Fifteen top books

This was a “meme” thing via Facebork, and this cross posting was inspired by Mal Kiely at Team Gherkin. I thought it would be a good idea to put my top 15 in here and then check back with another list in a year or two. Will they be the same? How much overlap? Let’s give it a berl:
“Here are the rules: Don’t take too long to think about it. Fifteen books you’ve read that will always stick with you. They don’t have to be the greatest books you’ve ever read, just the ones that stick with you. First 15 you can recall in no more than 15 minutes.”
1. The Girl with the Dragon tattoo. Stieg Larsson. Terrific read- as was the sequel “The Girl who Played with Fire”. The girl is sort of Asperger’s Syndrome- bright, literal and finds it difficult to form truly close relationships. As well as this, she has endured a simply shocking childhood and recent past. Her adventures with a journalist, an industrialist and members of her ?family? are breathtaking. The book is very well written in its translation from the Swedish original- everyone I know is waiting with bated breath for the 3rd book in the trilogy. Unfortunately the author is dead and his dad is doing all the promotion- and doing a great job!
2. The Curious Incident of the the Dog in the Night Time. Mark Haddon. As I’ve said in various places, this book gives imho, the best insight into what it’s like being autistic/Asperger’s. Mind you, the public shouldn’t get the idea that autistic people are all intelligent and interesting- the large majority suffer debilitating intellectual and behavioural problems, as well as social oddities. I know this as I’ve mixed extensively with all levels of autistic people- a rare privilege.
3. Human Croquet. Kate Atkinson. A real psychological rollercoaster ride! This is a very quirky book- told in a matter-of-fact style and about bizarre people and happenings. Absolutely excellent.
4. Wuthering Heights. Emily Bronte. Another psychological thriller! Was one of my earliest introductions to psychopathology. I found it so interesting as a teen to delve into the whys and wherefores of Healthcliffe and Cathy’s behaviour! I probably have a different slant on this book to many other people…
5. Sons and Lovers. DH Lawrence. Wow- this was the best intro to Freud a kid could get. I read it over and over and wrote some startling essays on it to befuddle my teachers!
6. Tess of the D’Urbervilles. Thomas Hardy. Another good Freudian novel! Loved it- and loved Nastassia Kinsky in the screen version, even though the movie didn’t really explore the nuances of the book- how could it? Too much! The setting was amazing- both in book and movie.
7. The Ophiuchi Hotline. John Varley. Ahh.. a great piece of science fiction- so plausible yet impossible. The idea of a message link through space-time appealed greatly to me. Well told and not too long- unlike some of the scifi stuff around at the same time.
8. Lord of the Rings. JRR Tolkien. what can I say- impossibly complex and enthralling hero’s journey;(Go Mr Jung this time!)
9. To Say Nothing of the Dog. Connie Willis. More space-time. Such a wonderful tongue-in-cheek historical romance, scientific, insane dash to put the bishop’s bird stump in the right place so time can be conserved and the world saved from…what?? Huge and un-putdownable.
10. Waterland. Graham Swift. So scenic- I really felt as though I was in the Norfolk Broads all the time I was reading it. Another big psychological schamozzle- I find psych in everything!
11. The Alienist. Caleb Carr. Hehe- an alienist is the forerunner of the psychologist/psychiatrist. Here is a grand tale set in New York a century or so ago. The chief protagonist uses his own brand of forensic psychology to chase a killer. Very Jack the Ripper.
12. Fugitive Pieces: A Novel. Anne Michaels. Written like poetry- and apparently Anne is a poet as well as a novelist. The characters and their stories are told as though the people are members of her family- seems so deep and insightful of the human condition.
13. The Name of the Rose. Umberto Eco. Fascinating- I don’t know how this guy managed to link up so much history, science and literature in just one volume- and make a murder mystery out of it as well. The whole universe whould read this book. If, see the movie- Christian Bail is your man as the young scholar-monk!
14. The Shadow of the Wind. Carlos Ruiz Zafon. Yumm.
15. Fall on Your Knees. Anne Marie MacDonald. Breathtakingly tragic psychology of a family and their hangers on. I will never forget this book.


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