Monday, 6 August 2012

I've Won A Booker Award!

OK, not the Booker Award

This one has been awarded to me by my good friend, fellow author and blogger, Susan Roebuck.

For this award, I need to name which five books are, in my opinion, the best novels of all time. Not an easy task by any stretch of the imagination. So, in no particular order, here is my best effort:

 The Good Fairies of New York by Martin Millar
I stumbled across this book quite by accident one day and, from the first page, I was hooked. Since then, I have become an avid collector of Martin Millar's stories. They defy genre, spanning supernatural, paranormal, literary, dark fiction and always with his unique blend of wit, dark plot and black comedy. He also manages to make a social commentary on people who do not fit the accepted 'norms' without adopting any kind of attitude. His quirky characters and style of writing are addictive. After all the books of his I have now read, The Good Fairies is still my favourite. The tale of two naughty and rebellious Scottish fairies who find themselves in New York, causing mayhem wherever they go, is no traditional fairy story. But then nothing about Martin Millar's books is like anything you've read before. As Neil Gaiman says, 'Martin Millar writes like Kurt Vonnegut might have written, if he'd been born fifty years later, in a different country, and hung around with entirely the wrong sort of people.' As a fellow Millar-rite, I couldn't have put it better myself.

 Tales of The City by Armistead Maupin
Quirkiness of an entirely different nature now. I could have picked anything by this unique author, but the 'Tales of the City' series is probably what he is still best known for. This opening story begins with the prim and proper Mary Ann Singleton (now there's a name that matches the character) who rebels against her parents and turns her holiday in 1970s San Francisco into a lifestyle choice. She moves into an apartment house run by the mysterious Anna Madrigal, whose idea of a housewarming present is a nice toke of homegrown weed. Mary Ann grows up fast - with hilarious, tragic, scary and moving consequences. Intertwined with her story, Maupin develops a cast of characters who simply demand sequels. He is currently continuing to fulfil this need, most recently by 'Michael Tolliver Lives' and 'Mary Ann in Autumn'. But don't miss his other wonderful stories either. 'Maybe The Moon' and the sinister 'The Night Listener' are totally diffferent - but also 'must reads' in my opinion'.

 11:22:63 by Stephen King 
Here's another author - (in my opinion) the master of my preferred writing genre - who can do precious little wrong for me. I picked this one simply because I think it represents so much of what he is about as a writer. Stephen King could just sit back on his millions and do very little, but he is always challenging himself to produce something different to his last book. Again he is an author who pays little heed to genre. He is regarded as a 'horror' writer but that doesn't do him justice. He crosses all boundaries and shows us how it's done. This book isn't horror at all, for me. It is a timeslip and he hasn't attempted that before. Drat! He does it so well. I loved this book. The world could go by in a handcart while I was reading it. Just couldn't put it down. 

Heathcliff - brooding, dark, mysterious and dangerous. For me, in my angst ridden teenage years, he was always far more Jim Morrison than Laurence Olivier (if you can imagine Jim Morrison with a Yorkshire accent!). What more can be said about this classic than has already been said. Except - how did such a sheltered, virginal daughter of a Victorian parson come up with such a dark, Gothic and arousing story? Ah yes, probably because she was a sheltered, virginal daughter of a Victorian parson. And, maybe because she had two similarly raised sisters. All those raging hormones...

This was the first book that attracted me to Anne Rice. I read it at one lengthy sitting on a cold winter afternoon many years ago and it stayed with me for weeks afterwards. This was the first time I discovered sensuous horror. Prior to this, mummies, werewolves, vampires and witches had all been of the Dennis Wheatley, Bram Stoker, Hammer Horror variety. The idea that an ancient Egyptian mummified pharaoh could actually be sexy and wickedly desirable was a first for me. From here I went on to discover the Vampire Lestat and the Mayfair Witches, but this tale of Ramses the Damned is still my first love from this talented and versatile author's pen .

So, there are my five. In listing these, I have missed out other authors I adore who are far to numerous to mention.

Now, my last job is to nominate five other recipients of the {Booker} Award. These are:


  1. Gosh, Catherine! I've only read Wuthering Heights (hmmm...Jim Morrison...) but all the others are just the kind I want to read. I'm off to Amazon...Great post

  2. Wow! I will do this after I've posted Sue Lyndon's blog at my site :) A day or two okay?

    Thanks, again.
    Sue Swift/Suz deMello

  3. Interesting choices. I can't imagine how I'd narrow my list down to two--every time I try to think of "best" I end up thinking of "more." But I'll work on this. And maybe I'll get to that latest Stephen King one soon. I could make a best books list just from his works!

  4. I know what you mean Sheila. But you are allowed five books,not just two, if that makes it any easier!

  5. With that recommendation, I need to read 11:22:63. I haven't read King in a while, and he's a huge influence on me. He got me reading fiction again after college, and I've enjoyed many of his novels. Time to again.

  6. You won't be sorry, Keith. It's a great book!