My favourite book

Sam "Remember the Alamo!" Houston - who used to be an American Indian, according to the Childcraft Encyclopedia.

Sam “Remember the Alamo!” Houston – who used to be an American Indian, according to the Childcraft Encyclopedia.

I think the sequence of my favourite books may have gone something like this…

The Biography volume of the Childcraft Encyclopedia (or was it Cyclopedia?) – the obscure pasts of famous Americans.

Followed by Ulster, A Sunday Times Insight Investigation – oh look, they’re writing about us.

For a while it was… The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. I found it in an odd place. “It was on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying ‘Beware of the Leopard‘.”

Then it was… Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis – happy endings, but don’t read while hung over: “He lay sprawled, too wicked to move, spewed up like a broken spider-crab on the tarry shingle of morning. The light did him harm, but not as much as looking at things did; he resolved, having done it once, never to move his eyeballs again. A dusty thudding in his head made the scene before him beat like a pulse. His mouth had been used as a latrine by some small creature of the night, and then as its mausoleum. During the night, too, he’d somehow been on a cross-country run and then been expertly beaten up by secret police.”

It is (and has been for a while)… A Time of Gifts by Patrick Leigh Fermor – robust and exquisite. (And I want part 3 for Christmas.)

But the best books I’ve read lately are The Little Friend by Donna Tartt and We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver. I was late getting to both of them. Both arrestingly good. (Never mind the reviews to which I’ve linked.)

But if I really really have to choose one, from the very very many I value and return to, it would be none of them. My favourite may be the same as yours. The next one.

The next one could be this one - Duck Rabbit - it looks epic.

The next one could be this one – Duck Rabbit – it looks epic.

Or that big thick one I can stand on to reach on top of the fridge.

This is a post for the Loose Bloggers Consortium. It shrinks but survives. Like a woollen jumper in a dryer. Snugger. The rest of the band are here – Ramana, Delirious, gaelikaa, Grannymar, MaxiPadmumShackman and The Old Fossil -for the moment.

And I’ve just realised that this is quite a different list from the last time I tried this. Oh fickle, fickle! And then there is that book I wroteand the book I’m supposed to be editing when I’m not trying to get a song to Christmas number one.

By the way – last chance to enter the spooky Dark Challenge competition.

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29 Comments

Filed under D - Loose Bloggers Consortium, What I'm Reading

29 responses to “My favourite book

  1. I share your liking for The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy! The radio version remains my all time favourite version though :)

  2. I loved We Need To Talk About Kevin. Such an honest and unflinching account of a troubled boy and his despairing mother. But I think my favourite book is Therese Raquin by Emile Zola. I’ve read it umpteen times and never tire of it. A devastating account of a hideous crime and how it eats away at the perpetrators until they’re complete psychic wrecks.

    • blackwatertown

      Yes the alleyway in Therese Raquin is evocatively described. However – it did go on a bit. Prefer Germinal myself. Also full of doomed people.

  3. I’d say it is nearly impossible for a voracious reader to pick a fave – because as you say – there’s always the next one. I do confess though – as I age historical stuff interests me.

    • blackwatertown

      Me too, very much so. Just started The Famine Conspiracy by Tim Pat Coogan.
      Also enjoy the historical fiction imaginings of Philip Kerr – spins on the Kennedy assassination, the World War Two Teheran talks and the various Bernie Gunther novels. Very high standard.
      More up to date – wonderful dark shadowy writing on real episodes from Eoin McNamee – criminal murder and state hit squads in N.Ireland and the accidental death/assassination of Princess Diana. All very atmospheric. The Blue Tango above all else.

  4. Hudson Howl

    Funny, I pictured you as being tall.

    Reading lists, past present and future, have for me the same weight as ‘to do lists’ – I forget where I’ve been, where I laid it and whats next on the list. Obviously I don’t read to the degree as I should. But a handful of people have said I should read Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard -may be someday.

    Oh, out of curiosity who is Hudson Hawk?

  5. I have to agree on your first choice. When I was a child I loved the childcraft encyclopedia books!
    My problem is that I love too many books, and can’t seem to give most of them away….

    • blackwatertown

      Me too with the book loving, but I’ve improved a lot on the giving them away – it helps if you think of it as spreading the word on a good thing.

  6. It was your start with the encyclopedias that caught my eye. They were my favorite books to just sit and wander through as a child. That and the Golden Books.

  7. We Need To Talk About Kevin, is the one I would pick from your list. Imagine being a mother to a child like Kevin…. what do people expect you to do? Smother him with a pillow?

  8. Now I can slot you. Douglas Adams fan is my kind of a man.

  9. Don’t read while hung over … that did it for me, HH.
    blessings ~ maxi

  10. 29

    Favourite book? What an impossible question! However I shall choose one which I still have in its original dust jacket, a maternal present more than 60 years ago: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.

    • blackwatertown

      I sometimes separate dust jacket from book to better preserve the former, but then have difficulty reuniting them. Perhaps the dust jackets are lurking with the odd socks and lost biro lids.

  11. I have The Obituarist on my Kindle. I shall read it soon.

  12. Now I am reading Jack Whyte’s Camulod Chronicles series, historical novels post Roman Britain.

  13. There are two books I want desperately, whose titles I cannot remember:

    Book One–a little girl loses her beautiful doll. The book traces the doll over the next 50 years until the girl (now an old woman) is reunited with it. This is just a guess, but the answer might be the ever-popular Magic Elizabeth by Norma Kassirer. After all, even though the old woman isn’t the focus of the story, it is her doll that Sally recovers after all those years.

    Actually it may be Ginnie and the Mystery Doll by Catherine Woolley. I think I got a few of the details wrong. I now have a copy and am so excited.

    Can you believe I never read Magic Elizabeth it as a child, but I keep hearing other people say it was one of their favorites, so I just have to have it. Preferably a hardback copy.

    Love your blog.

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