Friday, 22 April 2016

The Importance of Books: My List

I’ve just made a list of books I've read in the last year.  

Stephen King, in his seminal book On Writing declares how important it is for anyone who aspires to write that they should read. A lot.

We should read all kinds of stuff – deep, shallow, funny, serious,

tragic comedic. Stephen King lists the great number of books he had read in a year. Interestingly he includes in the list the many books he has read in audio form. For some people – not me- this might be seen as kind of cheating, an  easy way.

But I have this friend who consumes books on audio every single day while he is working at more manual tasks. He points out that with an audio book you listen to every word. You don’t skip. Every word counts. As it should.

I once gave a talk to a reading group for people of all ages who were sight-impaired. The discussion was vigorous and interesting . These readers had an unsurpassed grasp on the detail, the characterisation and the narrative of the novels we were discussing – all read on Audio Books.

And, like audio books, reading on Kindle, Tablets and Phones is sadly sniffed at in some quarters. And yet, my inside source tells me the 46% of books are read in this form. Thank God they do. Some of those are my books and perhaps yours.

It’s been my lifetime delight to curl up with a good book, seduced by the smell and feel of new paper and the sight of great prose. But now as well as this I also love listening to stories on my iPod, and racing through novels and research sources on Kindle and on the internet. So the modern way works brilliantly for this reader and writer.

So this is why this morning I made a list of the books I’ve read in the last year. I’ve read them all with appreciation and enjoyment. It’s not been intentional but probably my list signifies my preoccupations as a writer as well as a reader. Perhaps your book is there! On my list there is – as there should be – lots of fiction there as well as sources of information and research for my new and my  earlier book. The books  range from the serious to the light hearted, the trivial to the serious, from the poetic to the informative.

Do you have your own list? Let me have it with a 50 word bio. and I’ll post it here on Life Twice Tasted.

So anyway – here’s my list:

  1. Sometimes a River Song  Avril Joy
  2. Phantom Notes Brian  Turner
  3. Partners  John Grisham
  4. Bonjour Darling  Heather Francis
  5. The Last American Martyr  Tom Winton
  6. Wake  Anna Hope
  7. The Ballroom  Anna Hope
  8. The Dark is Rising  Susan Cooper
  9. A Murder of No Account  Julia Underwood
  10. Twin Piques  Tracie Bannister
  11. The Story Sisters Alice Hoffman
  12. Solem  Clive Johnson
  13. Hadrians Wall Path Walking into History: Jane V Blanchard 
  14. Decide Where to Go  Eileen Elgey
  15. Lazy France in Marseillan Laurence Phillips.
  16. Noonday  Pat Barker
  17. One of Ours  Willa Cather
  18. Parades End  Ford Maddox Ford
  19. Five Children on the Western Front  Kate Saunders
  20. Plainsong  Kent Haruf
  21. The Last Ballad  Helen Cannam
  22. Ill Met by Moonlight  W Stanley Moss
  23. Night Soldiers  Alan Furst
  24. The White Venus  Rupert Colley
  25. The Last Englishman  H.L.Carr  Byron Rogers
  26. The Lost Guide to Life and Love Sharon Griffiths
  27. Mushrooms .Collins Gem
  28. Dip  Andrew Fusek Peters
  29. Zone of interest  Martin Amis
  30. The Diary od Adam and Eve Mark Twain  
  31. The Risk of Reading:  How literature helps us understand ourselves and the world.  Robert Waxler
  32. The Wolves of Willoughby Chase  Joan Aiken
  33. New Grub Street  George Gissing
  34. Wild Swim  Kate Rew
  35. Swimming Home  Debora Levy
  36. A Month in the Country  H.L. Carr.
  37. Waterlog   Roger Deakin
  38. 12 Years a Slave  Soloman Northup
  39. A King in Yellow  H.P.Lovecraft
  40. The City and the City   China Miéville
  41. The Judas Goat  Robert P Parkerf
  42. The Last Iceberg Anne Ousby
  43. Jamaica Inn  Daphne du Maurier
  44. The Centauress  Kathleen Jones
  45. Death at the Castello   Erica Yeoman
  46. Ring of Clay  Margaret Kaine
  47. The Book Thief  Markus Zusak
  48. The Blackbird House Alice Hoffman
  49. Robert Graves: Life on the Edge   Miranda Seymout
  50. On Writing: a member of the craft   Stephen King
  51. The Secret Life of Bees   Sue Monk Kidd
  52. The Birds and Other Stories  Daphne du Maurier
  53. Dear Life ( Short stories) Alice Munro
  54. How Fiction Works   James Wood
  55. It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again Julia Cameron 
  56. The Avenue A Newcastle Backstreet Boyhood        Samuel W Herbert


It took  a hundred books to

research The Pathfinder

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