Tuesday, May 15, 2012

World Book Night - a retrospective

As you know I picked up a book on World Book Night, and I've been looking into what the scheme is all about and how it works ever since. As a result of the find I not only read the book itself, but I also tried another of the titles (one I've been meaning to read for a while). So, I thought I'd have a look at the other books on the list and consider whether or not I'd have enjoyed them.

It was interesting that the UK and US lists were different - although they shared one book, which is now on my planned reading list.

Read it
Read it because of Book Night
Want to read it
Maybe not

Here's the lists:
Jane Austen Pride and Prejudice
Read this at school. I can't say it made me want to read any more of her work. I was always much more of a Bronte girl.

Iain M Banks The Player of Games
I quite enjoyed this when I read it but I much prefer Ian Banks (who is the same person, of course).
Mark Billingham Sleepyhead
Looks like a nicely creepy crime novel.
Bill Bryson Notes from a Small Island
Read it. Hated him.
Paulo Coelho The Alchemist
I like the looks of this one.
Martina Cole The Take
I've tried a couple of her novels and don't really get on with them.
Bernard Cornwell Harlequin
Not really my kind of thing but I'm not ruling it out.
Roald Dahl Someone Like You
Not sure what colour to make this. Mostly blue. I've read a lot of Dahl's short stories but not this complete collection. They're good.
Charles Dickens A Tale of Two Cities
Another one from my schooldays - but I quite like Dickens, and Two Cities is one of the better ones.
Emma Donoghue Room
Never heard of it before. Looks good.
Daphne du Maurier Rebecca
What can you say about poor Mrs DeWinter? Wonderful, atmospheric, recommended read.
Kazuo Ishiguro The Remains of the Day
Tried it once. I just couldn't get into it.
Stephen King Misery
I don't do Stephen King. Too gory.
Sophie Kinsella The Secret Dreamworld of a Shopoholic
I have read some of her books but they didn't grab me enough to read any more.
Andrea Levy Small Island
Looks very interesting. Post war Britain. Socio-political novel.
John Ajvide Lindqvist Let the Right One In
12-year-old boy and a vampire. Maybe not.
Cormac McCarthy The Road
Its own blurb calls it 'bleak'. Life's too short to read bleak novels.
Audrey Niffenegger The Time Traveller’s Wife
Oh but this was one of the nicest books I've read in a long time and it made me cry at the end.
Maggie O’Farrell The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox
I've got a 'non-existent' family member and it's too late for me to ask questions now. I think I might enjoy this one.
David Pearce The Damned Utd
It's football. Maybe not.
Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman Good Omens
The first thing by either of these gents that I ever read. If you haven't read it, go find it now. Even if it's only for their explanation of the purpose of the M25!
Meg Rosoff How I Live Now
Not really sure but I'm not ruling this out.
Joe Simpson Touching the Void
I'm not sure I'll enjoy some of the detail in this. But I've wanted to read it for a while.
Dodie Smith I Capture the Castle
Another I'm not sure about. But I think I SHOULD have read it by now.
Markus Zusak The Book Thief
The shared book. Now on my want list.


Sherman Alexie The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian
Coming of age book. Not sure it’s high on my list.
Laurie Halse Anderson Wintergirls
Seems to be about teenage girls and anorexia.
Maya Angelou I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
I have at least heard of this. I might try to track it down.
H G Bissinger Friday Night Lights
American Football. Maybe not.
Octavia Butler Kindred
Now this looks like a good book. I really must track that down

Orson Scott Card Enders Game
It's science fiction and I'm not a huge fan.
Chris Cleave Little Bee
I'm fascinated by the reviews of this, which seem to be determined to tell you nothing about it.
Suzanne Collins The Hunger Games
The movie trailers have put me off this.
Michael Connelly Blood Work
I don't read Michael Connelly - too blood thirsty.
Junot Diaz The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
I'm not sure why I want to read this. But the blurb is interesting.
Kate DiCamillo Because of Winn Dixie
I loved the Tale of Despereaux so I think I'd like this too.
Dave Eggers Zeitoun
I've tried Dave Eggers before but not enjoyed his writing style.
Leif Enger Peace Like a River
Definitely fancy this one.
Robert Goolrick A Reliable Wife
Sounds good
Sue Grafton Q is for Quarry
I'm fond of a bit of crime fiction.
Khaled Hosseini The Kite Runner
Has a good reputation but I just don't fancy it somehow. I'm prepared to be persuaded.
John Irving A Prayer for Owen Meany
One of my all time favourite books. I love it.
Stephen King The Stand
I don't like Stephen King. Too scary.
Barbara Kingsolver The Poisonwood Bible
I've got this on my 'to read' list
Nicole Krauss The History of Love
I like the look of this one.
Jhumpa Lahiri The Namesake
It hasn't grabbed me from the blurb.
Tim O’Brien The Things they Carried
Vietnam wasn't my war but the stories behind it are probably still relevant.
Ann Patchett Bel Canto
Interesting idea. Love among the terrorists.
Jodi Picoult My Sister’s Keeper
They need to change the cover on this because I wouldn't pick it up in a bookshop. But the subject matter is something that I care about.
Marilynne Robinson Housekeeping
The blurb gives this a sort of John Irving feel so I might enjoy it.
Alice Sebold The Lovely Bones
I'ne seen the movie. It might have spoiled it for me.
Rebecca Skloot The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
Definitely a subject that's close to my heart.
Patti Smith Just Kids
To read biography I have to care about the subject. And I don't.
Jeannette Walls The Glass Castle
'A memoir'. That phrase deters me.
Markus Zusak The Book Thief
See above.


Sandra Davies said...

Not that you need any recommendations I'm sure, but I'd suggest you put Maggie O'Farrell at the top of your list, the one mentioned was wonderful, moving. I was introduced to Mark Billingham by my son and became addicted and Cormac McCarthy's writing just grabs something in me, but I don't think he's to everyone's taste.
Thanks for this post - one to return to.

snafu said...

Interesting lists but like all reading lists it will be someone else’s preferences and there is always a lot that I or you personally will never read. I have read several of the UK list and commented on some of those, but to eliminate the need for a four page comment I have only commented on the following.
I am a big SF fan, but I did not get on with Bank’s player of Games whilst I have really liked almost everything else he has written under both Iain Banks and Iain M Banks.
I did not get on with Paulo Coelho The Alchemist. Both Rebecca and Remains of the day are similar in my recollection of them, although Remains was the harder to read and occasionally I had the urge to knock their heads together to put some sense into them.
To my mind Misery does not represent Steven King at his best. The Green Mile comes out tops for me, closely followed by The Dead Zone, two really great reads. I also liked The Shawshank Redemption too, all three were made into passable movies. The Stand is creepy-ish but more of an adventure at least for the irst half. A great read too and Bag of Bones is up there in my top ten of his books, although that is very creepy, but I found it compelling reading. I have not been able to finish many of his other books at all, so I find him patchy.
Good Omens is great, two of my top ten authors in one volume.
Dodie Smith’s I Capture the Castle is worth reading. Did you know she also wrote The One Hundred and One Dalmatians. A lovely book before Disney got hold of it, although they made an enjoyable version, but changed in true Hollywood manner. BASED ON being the key wording here.
Apart from The Stand, I do not intend to add any of the USA list to my must read list since I already have tons to read and I have not come across any of them anyway. What the eye does not see... etc. Ta for posting these lists.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Anne .. great post - wonderful listing and keys .. so we get an idea of your thoughts. I have so many books to read already .. and here you've listed many I know I should be reading .. one day!

Also good to read Sandra and Snafu's comments ...

Good to know your list is here though .. cheers Hilary