Considering today is Library day, here are my thoughts on such things in terms of favourite books and/or authors of all time…well, as it stands this week:
To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
As even though I read Jane Eyre in primary school, this book opened my eyes to beautiful writing, a world of prejudice we still live in, and a display of relationships that were complex, deep and intensely moving. I still harbour dreams of calling our daughter Scout… if we ever had a daughter that is.
As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
The form and structure just blew me away. Again, a benchmark book in terms of opening my eyes to remarkable writing, awesome themes and powerful narrative voices.
The Collector by John FowlesOh my goodness. I read this when I was in year 9 I think and it scared the living crap out of me. That and confirmed my love of all things dark and psychotic.
Anything – as in any of his books – by Chuck Palahnuik
But I particularly love Choke, Survivor and Invisible Monsters. This guy is a genius of contemporary fiction.
Anything by Tom Robbins
In particular Skinny Legs and All – he writes sentences that make you swoon, on ideas that make your head hurt. Again, just showed me a sophisticated writing style to strive for. He also said:
A “perfect” sentence, if there is such a thing, ought to be both vivid and mysterious, lucid and unpredictable. Whether it shakes out like a bedsheet or rumbles like a locomotive, its cadence ought to reverberate in the mind’s ear with an unavoidable rhythm. Whether its images are designed to kiss the reader or spit in the reader’s face, they must be fresh as new violets down by the hog creek, and they should be psychically charged. The sentence’s philosophical and psychological meaning ought to spread in ever-widening ripples, like an echo circle. And, ideally, when the subject meets the verb, the verb ought to yell out, “surprise!” I don’t know if I’ve ever written a perfect sentence. It doesn’t matter. It’s the pursuit of the perfect sentence that’s the reward.
Other books worthy of a mention that I can actually recall:
The Fountainhead – Ayn Rand
The Lovely Bones – Anne Sebold
The Kelly Gang – Peter Carey
I am also LOVING Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott – a guide to writing and life. Its quirky, funny and very good at keeping it real. I loike it, I loike it a lot.