Ages ago (really, it was months now!) the lovely Jocelyn from The Reading Residence tagged me in her Fictional World meme… Here I am at last, better late than never! Do pop over here to find out more and see what books others love and recommend.
The first reason it has taken me so long to write this is that I honestly don’t know how to narrow down my answers, or even choose my favourites at all! Reading has always been my preferred pastime, very little (other than my family of course!) makes me happier than losing myself in a really good book.
The second is that all my books are currently in boxes, in Edinburgh! I suspect when they finally arrive in the US and I unpack them I will rediscover some old favourites :) It’s quite difficult to write this without my bookshelves in front of me…
If you have read my reasons for starting The Prompt, then you will understand the power that I see in words; how they can transport you to new worlds, teach you and inspire you.
I love to find a novel that can immerse me in an alternate reality; draw me into an adventure; gather me up in the arms of a love story; chill me and scare me; make me cheer for the hero and curse the villain.
I can, literally, lose myself in a book. Hours can pass without notice, conversations can happen around me unheard, I can forget to eat!
Jocelyn asked us a series of questions, and answering them has allowed me to spend some time in my favourite novels, reacquainting myself with my favourite authors, bliss :)
What were your favourite reads from your childhood?
I loved the Enid Blyton ‘…of Adventure’ books (Castle of Adventure, Ship of Adventure…) and Mallory Towers was also a firm favourite. I adored the Animals of Farthing Wood series by Colin Dann. I also remember vividly discovering that there was a sequel to The Hundred and One Dalmatians by Dodie Smith, The Starlight Barking, and being so excited!
There are always those books that defined your teen reads and stay with you – what were yours?
Judy Blume! I read all her books, over and over again. As a slightly awkward teen myself, I related to and understood her heroines. I lost myself in their stories, their troubles and their happy endings. I also started to develop my love for fantasy novels in the my late teens, and that love has stayed with me, which leads me nicely on the next question!
Who are your favourite authors currently?
I’ll start with fantasy authors as this is still, by far, my favourite genre. Brandon Sanderson is currently my absolute favourite author (in any genre). Even as a non-fantasy reader, I can’t imagine you not being captivated by his worlds and characters. I also love Raymond E. Feist and Katherine Kerr. I’ve recently discovered Mo Hayder’s crime novels, and my other favourite crime authors are Karin Slaughter, Karen Rose, PJ Tracy and Tess Gerritson. I always enjoy Iain Banks and his sci-fi alter ego, Iain M Banks; his death was a huge loss to the literary world. Christopher Brookmyre is another favourite.
Which 3 genres do you gravitate towards most often?
Obviously fantasy, both adult and YA, but my other two would probably be crime and sci-fi. Although horror, along with quite a lot of chick lit, does appear on my reading list too.
Can you choose your top titles from each of those genres?
This is impossible! I don’t know where to begin…
Brandon Sanderson: Way of Kings; this is an epic fantasy novel, which at 1280 pages was split into two parts for publication in the UK. I never want a good book to end, but I could honestly have gone on reading this book forever. The sequel was released back in March and is another lengthy read… I’m going to read it while I’m in the UK later this month, can’t wait to start it!
Raymond E. Feist: Magician; if you want to read some classic fantasy without getting bogged down in Tolkein (however brilliant The Lord of the Rings might be!) then Magician, and the subsequent novels, are a great place to start.
Veronica Roth: Divergent; the best YA series I’ve read in a long time, this is the first book in a trilogy. I’m a huge fan of YA dystopian books, and this is brilliant!
Karin Slaughter: Blindsighted; I’m mentioning this one as it’s her first book and I like to read series’ in order. Great crime novels, engaging characters and the series’ just keeps on improving.
Christopher Brookmyre: One Fine Day in the Middle of the Night; I actually struggled to choose just one title here, because I’ve loved all his books. His books mix crime, mystery and comedy and are incredibly entertaining, fast paced reads. I highly recommend you try one if you haven’t read any yet!
Iain M Banks: Consider Phlebas; this is the first of the Culture novels and although the books are each fairly stand alone, I always like to start at the beginning. These are quite intense and complex sci-fi books, but I find the writing style wonderfully fluent and easy to read.
And your least favourite genres?
To be honest, I’ll give any genre a go, but I have to admit I’ve never really enjoyed historical romantic fiction very much and I’m not keen on contemporary war novels (as opposed to fantasy battles!)… Moving away from fiction, I’m not a fan of biographies or ‘true crime’ type stuff.
Of the many, many fictional and fantastical worlds, where would you most like to visit?
Scadrial, where Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn novels are set, would be interesting. The world of Midkemia created by Raymond E. Feist in his Riftwar saga would also be exciting.
Everyone loves a villain, right?! Who would make your favourites list?
Well, I have to include Voldemort in this, don’t I?! Also, Hannibal Lector is a pretty interesting bad guy. And, Patrick Bateman in Bret Easton Ellis’ American Psycho is, trying to think of the right word, memorable?
Share the books that have had you sobbing?
Anything by Cecelia Ahern, especially PS. I Love You; and After You’d Gone by Maggie O’Farrell, which I highly recommend, even if it had me in tears from page 1!
And let’s end on a high! Which books leave a smile on your face, and maybe elicit a few laughs?!
Christopher Brookmyre’s novels have a dark humour that has on occasion made me laugh out loud. I have read some Sophie Kinsella and the like, and they are often quite entertaining in their ridiculousness. Jane Green is another who’s books have left me with a smile. Terry Pratchett’s Colour of Magic did have the tears pouring down my face! What really makes me smile though is a well developed, absorbing world and believable, engaging characters, not necessarily a book that makes me laugh out loud.
So, there you have it, a much edited and abridged version of my favourite reads! Believe me, it could have been much longer, I have really had to restrain myself :)
What are your favourite books? I’m always on the look out for a new author!
I know as soon as I hit publish on this I’m going to think of another half dozen that I should have included…!