30 day book challenge: Day 1!

Wow, nothing like a tricky question to start a month of book questions. Today I will be telling you my top ten favourite books of all time! The top five wasn’t too hard, because I made up my mind about most of those a long time ago. All the other positions were very much up for grabs. I’ve been very ruthless and left out childhood books, since I will talk about those at a later date! Without further ado, here they are (top 5 in order, 6-10 not so much):

1. A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess

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This has been top of my list of all time favourites for a long time. Why? Quite simply, I love the language in it. I admit the way Alex narrates may not be for everybody but I can’t get enough of it. Though alien at first, you quickly pick up the meanings and I loved that! I’ve always loved different languages and learning them, and just writing this is making me want to re-read this brilliant book. It’s a story of Alex and his ‘droogs’ and the ‘ultra-violence’ they commit and what happens after that. I don’t want to spoil the rest if you’ve never read it!

2. High Fidelity – Nick Hornby

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Another long standing favourite and top of the list until I read A Clockwork Orange in 2005. It is a book about love, rejection, music, records, mix tapes, lists of top fives and how all of these shape your life. This book is responsible for countless hours spent devising and making mix tapes for myself and friends; and further hours listing, both in conversation with others and in writing, my top five of anything and everything. It is the reason I knew my top five all time favourite books already! If you’ve never read this or seen the film, what are you waiting for!

3. The Time Travellers Wife – Audrey Niffeneger

Looking back, I was unfairly rude to this book. Before I read it I judged it loudly and heartily (to my mum who was trying to convince me to read it) based solely on the title. A few pages in, I was proved wrong. This book was so gripping, and so unlike anything else I had ever read; one of those where you wish you’d had the idea yourself! So, do not judge, just read. An amazing story of love through time and such vividly drawn characters to really care about. I will probably never watch the film though. I just don’t think I could stand it not being as I imagined.

4. The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold

I didn’t like the film, and the book still makes me incredibly sad, but it has been in the top five a long time, and deserves its place there. It is beautifully written, and has such a well crafted storyline and interesting viewpoint.

5. A Million Little Pieces – James Frey

Not exactly a memoir, not completely fiction either, James Frey writes about drugs and his life recovering in rehab. I haven’t yet read any of Frey’s other novels, and this isn’t the type of book I usually enjoy. I don’t know what else to say, I just thought it was great! Not for the faint hearted though, Frey’s details and descriptions are graphic to say the least.

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6. The Hanging Garden – Ian Rankin

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I’ve never quite found anything that matches up to the way Ian Rankin writes crime in his Rebus series. Believe me, I have read a lot of crime novels, but no one writes the way he does. It’s the descriptions, the characters, the carefully crafted plots, but mostly it’s the writing itself. In my opinion this is by far the best to feature Inspector Rebus. Somehow poignant yet still gritty.

7. The Passage – Justin Cronin

Blew me away. I’ve written about this elsewhere. There is so much to it, so may threads to join together and every part is just so well written and gripping. Post apocalyptic with a difference. It has made me think about it again and again, which must be the sign of a good book.

8. The Hunger Games Trilogy – Suzanne Collins

I feel like I have just cheated but these three books (The Hunger Games, Catching Fire and Mockingjay) just work so well together as a whole that it is hard to separate them. If I had to choose I think it would be Mockingjay on the list. I loved every moment of these books and craved more about Katniss and Peeta even after it was all over.

9. Favourite Sherlock Holmes Stories – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Absolute classics of crime literature; these stories filled my childhood as my mum used to read them to me and my brother. I haven’t chosen one of the stand alone novels, though I do love them. This collection of ten stories works so well because Conan Doyle selected them as his top favourites. A joy to read.

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10. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – J.K. Rowling

Such a hard choice for the final spot. There were a lot of candidates, but this sneaks in as probably the book I have re-read most times in my life. I have a huge soft spot for the time turner idea and I really like the characters.

Now I feel strangely guilty for the books that didn’t make it. I’m sure I will mention them elsewhere in the next few weeks of the challenge. I fear tomorrow may involve even more thinking!

Check out my fellow blogger Flower Faerie Lives Life who is also starting the 30 day challenge today.

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