Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Books I should have read, but didn’t.


This is the one list that plagues me on Goodreads, on my bookshelf and in any bookshop – especially when I am asked if I enjoyed one of these titles.  Oh, you can imagine the despised looks from my esteemed colleagues when admitting, rather timidly, that I have not read the below ten novels that should have paved my reading career.  After this slight admission, they give me that look, you know THAT look, of ‘Shame, she faked it till she made it in this industry’ – pity. That is the look.
I always figured the time would present itself when I indeed NEEDED to read one of these books, perhaps it will when my the dark stained wooden shelves are my only solace in my old age.
 
So before you judge me, I want you to know that I am fully aware of the ‘missing’ factor I experience everytime these books pop up... just so you know.
 
 
Magician by Raymond E. Feist

At Crydee, a frontier outpost in the tranquil Kingdom of the Isles, an orphan boy, Pug, is apprenticed to a master magician—and the destinies of two worlds are changed forever.

Suddenly the peace of the Kingdom is destroyed as mysterious alien invaders swarm the land. Pug is swept up into the conflict but for him and his warrior friend, Tomas, an odyssey into the unknown has only just begun.

Tomas will inherit a legacy of savage power from an ancient civilization. Pug’s destiny is to lead him through a rift in the fabric of space and time to the mastery of the unimaginable powers of a strange new magic.
 
The Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R Tolkien
 

One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them. In ancient times the Rings of Power were crafted by the Elven-smiths, and Sauron, The Dark Lord, forged the One Ring, filling it with his own power so that he could rule all others. But the One Ring was taken from him, and though he sought it throughout Middle-earth, it remained lost to him. After many ages it fell, by chance, into the hands of the hobbit, Bilbo Baggins. From his fastness in the Dark Tower of Mordor, Sauron's power spread far and wide. He gathered all the Great Rings to him, but ever he searched far and wide for the One Ring that would complete his dominion.
On his eleventy-first birthday Bilbo disappeared, bequeathing to his young cousin Frodo the Ruling Ring and a perilous quest --- to journey across Middle-earth, deep into the shadow of the Dark Lord, and destroy the Ring by casting it into the Cracks of Doom. The Lord of the Rings tells of the great quest undertaken by Frodo and the Fellowship of the Ring: Gandalf the Wizard, Merry, Pippin, and Sam, Gimli the Dwarf, Legolas the Elf, Boromir of Gondor, and a tall, mysterious stranger called Strider.
 
Life of Pi by Yann Martel
 
Life of Pi is a fantasy adventure novel by Yann Martel published in 2001. The protagonist, Piscine Molitor "Pi" Patel, a Tamil boy from Pondicherry, explores issues of spirituality and practicality from an early age. He survives 227 days after a shipwreck while stranded on a boat in the Pacific Ocean with a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker.
 
The Shining by Stephen King
 

 Danny was only five years old but in the words of old Mr Halloran he was a 'shiner', aglow with psychic voltage. When his father became caretaker of the Overlook Hotel his visions grew frighteningly out of control.

As winter closed in and blizzards cut them off, the hotel seemed to develop a life of its own. It was meant to be empty, but who was the lady in Room 217, and who were the masked guests going up and down in the elevator? And why did the hedges shaped like animals seem so alive?

Somewhere, somehow there was an evil force in the hotel - and that too had begun to shine...
 
 
Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café by Fannie Flagg
 It's first the story of two women in the 1980s, of gray-headed Mrs. Threadgoode telling her life story to Evelyn, who is in the sad slump of middle age. The tale she tells is also of two women -- of the irrepressibly daredevilish tomboy Idgie and her friend Ruth, who back in the thirties ran a little place in Whistle Stop, Alabama, a Southern kind of Cafe Wobegon offering good barbecue and good coffee and all kinds of love and laughter, even an occasional murder.
 
 The Catcher in the Rye by J.D Salinger

Since his debut in 1951 as The Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield has been synonymous with "cynical adolescent." Holden narrates the story of a couple of days in his sixteen-year-old life, just after he's been expelled from prep school, in a slang that sounds edgy even today and keeps this novel on banned book lists. It begins:

"If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don't feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth. In the first place, that stuff bores me, and in the second place, my parents would have about two hemorrhages apiece if I told anything pretty personal about them."

His constant wry observations about what he encounters, from teachers to phonies (the two of course are not mutually exclusive) capture the essence of the eternal teenage experience of alienation.
 
Animal Farm by George Orwell
 Tired of their servitude to man, a group of farm animals revolt and establish their own society, only to be betrayed into worse servitude by their leaders, the pigs, whose slogan becomes: "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others." This 1945 satire addresses the socialist/ communist philosophy of Stalin in Russia.
 
Going Solo by Roald Dahl
 
The second part of Roald Dahl's extraordinary life story. Here he is grown up: first in Africa, then learning to be a wartime fighter pilot. It is a story that is funny, frightening and full of fantasy - as you would expect.
 
The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells

When Siddalee Walker, oldest daughter of Vivi Abbott Walker, Ya-Ya extraordinaire, is interviewed in the New York Times about a hit play she's directed, her mother gets described as a "tap-dancing child abuser." Enraged, Vivi disowns Sidda. Devastated, Sidda begs forgiveness, and postpones her upcoming wedding. All looks bleak until the Ya-Yas step in and convince Vivi to send Sidda a scrapbook of their girlhood mementos, called "Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood." As Sidda struggles to analyze her mother, she comes face to face with the tangled beauty of imperfect love, and the fact that forgiveness, more than understanding, is often what the heart longs for.
 
 Time to confess your unread reads...
 

3 comments:

violininavoid said...

Of the books on your list that I've read:
I honestly don't think you're missing anything with Magician. Unless you love epic fantasy, don't waste your time.
LOTR: it's a classic, but it's also extremely long-winded. If you want to read the seminal text in the epic fantasy genre then sure.
Life of Pi: so, so boring, and I thought Pi was a horrible little shit. Also, a lot of animals being killed painfully. The ending is the only thing I found interesting.
Animal Farm: one of the saddest books I've ever read. Very good, and quite short, but 1984 is probably more interesting for modern society (it's where Big Brother comes from, for example).

I'd also like to read The Shining, but I've read several other King novels, so not too fussed about not having read that one. Not interested in the others.

Not sure what I'd put on my list - something by Murakami, Middlesex, a few major sff novels.

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Teresa Seabra said...

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