Saturday, 30 August 2014

haunted by books

My friend Steve, who blogs over at Shores of Night has issued a challenge:
"List 10 books that have stayed with you in some way. Don't take more than a few minutes and do not think too hard. They do not have to be the "right" books or great works of literature, just ones that have affected you in some way."
I know he said not to over think it, but this has been rattling around my head all day.  I've been adding books to an Evernote as I deem them fit for the list, but I've now come to the point where I'm just going to finish it.

What books stay with you?

Here's my ten.
  1. Exquisite Corpse by Poppy Z Brite - Ms Brite's publishers decided they didn't want to publish this book.  She was a good seller, but this was just a little too horrible.  Publishers were leery of portraying real serial killers like vampires.  It was a little too glamorous.  She found publishers though, and it came out.  I read it.  There's a scene in it so disgusting that it actually made me vomit.  I can still picture that scene, although I wish it didn't stay with me.  I've not risked Ms Brite since, although I'm sure I'm missing out.
  2. Forever Amber by Kathleen Winsor - Oh Forever Amber.  I read this in my late teens and got so caught up in it.  I couldn't put it down, although I had to at one point, when I could no longer actually read the book, I was crying so hard. A glorious book, and very silly.  There's a great old film too.  If you've got over two hours to kill check it out here.
  3. The Mummyfesto by Linda Green -  
    so bad I couldn't read it, and no-one will take it off my hands. Made me realise that I could actually get a book published, so perhaps it was good after all.
  4. The Wraeththu series by Storm Constantine - interesting ideas, fab characters, and a well developed mythos. I want more books like this in the world.  Actually, there are more books like this in the world, as Constantine has recently(ish) written more.  They're on the list.
  5. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte - I loved this book as a kid, and it still stays with me, although my take on it has shifted. And this, again, is something that I love. A story that can be understood in different ways.  First, at face value, I empathised with Jane, and could fall in love with the infuriating Mr Rochester alongside her.  I loved the magic of their coming back together.  But then the cracks start to show.  How could he treat Bertha so? Why not marry St John? Why not marry no-one and be a teacher, perhaps write books, enjoy walks on the moors?
  6. A Game of Thrones by George RR Martin - I love the Song of Ice and Fire series, and I cannot wait for the next instalment, but the reason I've chosen this particular book is ... SPOILER ALERT ... I remember that I was lying on my cheap futon, with my elephant duvet cover on, in my damp flat in Meanwood, next door to an illegal boxing club and repeatedly broken into, when I read the bit in the book where Ned dies.  He dies!  There are myriad ways set up to save him, and you're wondering which one will come to fruition when he goes and actually dies!  Before Martin that never happened, but that break with the rules meant that surely anything was possible.  
  7. The Adventures of Charlotte the Marmot by Gerda Muller.
    And now for something completely different. I don't remember the story in Charlotte the Marmot, but the pictures were captivating. In particular there was one with a cross section of Charlotte's underground home, beautifully detailed, which completely captured my imagination.
  8. Man, Myth & Magic, edited by Richard Cavendish.  My Mum collected the magazines that form this seven volume encyclopaedia of the supernatural, which I loved reading as a teenager.  It gave me an abiding interest in religion, superstition, and ways of living, and I have no idea where it is now.
  9. The Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris.  These stories are a fun bit of fluff, but the characters are engaging, and well wrought.  When True Blood first hit our screens I enjoyed watching the story I recognised, and the characters I knew.  I especially liked the way that Vampire Bill said 'Sookie', and of course, the delightful Eric Northman.  I was REALLY happy when True Blood took those characters and ran with them, leaving the books to do their thing while they did something else.  I am so happy that Lafayette lived, and it made me think that I rather like it if we create characters and send them off into the world.  So I like the possibilities of fanfic.  Why not let other people play with your characters?
  10. The Bible by various authors.  I was trying to avoid this, but it kept coming back to me. Steve said it doesn't have to be the 'right' book, and I don't like this being in my list, but there you go.  I did have a copy of the Bible as a teen, full of stickers, underlinings and highlighter pen.  I spent a lot of time reading it and having it explained to me.  But then I grew out of that little bit of rebellion, and I am still angry about the lies of Christianity and the harm it does to us all.  But the Bible still impacts on me. I live in a Christian country, and everything around me is formed by the patriarchal nonsense in its pages.  Meh.
And breathe.

At home we're loving the start of the Largs Viking Festival this weekend, and I'm chuffed to bits for winning a competition with one of my blog posts (on driving).

Here's some other posts you might like: