A FRIEND of mine tagged me to list my favourite 10 books. The problem is that I don’t have a favourite 10. I think of each I have read as children. I love them differently, but I cannot give a list of preference. I’m as uncomfortable doing this as I am ordering my top 8 friends on Myspace.
But, for the sake of a blog post, I’ll give you the books I like that first come to mind;
1) Treasure Island
It’s about these pirates. Pirates with patches over their eyes. And shiny gold teeth. And green birds on their shoulders.
Did I mention this book was written by a guy named Robert Louis Stevenson? And published by the good people at McGraw-Hill?
So, in conclusion, on the
Simpson Chris scale of one to ten – ten being the highest, one being the lowest, and five being average – I give this book a NINE!
Seriously though. Damn good book. Spawned heaps of covers and remakes and alternate versions for a reason.
2) The Edge Chronicles (Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell)
10 books in the series set over a long period of time on a world set on the edge of a cliff. It’s a land combining brutish animal instinct, steam punk technology, sky pirates, trolls, superstition, politics. The plot follows four young men who are descended from one another. The choices of each impacts the world they live in, and their descendants too.
There are sky pirates! There are
wookies! Banderbears! Goblins! Trolls! Shape shifting tricksters! Cannibalistic TREES!
The only play I can sit down and read. Except Pygmalion.
4) Tomorrow When the War Began series (John Marsden)
I mentioned this book to a hyper intelligent man in a bar in Mount Isa, and he turned up his nose. “As a migrant, the very idea of this novel offends me,” he said.
Is it a book that preys on white culture xenophobia? A rip-off of Red Dawn?
But it’s also a book about teenagers no longer bound to the dependence placed on them by their own will and ignorance. They question what it means to be free, and the rights to life, death and property when these can be given and taken so easily.
5) A Series of Unfortunate Events (Lemony Snicket; AKA Daniel Handler)
Dark, twisted, not anything like that unfortunate movie involving a certain Jim Carey. We’re overdue for a TV series that respects the original source.
6) The Drawing of the Three (part 2 of the Dark Tower epic by Stephen King)
I found the first novel for sale in a library in an outback town while driving across Australia. It was a strange collection of disjointed short stories set in a post apocalyptic world about the last of the Gunslingers, Roland Deschain, and what he must do to get to the Dark Tower (what it is or does we do not know at that stage).
But the sequel, The Drawing of the Three, expanded the world and propelled this dying gunslinger into 1980s New York, where he must learn to collaborate with a drug mule from Brooklyn, a psychotic and paraplegic black woman, and a serial killer. My favourite in the series.
7) A song of ice and fire (George RR Martin)
As you might have noticed, I like fantasy. But fantasy can be poorly written, which is why you won’t find Wheel of Time on this list.
But Games of Thrones is my literature meth.
8) The Trout Opera (Matthew Condon)
I was introduced to Condon in university. The Trout Opera is set over a 100 year period which culminates in the Sydney Olympic Games of 2000. A man named Wilfred, a stockman with no children who has lived all his life in the Snowy Mountains from 1900 to 2000, is coerced by the government into being a symbol of Australia in the opening ceremony. Meanwhile, a family member he knows nothing about is trying to escape her destructive past, and her dying drug dealer – seeking some kind of redemption – chooses to help her.
9) The Goblet of Fire
Some people say it’s overrated. I say it’s not. Someone once mentioned that out of all the Harry Potter books, the fourth is the only one that could be taken out, that it has nothing to add to the series. I argue that the first, third, and fifth are the ones that could be taken out if need be. But why would you want to?
10) Breath (Tim Winton)
Winton’s novels are a hit or a miss for me. His characters are flawed, gritty, genuine but sometimes unrelatable. But Breath represents all of what makes him great. Besides, you don’t realise how many words there are for “wave” until you read this.