Saturday 14 December 2013

THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN - a year in older books

A couple of weeks ago, I posted a selection of my favourite reads of 2013 from the new and newish books I've enjoyed.

Today, I'm posting some of my favourite reads that includes books that were written a while ago, in some cases quite a while.

Among other things, I think is shows me that my habits have changed slightly. Turned back a little to where they might have been in the past. Over the previous 5 years I'd read little but crime fiction, and here there's been a little deviation. I didn't make a conscious decision to vary my diet, it just seemed to be a natural path to take. It's a path I've really loved being on and can't wait to see where I get to next.

OK. No particular order.

If you're like me, you may not have bothered to read this because you know the story from the screen or from the number of times you hear the book discussed. Not reading it is a mistake, I promise you that. It's only when working through the wonders of the story-telling that you can fully appreciate the genius here and the reasons for the story's longevity.

I thought I knew this one too. Again, it was a thrill to read the words on the page. There's such a lot to digest and think about and it's rather special.

Possibly the most unsettling book I've read. Very dark and visceral. Also incredibly told and the boys at the Factory have to be met. I'll be back.

Remember that Carry On line, 'I tried it once. I didn't like it'? I'm glad that's not who I am. I tried a Harry Crews. Didn't like it much. But people kept pointing me in his direction and I dived into Feast Of Snakes. Really brilliant stuff.

When I think of my favourite authors, I'm not sure William Boyd gets much of a look in. Thing is, he probably is one of my faves.  Brazzaville Beach tells of conflict within a scientific community as they study primates. There's a civil war, madness, sex and human despair and nothing is ever ordinary. 

I wanted to put in 2 SE Hinton's, but that would have taken up an extra slot. Profound, simple in the telling and a fantastic story. Gangs and growing up with a page-turning energy that's hard to beat. I loved the way the film (one that stamped itself hard into my psyche) took so many of the lines directly from the book, which meant I was never disappointed.

A man who has sworn that he won't speak until he's the champion cockfighter stays silent for a very long time. Gripping from the off. Fantastic.

For light relief, this is so funny it'll make you laugh out loud on a very regular basis. Number 8, I know, but it gave me so much pleasure.

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