There's a thing going round facebook at the moment about lists of books - always a challenge and always a tough one. Anyway, for what it is worth on this day here are ten of the books that have shaped who I am, what I write and who I would like to be.
The Book Thief – by Marcus Zusack. (Never fails to hit and it exploded everything I thought about how fiction could be written).
Cloudstreet – by Tim Winton (A master of place, time and people. I love his writing and devour it all but this one I think sticks, mostly because of the house).
The Scarlet Pimpernel – by Baroness Orczy (there is nothing as romantic, dramatic or exciting as reading this without reading the blurb, seriously, it is such a great adventure and is better than any trashy romance you might be tempted to read)
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – JK Rowling (remains my favourite of the series, I loved these books ever so much and the wait between book 4 and 5 was just interminable)!
Untold Stories – by Alan Bennett (I got this in charity shop in Dorking and it solidified a growing sense that I wanted to be a writer. Alan Bennett is just a beautiful observer and one of my favourite writers, he just captures life).
The Snowman – by Raymond Briggs (Reminds me of how stories don’t always need words and how magical Christmas can be, if you let it).
My Family and Other Animals – by Gerald Durrell (I have never loved a book as much as this, it constantly surprised me and it was funny, interesting and I can’t believe it sat on my shelf for years (in an ugly cover) before I read it).
Pride and Prejudice – by Jane Austen (Read it when I was 11 and didn’t understand it at all, a few years later and wham! Understood and treasured. It is just such a treat watching the dance between the two characters of Elizabeth and Darcy, it doesn’t matter that we know they’ll end up together – the journey is what matters).
Rhubarb – by Craig Silvey (Just wonderful, again completely changed how I thought fiction could be written, the characters are wonderful, the story both beautiful and heartbreaking and you can just taste the sea. Plus the animals of this book really take it to another level).
The Enchanted Wood/ The Faraway Tree – Enid Blyton (I loved these books growing up, when they go up into the other worlds; the characters and my favourite bit when they have to dig down into the roots of the tree to save it).
Disclaimer – there are many, many more…
For example: anything by Janet and Alan Ahlbergh , Murakami, Shaun Tan, Graeme Base I treasure; thanks to Kerry Greenwood and Dorothy L. Sayers for my now endless enjoyment of mysteries and to Bill Bryson for making anything readable – if you haven’t read his Shakespeare biography, it’s fab.
Comics wise – I adored Asterix when I was small and now the Sandman by Neil Gaiman is with me always.
And there no plays here? Why, they need their own list!