Thursday, May 03, 2007

Which Book to Choose?

So Waterstones want us to vote for our favourite book of the last twenty five years. They have presented a list of one hundred to choose from and of that one hundred I’m ashamed to say I have only read twenty; but they were all wonderful books. So how could I choose any one from the other? Am I qualified to vote having read so few? Here is a list of the ones I have read:-

Hawksmoor – Peter Ackroyd
Behind the Scenes at the Museum – Kate Atkinson
The Blind Assassin – Margaret Atwood
Regeneration – Pat Barker
Notes from a Small Island – Bill Bryson
Possession – A S Byatt
The Name of the Rose – Umberto Eco
Birdsong – Sebastian Faulks
Briget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding
Chocolat – Joanne Harris
Notes on a Scandal – Zoe Heller
Woman in Black – Susan Hill
The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro
If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things – Jon McGregor
The English Patient – Michael Ondaatje
Perfume – Patrick Suskind
The Secret History – Donna Tartt
Fingersmith – Sarah Waters
Oranges are not the Only Fruit – Jeanette Winterson
The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon

So, how do I choose between these wonderful books? The books that made me laugh perhaps? Then it would be Notes from A Small Island or Bridget Jonses’s Diary. Those that intrigued me? The Name of the Rose, The Secret History, Fingersmith, The Blind Assasin or Possession. Those that actually startled me? That would be Hawksmoor or The Woman in Black. The ones that moved me? Maybe The Remains of the Day, The English Patient, Birdsong, Regneration or Chocolat? Perhaps those that had elements of familiarity then say Oranges are not the only Fruit or Behind the Scenes at the Museum. Then again I could go for the books I’ve read more recently like Notes on a Scandal, The Shadow of the Wind, Perfume or If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things.

I wonder what I would think of the books if I went back and re-read them. Maybe they wouldn’t have the same impact a second time around. Of all the above books those that linger in my memory more vividly than the others are:-

Hawksmoor, The Name of the Rose, Fingersmith and If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things.

Can I choose four not one please? Also a book I very much enjoyed reading, seems like a decade ago now, The Quincunx by Charles Palliser, isn't on the list.

Of course, this is all diversion tactics to take my mind off the real issue of the day because I'm sitting here with fingers and toes crossed that the BNP don't win all the seats in our ward at today's local elections - the very thought fills me with dread. As soon as the worker comes home we will be off to vote and then it will be a long agonising wait to see what happens - I may even say a little prayer.


  1. When it comes to winning elections I'm sure your two votes counted for more than any prayer you may have said. At least you and the worker went to bed relieved and, I hope, happy after Labour held onto Longton North.
    Now, all you and other decent people in your part of Stoke have to do is to help get rid of the two BNP councillors. Voting is the last thing you do. Leading up to that moment is the slow grind of campaigning for victory by attending meetings and delivering leaflets in support of your one Labour councillor. Let him know that you are on his side and glad that he won. I'm sure he will appreciate your support.
    So often people shy away from politics for fear of offending their neighbours, friends and others they know. If people are not happy with you openly confronting the BNP and their obnoxious views then tough. I'm on your side and I'm proud that you have openly expressed your opposition to the BNP. Now, I hope you take next step.

  2. It was a close call - only 45 votes between them which is quite disturbing.