Seen at the Festival of the Tree

...if you would be happy all your life, plant a garden ~ Chinese proverb

Monday, 10 February 2014

My Favourite Books


It all started with a Saturday evening tweet from Lazy Trollop...

The link pointed to list on Amazon called 100 Books to read in a lifetime - the kind of list to ponder, argue over and agree it's a very strange list. Various people joined in the conversation - Arabella Sock, Patient Gardener and Lucy Corrander to name but 3.

We're yet to top Lazy Trollop's revised count of 33 out of the 100 and Catch-22 was considered unreadable by most of us - I'm the only one to own up to having managed to finish it. Sharp-eyed Lucy spotted the vital evidence that the list was indeed American in origin - the substitution of Sorcerer instead of Philosopher in the listed Harry Potter book was the giveaway.

A fab Chinese meal out with friends* and a day later I returned to Twitter to find the list still under considerable discussion. I suggested we come up with our own list, which was taken up enthusiastically by everyone around at the time, with Arabella suggesting we limit ourselves to just 20 each and see how much we overlap.

And there you have it, My favourite books, a new meme to ponder and come up with your own ideas. There's no limit on genre, you just need to say how or why you've come up with your selection. Arabella is deciding which books coincide with key moments in her life and I'm going down similar lines as some of the books I started to consider evoke such clear memories of what I was up to at the time of reading. You don't have to do that - fiction or non-fiction; prose, plays or poetry; trashy or classics- or a delicious mixture are welcome.

I'll be posting my response in a week's time - my list is down to 30 and it's proving tricky to squeeze them into the final 20 so I need the time to do that. Like Piano Learner, you're welcome to join us. Write a blog post any time this week with your selection and leave a comment here with your post's URL next Monday (February 17th). I'll make sure the links to your posts are added to mine, so we can come and see what you've come up with.

If nothing else, this should give us lots of recommendations for new reading matter to help while away the last remains of winter :)

* = Hon Fusion in Bath, seeing you're asking - well worth a detour into Widcombe :)

The image is a modified version of this image available in WikiMedia Commons.

Update: The BBC has produced a similar list with a built-in tally for you to assess your score. This list is closer to the choices we've made, but gives plenty of scope for future reading choices too :)

19 comments:

  1. I'm with you guys on Catch-22. I made it through, but I still don't know what all the fuss is about. I'm nearly there with my list.

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    1. Yes, it's a very strange book. I was reminded at the time of reading of the Colditz TV episode where the escape plan was for the escapee to pretend he's mad, so that he gets invalided back to blighty. The escape plan is successful, only he's gone mad in the process...

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    2. Lordy. I remember that episode too. Brilliantly acted I recall. Who was it?

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    3. I can't remember :-(

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  2. Crikey. Not sure I could even come up with half a dozen favourite books - using the criterion that I could read them with pleasure several times and still go back for more.

    I was greatly consoled this weekend when I read Lionel Shriver's advice to ditch a book if it doesn't engage you. Whenever I've said this at various book clubs I've been in, I've been accused of being a shirker, normally by women younger than me. Wait until they're my age. They'll be able to tell the difference then between shirking and wasting precious time.

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    1. Hi Colleen - happy for you to submit a half dozen if you'd like to :)

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  3. The book prices were in dollars so more obvious than Lucy's observation that it was a US list!! Still pondering mine

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    1. Hi Helen - looking forward to seeing your selection :)

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  4. I'll be interested to reading your list and seeing what everyone else comes up with.

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  5. I had to read 100 books in three months when I started my MA. Surprisingly easy actually, once I realised that I could read during he day. I usually reserve novels for the evening.
    What about 20 gardening books?
    Top of my list, because it is open all the time in our household would be Grow your own Vegetables by Joy Larkcom.

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    1. Hi Wendy - you're welcome to suggest 20 gardening books if you'd like to. Joy Larckom's book would feature in my list too.
      However, this time I'm relishing the challenge of non-gardening books for a change as I review so many of the gardening variety on here already.

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  6. I have read Catch-22, but it did take me several attempts to finish it. Flighty xx

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    1. Hi Flighty - me too and I normally zip through books in a sitting, no matter how rubbish or difficult they are xx

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  7. Yikes, that's a challenge. so many books that meant a lot at the time, I think I could spend the rest of the year arguing with myself over what should be on my list. Hmmm. As for Catch 22, I remember it as a book I refused to give up on but which I kept having to put down for a while. Loved the film though. Wonder if I can be honest enough to include the books that one reads because one is young and pretentious and trying to impress? Though that would be a list of memorable or important books rather than favourite, I suppose...

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    1. PS 30, or possibly 31, can't remember if I actually read all of Hungry Caterpillar. I've done a lot better on other versions of this list that float around, probably because I haven't been reading many modern novels in the past few years. And I find John Irvine and Tom Wolfe unreadable.

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  8. I "pinned" this site to my Pinterest board last week, but just now looked at the list. I was surprised to see I had read at least 43 of these, but that goes way back to my childhood when "Little Women" was my very favorite book. Some of the titles that made the list are really surprising, especially "Gone Girl." I read that last year and certainly wouldn't put it on a top 100 list! This is a great idea to come up with personal favorites. Not sure I will have time to do a post, but I would love to see what others come up with.

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  9. I'm pondering and pondering and then doing some more pondering :) Hopefully I will be able to rise the challenge VP. I read 'Catch 22' so long ago that I can't really remember much about it - maybe time for a re - read but it's obviously not a candidate for my top twenty.

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  10. Heres my top 20 http://patientgardener.wordpress.com/2014/02/12/my-top-twenty-reads/

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