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Thursday, September 17, 2009

A Few Of My Favourite Books

After my post about reading, I said I would mention a few of my favourite books.  Reading matter is subjective.  There are books to cover every genre; from classic novels to biographies; educational to murder mystery.

Usually, once you have an interest in a particular subject, or type of story, you tend to stick with the same.

There will be some types of book that hold no interest at all; for me, I don't like horror, so stories by Stephen King (for example) are not in my house.  (Although I have watched some film adaptations - The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile, for example).

Then there's the author.  Once again, when I find an author I enjoy, and the style I like, I tend to go back and read the entire back catalogue.  It's exciting when I discover someone new, or realise I've been missing out by not reading them.

A classic example of this, for me, recently, was when I read my first Ian Rankin.  I haven't been a Rebus fan, however, I remember being in Tesco, and another customer saw me holding the book "Exit Music".
He suggested that it was very good and, based on that encounter and recommendation, I bought it.  I have since bought more Ian Rankin novels.

Give me a good police procedural story, or thriller, or action/adventure, and I'll spend hours immersed in the story. 
Michael Connelly and Peter James are a couple of my regulars; indeed the new Michael Connelly, "Nine Dragons" is due out at the beginning of October.

I'm not a massive fan of auto-biographies.  I find them to be self pompous, as the author speaks of nothing but themselves.  On the other hand, biographies are very different.

These are written by others, sometimes without the knowledge or approval of their 'subject'.  However, they're more interesting, as they are written without personal interest involvement. 
They are more subjective.

My favourite is about Steven Spielberg.  Writing about someone who is at the pinnacle of their career, and is as powerful as he is, can be difficult to get 'both sides' of the same person.  However, Joseph McBride manages it, and the information and story about one of the most influential film directors, is captivating.

Other great reads are by Tess Gerritsen; who as a former MD, turned to crime writing whilst on maternity leave.  The beauty of her stories is that they are all medical based, which is a twist on the standard police investigations.

A recent favourite of mine are the Jack Reacher novels.  I've read them all.  Created by Lee Child, these are the stories of a former officer with the US Military Police.  With no passport and no belongings (except his toothbush) and just a cash card, he traverses the US, somehow managing to cause a great deal of trouble as he solves local problems.  They usually end up in carnage, but they're good fun, and true escapism.

All of Dan Browns' books have proved to be a good read; although "Deception Point" I found to be the weakest.  His latest, "The Lost Symbol", was released on Tuesday, and so far is living up to the hype.  It's become the fastest selling hardback in the UK, with more that 300,000 copies purchased in the first 36 hours.  A lot of people are obviously hoping this will be good.  So far so good.

Finally, for now, I return to Agatha Chrisite; where I began my adult reading life.  No-one has managed to eclipse her as the Queen of Crime; in my opinion.  Her simple stories have that 'je ne sais quoi' and very endearing characters; especially in Miss Marple and Hercules Poirot.

I said I'd list some favourites, which I now realise is difficult, because it's usually the author you follow, but I said I would , so, in no particular order:
That was a whistle-stop tour of my reading habits.  And I apologise for not being specific about favourites.  However, I decided it's much too difficult to single out one book.

I'm not sure what it tells you, but I hope you enjoyed it.

Postscript: Since writing this, I thought I'd also touch on audio-books.  Being stuck in the car, morning and evening, I have recently started listening to books.  It's a great way to while away a journey, and if the voice is right, the story really comes to life.
Some of the audio-books I've listened to include Michael Connellys' "The Lincoln Lawyer" and "The Scarecrow".  Most recently "The Book Thief" by Marcus Zusak - absolutely fantastic.  I'm currently listening to Harlen Cobens' "Long Lost"
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