The Booker Award and My Top 5 Books of all time

I still remember a long, long time ago (the 2nd of January, 2012) when I very first began this blog, and I was desperately wondering what direction the content would take. I very quickly realised that I wanted to make my blog about books and writing, and even though other things have found their way into my posts, such as music (in particular this month), but also random things I like (such as coffee and tea), I still feel overall that I write a books and writing blog, and that will indeed remain my focus for the foreseeable future.

So I must thank Literary Tiger for nominating me for the Booker Award, an award for blogs primarily about books (50% or more on books, reading and writing). One of the great things about book blogging is meeting so many other brilliant book bloggers out there, and Literary Tiger has a fantastic blog and a great taste in literature, and is without a doubt worth a visit if you have not yet managed to stumble across her posts.

As usual there’s some rules, but I quite like the third one:

1.  Nominate other blogs, as many as you want but 5-10 is always a good suggestion (but hey, I once nominated 32, so don’t take my advice necessarily).  Don’t forget to let your recipients know.

2.  Post the Booker Award picture.

3.  Share your top 5 books of all time.

And so, I give you…

MY TOP FIVE BOOKS OF ALL TIME (for the moment…because I mean, really, this sort of thing is bound to change as one travels through life and…OH this is still the heading. Right. Sorry):

1. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller – I’ve discussed this brilliantly absurd World War II based novel before, multiple times. This book made me howl with laughter, and was also the first book (in my memory at least) to make me cry. It moved me in a way a book hadn’t ever moved me before, and single-handedly re-inspired me to read more and, more importantly, to start writing fiction again. An amazing book, and one which will likely always claim the top spot in this list. If you haven’t read this, you absolutely must.

2. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernières – Apparently the film adaptation of this is awful, which is a shame as I suspect that puts a lot of people off reading the book, when really it is magnificently written. Also set in World War II, it is the story of a Greek island community who has to deal with an Italian occupation during the war, and how one girl in the town falls in love with Captain Corelli, the musician captain of the Italians. It’s funny and heartbreaking all at the same time, and another book I am constantly lending out to friends.

3. The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy Series by Douglas Adams – Yeah yeah, it’s technically five books (and yes I know there’s a sixth, but I just can’t bring myself to read it when it wasn’t written by Douglas Adams). A downright silly and bizarre series of science fiction books, which at first may come across as being too silly for their own good, but upon further reading and reflection are actually taking subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) swipes at society. All in a universe in which Earth flickers between existing and not existing, depending on which book you’re at. This isn’t for everyone, but I recommend at least trying it.

4. The Shadow Of The Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón – This hypnotising gothic novel is set in post-civil war Barcelona, and based around a boy, Daniel Sempere, who is initiated into the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, where upon initiation into this old forgotten library he has to choose a book to protect for life. When he falls in love with his book and tries to track down more books by the author, he finds out the author’s life is shrouded in mystery, and that a figure named after a character within the story has been burning all of the author’s books. The whole story within a story thing doesn’t always work, but this one is just spellbinding, as are all the books by this author.

5. The Kingkiller Chronicle by Patrick Rothfuss – Okay, so this is another series, a fantasy trilogy of which the third book is yet to be released. But the first two books, The Name Of The Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear, both blew me away, and are undoubtedly my favourite fantasy novels. The story of Kvothe, adventurer, arcanist, musician and so much more, and why he has disappeared into obscurity, is one of those stories that stays in your mind long after you have read it, and the novels steer away from the usual conventions of the fantasy genre, making for a much more exciting and less predictable read. If you’re a fantasy fan, read these books. If you’re not, read these books.

The Nominations:

Books & Bowel Movements

Poetry by the clueless

Storyteller In The Digital Age

Book Club Babe

Books Speak Volumes

Writer’s Block

Bitsnbooks

These are all great blogs about books and writing and various other related topics, so check them out. And as always, this is by no means a definitive list, and I have left some people out who I know have been just nominated recently for these awards. But for many other great blog suggestions, check out my other awards posts, as well.

What are your top 5 books of all time?

33 thoughts on “The Booker Award and My Top 5 Books of all time

  1. Had an incredibly hard time narrowing down to only 5 so I decided to go with the 5 books from my shelves that I return to and re-read the most frequently. These are all in my regular rotation and are also by authors who have never penned anything I did not enjoy. The Far Pavilions by M. M. Kaye, Carpe Jugulum by Terry Pratchett, The Collected Short Stories of Cordwainer Smith, The Glass Teat by Harlan Ellison, & Night Winds by Karl Edward Wagner.

    • Ahhh cool, that is a good way to decide it actually, as the books your return to the most. I must confess my top 5 books are all books by authors who I have read everything by, and are all books I revisit too! 🙂 Some of those books you mention sound intriguing, I may have to look into them.

  2. My 5 would be: 1) Love in the time of cholera, Gabriel Garcia Marquez 2) Shadow of the wind, Carlos Ruiz Zafon 3) Memoirs of a Geisha, Arthur Golden 4) Simon, Marianne Fredriksson and 5) Keeping Faith, Jodi Picoult. Wow, that was hard, much rather choose my top 100 books 🙂

    • Ahh, very interesting! Awesome to see we have one book in common in our top 5s, with Zafon’s book! I need to read more Marquez, I have only read Love In The Time Of Cholera and I quite liked it, but what I really loved was the writing style! I haven’t read Memoirs of a Geisha though I did see (and quite enjoy) the film based on it, and the last two you mention I have heard of but haven’t read.
      I think it is often hard to draw these things down to such a small selection. Oddly, I think my top 5 would be easier than my top 10 – choosing the other 5 would be nearly impossible for me. 🙂

  3. I think you have great taste because I agree with 4 of your choices wholeheartedly, while I haven’t read the 5th one but obviously really should. ^^ Catch 22 and Captain Correlli are the most amazingly funny, tragic stories I think I’ve ever read. Have you read Bernières’ Latin American trilogy?

    • Ahhh awesome, great minds think alike hey? 😛 I have read everything by Louis de Bernières – I loved the Latin American trilogy but I think I would enjoy re-reading it now I’ve read everything of his. But I love those books, and particularly love Birds Without Wings as well. Sadly, Joseph Heller is not so consistently awesome…Closing Time (the sequel to Catch-22, written and set several decades later) was okay, not amazing but it had its moments, but Something Happened I couldn’t even finish, and after that I’ve decided to leave Heller’s other books alone. 😛

      • Good choice. I read his one about David (as in Goliath), and it was kind of meh. Bernières is amazing though, though I don’t know if I would ever reread Señor Vivo and the Coca Lord. Not because it’s bad, but it was so graphic, and had such an accurate portrayal of a devastating breakup. Don Emmanual’s Netherparts is like Hitchhikers though: a book that can be reread 8+ times without complaint.

        • Ahhh yeah I think I know which book that is (Well, there’s only two or three I haven’t touched of Heller’s anyway). YES I know what you mean with the second book of that trilogy, that was just brutal. I was actually reading it, gasping loudly with my jaw hanging in shock. I just did not see it coming. But oddly it helped me really love the third book, because it kind of found this balance between the devastating brutality of the second book and the downright silliness of the first. But all three are great. 🙂

  4. I’ve got Catch 22 but still haven’t got around to starting it (blush) Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – erm same. I have read the Hitchhiker though – great and Shadow of the Wind – superb. I would have a really hard time picking my five favourites but the one that I read over and over is Frenchman’s Creek by Daphne Du Maurier and her House on the Strand, she is the only author I read over and over. I see someone has mentioned Memoirs of a Geisha that was another smashing book. Of course I love Terry Pratchett and so his discworld series have got to be up there with my favourites but no can’t pin em down.

    • Ahh, you have to read Catch-22 and Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, they are both amazing. 😀 It is really hard to just pick five favourites, I will agree with that for sure. Interestingly, I am not a huge fan of Terry Pratchett. Maybe I need to read more of his stuff, I have read a couple and I liked them, but they didn’t blow me away. But I do like the name of Death’s horse in Mort…I laughed out loud at that. 😛

      • Ah yes Binky!!!! My dad says that when his time comes to leave this life he’s not going unless Binky comes to get him!!!!

        Did you know Death’s granddaughter is called Susan.

        I do think with Pratchett you have to read a couple to get into mindset. They are in little groups of three, and people seem to have their favourite sets. I just like them all.

        • Hahaha, that is brilliant what your dad says! I didn’t know that about Death’s granddaughter? I’m guessing that comes in a much later book?
          I do have one book by Pratchett that I haven’t read yet but I keep hearing good things about, and it’s one of his non-discworld novels – Nation. I am thinking of reading that one very soon. I also want to read that book he co-wrote with Neil Gaiman, of whom I’m becoming a big fan. 🙂

  5. Oooh, top 5 is tough. I’m with you on Catch 22 and Captain Corelli. I would add Isabel Allende’s House of Spirits, John Irving’s Hotel New Hampshire and Tom Robbins’ Skinny Legs and All. Jim Crace should also appear though, so scratch Captain Corelli and write up Quarantine.

  6. I love Catch-22! Such a funny, absurd book. I’ve been meaning to read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy for years… someday I’ll get to it!

    Thanks for the nomination 🙂

  7. What a fascinatingly eclectic mix you have there! I’d forgotten just how much I was moved by Captain Corelli. It’s one of those books which really stays with you. The Shadow of the Wind also sounds good – I’ll have to try and find a copy.
    Thanks again for the nomination!

    • Hahaha, I hadn’t thought about it but you’re right, it is a little eclectic for my top 5. I think I have eclectic tastes in just about everything though, especially books and music. You’re right about Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, it’s been years since I read it but the story has always stayed with me, as has Birds Without Wings by the same author. 🙂

  8. Pingback: The Booker Award « Writer's Block

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