I’ve written this post as part of Book Bloggers’ Appreciation Week (hosted by The Estella Society). Day 1 asks you to introduce yourself by listing five books that represent you as a person or your interests/lifestyle. It sort of piqued my interest so heres my contribution.
This may seem an eclectic selection but I’ve got wide reading tastes and read a lot of non fiction as well as novels. These are a mixture of favourite books and ones that influenced future reading. The major influences on my reading were my mothers love of books and the local library, in the days when a small library in a South Wales town in the 1960’s could offer you Balzac, John Updike and Brian Aldiss. I devoured them all.
Iain M Banks Excession
I read a lot of science fiction and fantasy and the late Iain M Banks is one of my favourites. This novel is set in his “Culture” universe. The anarcho-communist utopian society that is the setting for most of Bank’s books. I’ve read this four or five times and never tire of it. It’s got a mysterious alien object, strange alien races and of course Bank’s infamous Ship Minds and their playful names. e.g. “It’s Character Forming.”
David Kynaston Tales of a New Jerusalem
This is a series of books telling the history of Britain from 1945-1979. So far there are three complete volumes. Austerity Britain 1945-51, Family Britain 1951-57 and Modernity Britain 1957-62. There is much use of diaries and Mass Observation entries that give you a real feel for the era. Being born in the early 1950s I have found these books a fascinating insight into how British society and culture developed and changed during the post war years.
Alfred Wainwright Guides to the Lake District Fells
In 1974 my then father in law showed me some super 8 films of his trips walking in the Lake District. He also showed me a series of hand drawn books that showed routes up every fell. I was enthralled and hooked at once and bought my own copies. This has led to a life long love of hill walking and the Lake District and many, many fantastic days in the hills.
The New Poetry (selected and introduced by A Alvarez)
Originally published in 1962 and bought by me, aged 14 in 1967. My mother loved poetry and we had some anthologies in the house. However, this was the collection that introduced me to more modern poets, Plath, Gunn, Larkin, and Hughes. Then there was the cover from a painting by Jackson Pollock, that screamed Different! Modern!
Elizabeth Jane Howard The Light Years
This is the first volume in the Cazalet series that consists of five titles, telling the story of one family through and after the Second World War. I really can’t remember how many times I’ve read the whole sequence, I seem to return to it every few years. Much of the storytelling is autobiographical and if you know anything of Elizabeth Jane Howard’s life then much will be familiar to you. The Light Years is set in 1937 leading up to the outbreak of war, and I love immersing myself in the life and loves of this family.