Everyone loves a good list, right? Lists and stories, so what’s better than a list of my top 8 all-time favourite books.
My top 8:
1. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep (Philip K Dick)
The great slump-inducing void that came with finishing this is something that’s stuck with me. A book that can give you an actual physiological reaction and need to stare into space for a while is a powerful thing.
2. Rebecca (Dauphne Du Maurier)
The imagery – from Monte Carlo to Manderley – the gut-wrenching social anxiety and fear of not being enough, the unavoidable presence of Rebecca haunting the nameless narrator. Every time I re-read Rebecca I get sucked into the story and find myself Team Narrator and her new beige life talking about cricket. I get sucked back in EVERY TIME, even though the logical part of me knows that Maxim is a bellend who doesn’t have the best track record as to how he treats women and that Rebecca herself was railing against traditionalism and the expectations of being what others wanted her to be.
It’s also set in Cornwall, where I grew up and which still has a firm hold on a big portion of my heart.
3. The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)
Yes! A man wrongfully arrested and locked up for 17 years seeks revenge against those who screwed him over. But hmm, is ruining other people’s lives really going to get those years back or right those wrongs?
4. The Handmaid’s Tale, The Blind Assassin, Alias Grace, The Year of the Flood (Margaret Atwood)
…it’s impossible for me to pick just one Margaret Atwood novel. Engaging characters with interesting voices and a real mix of genres. I bloody love her and would recommend you have a go with some of her stuff, if you haven’t already.
5. Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)
Wonderfully weird and nonsensical. This book sums up the ridiculousness of war and of being human.
6. Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)
A Utopian society in a world ruled by pleasure… the parallels to our own society seem to be growing – at least if you go by people’s Instagram feeds, anyway.
7. The Bone Clocks (David Mitchell)
I preferred this to the Booker Prize-winning Cloud Atlas. Both are told from numerous different points of view and, for me at least, TBC is more accessible as it follows a number of stories which are all linked by one person who I had real affection for.
8. Wives and Daughters/ North and South (Elizabeth Gaskell)
Life, social class, and romance in 19th Century England. Glorious angsty romance which makes your chest ache.
Those of you with eagle eyes (or just regular eyes) might have noticed that technically there are more than 8 books here… in fact there are 12, but hey who the hell uses a ‘top 8’ ranking system anyway.
Interested in reading any of these?
Have you read any of the books I’ve listed? You can let me know what you thought of them, either in the comments below or on Twitter @wildingwriting. Or you haven’t already read them and if I’ve piqued your interest with my stellar descriptions, numbers 3 and (both of) 8 are available as Wordsworth Classics (which are the versions I have) – they’re around £2.00. (Although I hold no accountability if you hate any of them).
If reading this has got you interested in the sort of stuff I write, I’ve got one flash fiction story up at the mo, available here. Or maybe you’re interested in how reading reviews and summaries like this might influence the opinion you form, you can read more about this here.