose Laurell Hamilton's book as the one that should never have been written, which ever book it was that veered the series off the rails. I can't remember now which one it was.
    And The Lies of Locke Lamora is awesome, so enjoy. Gardens of the Moon was a real challenge for me but I read it a few months ago and am glad to have persevered. Especially since I can now make Erikson references in my reviews.

  2. I see my name in a paragraph below a Hamilton novel and I thought at first you were going to admit that you began imagining other reviewers playing the roles of characters in her stories. That was a slightly disturbing thought for a moment ;)

  3. @Simcha - thanks! I really enjoyed thinking about which books have affected me most. I'm so glad it isn't just me who is affected like that by Bill Bryson :-)

    @Larry - you always bring the disturbing, doncha? ;-)

  4. I am blessed with a "very creative" imagination ;)

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  6. This was fun! I enjoyed reading yours. I posted mine on my book blog:

    I've read a few of these online today. It's interesting how much everyone's answers vary. :)

  7. Excellent meme. Interesting answers too! Off to write mine up now LOL

  8. Hmm. I've never read a Gemmell, though I think I might. Lies of Locke Lamora is great though.

  9. I don't have a blog, so can't post mine, but I love your picks! I used to adore the Silver Brumby books when I was little, those and the Black Stallion books lol

    And Jasper Fforde always makes me laugh. I love to try and get all the references, I never do ofcourse, but I have fun trying!

  10. @Sarah - yours was ace as well!

    @Cara - I've just read yours on Speculative Book Review and loved it.

    @Mieneke - wow, another Silver Brumby reader! We seem so few and far between :-D

  11. The Lies of Locke Lamora is aces! I envy you the first read of that one. :D I also had a bit of fangirl glee to see Michael Marshall Smith on the list- that man needs more love!

    I've plonked my own responses up at