There’s a meme circulating on Facebook at the moment (I think it’s on at least its second circuit) where people are asked to “think of 10 books that have affected you or stayed with you, they don’t have to be the best books ever, don’t think about it too much, these are mine.” I got tagged by a friend of mine over there, but thought I would share my picks with you here. As these are old favourites, none of them are books I’ve yet reviewed here on the blog. (That may change if I delve into the archives at some point.)
The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley – growing up, I always wanted to be Harry: with a love of books, a warhorse, a pet big cat, a magic sword, and the ability to save the world and make hunky desert princes fall hopelessly in love with me. This may explain a lot.
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen – an obvious pick, but a book I devoured in two days when it was set as an A Level text: witty, light, but full of satire about Regency society.
The Lions of Al-Rassan by Guy Gavriel Kay – a fictionalised retelling of the last days of Moorish Spain, but one that is full of meaning that layers the personal with the geopolitics. One I reread regularly, and always find fresh meaning in.
Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie – the Booker of Bookers, and the novel that taught me that literary fiction can be enjoyable and accessible as well as profound.
Angelmaker by Nick Harkaway – I had an intense personal relationship with this book when I read it, because of the job I was doing at the time.
Eureka Street by Robert McLiam Wilson – sums up everything I feel about Belfast: a place I adore, but is troubled.
Ash: A Secret History by Mary Gentle – a fictionalised Joan of Arc story that turns into a fascinating piece about the constructedness of history.
The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood – a perfect novel within a novel.
The Broken Crown by Michelle West – the start of her Sun Sword series, a series I continuously recommend to people for its amazing world building (proof that one can write about a sexist society without falling into the trap of sexist writing) and fabulous ensemble cast.
The Sacred Art of Stealing by Christopher Brookmyre – it’s the perfect crime thriller, funny, page-turning and with some delicious UST.