Sunday, July 4, 2010

How the Quality of My Reading Has Improved

After having just typed up the books that I have read over the past five years, I had a little giggle at how awful my preferred reading was back in 2005.  I would only generally read horror, Stephen King and Clive Barker were my absolute favourites.  I do actually have one book case dedicated to those authors, and have read just about every book each has written.  However, there were two books that stood out from the rest:

1.  Matt Reilly I was introduced to by a second hand book dealer when I was looking for something to read on my way to Perth.  He suggested Ice Station, and it was definitely a very fast paced book.  Although  not a huge fan of Matt Reilly I did go to see him at our local library a couple of years ago and his enthusiasm for his work was very contagious. As a person, I liked him very much.  He's very easy to read and heaps of fun, and he acknowledges that this was his appeal. When I got my book signed he suggested I sold it on e-bay as the cover was a rare one and he hadn't seen it outside of the USA.  However, it's on my 'shelf of fame' in my bedroom with my other signed books.

2. Friday Night Lights was given to me by a friend's mother to read.  It was about American Football in a Texas High School.  It was absolutely fascinating.

These two books made me realise that there were some other enjoyable reads outside of the Horror Genre.  But,  how was I going to make my choice from all those books out there?  The answer was: join a a book club.

I contacted a local bookclub and the Club Secretary dropped off Eucalyptus by Murray Bail.  From then on my reading began to expand and I never looked back.  I stayed with the book club for two and half years, but it started to become very serious and I didn't enjoy it as much as I wanted to so the solution was to start up my own club: Caffeine and Chapters.   My daughter came up with the name and it is very apt.  We meet up over dinner and/or coffee and just talk books ...... and movies..... etc.

The highlights of my reading has been:

Catch 22 - Joseph Heller.
This was so funny.  I saw the movie first and never understood it.  Once I'd read the book I saw the movie a totally different way and it's brilliant.  A fantastic read, something he was never able to match with future work.

Cryptonomicon - Neal Stephenson
I read this whilst laid up on my partner's couch suffering from viral labrynthitis.  This was amazing, and fascinating  Two parallel stories each with a foot in the basis of truth. 

Pattern Recognition - William Gibson
This is the author who coined the phrase 'Cyberspace'.  His novels were years ahead of their time (Neuromancer etc).  I especially liked Pattern Recognition - the characters were quite unforgettable.

The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkein
It was a relief to finally read this novel, I had wanted to for years but thought it would be out of my league.  It's a beautiful story of friendship.

W. Somerset Maugham & Milan Kundera
Anything by both these authors.  They are like old friends with whom you can sit in an armchair and have a cup of tea with.

Tim Winton - Cloudstreet
I didn't want this book to finish.  Set in Perth, it was a wonderful off beat story of two dysfunctional families who live together.

Salman Rushdie - Shalimar The Clown
I love the humour, the colour, the language - Rushdie gives it all.

Memoirs of a Geisha - Athur Golden
I could not put this book down.  It was part of my book club theme otherwise I wouldn't have bothered to read it. I absolutely loved it.  (The movie was a total let down).

House of Leaves - Mark Z Danielewki
This must be one of the most unusual and creepy books ever written.

There have been many downsides also!

Stephanie Myer - Twilight Series
I've read three out of four, but really whilst Rushdie gives you everything, she gives you nothing.  The only thing is I need to know how it ends.....

Naked Lunch - William S Burroughs
Why is this on the 1001 list?? It was absolute tripe.  I hated it.

Moby Dick - Herman Melville
Sorry to say it but this was a real yawn.  It was more like a dictionary on whales and whaling.  In this case the movie was much better!

The Diary of Ellen Rimbauer - Joyce Reardon
Based on Rose Red by Stephen King - I wish I hadn't read it.  It was awful.

Well, it's bedtime and I've still got to make up my pack lunch and iron something for tomorrow..........

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