Alexander Averin

Sunday, 5 December 2010

World Book Night

Anyone who says they have only one life to live must not know how to read a book.  

A good book on your shelf is a friend that turns its back on you and remains a friend. 

A good book should leave you... slightly exhausted at the end.  You live several lives while reading it.  ~William Styron, interview, Writers at Work, 1958

Dear Diary,

I expect you’ve heard of the Million Book Giveaway to be held on World Book Night, March 5th 2011;  an attempt by publishers to promote the reading of books (and if I am to be cynical their own specific authors).  It is said to be a collaboration between booksellers, libraries, publishers and readers but I have heard nothing about it in our library service. They have come up with a list of 25 titles (see below) and want people to submit 100 words in praise of their favourite one in the hope of being picked as one of the 20,000 people chosen to give away 48 copies to folk who don’t normally read.

I am not against anything that promotes the reading of books but I would love to make my own list and feel sure I could pick books, real crackers……. titles that would be more likely to encourage people to read. I bet you could too?  This is a challenge to myself and I shall be working on it.  Why don’t you have a go too and send your suggestions to me?

Anyway these are the ones they have chosen.

Case Histories -Kate Atkinson
Margaret Atwood - The Blind Assassin
Alan Bennett - A Life Like Other People's
John le Carré - The Spy Who Came in From the Cold
Lee Child - Killing Floor
Carol Ann Duffy - The World's Wife
Mark Haddon - The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Seamus Heaney - Selected Poems
Marian Keyes - Rachel's Holiday
Mohsin Hamid - The Reluctant Fundamentalist
Ben Macintyre - Agent Zigzag
Gabriel García Márquez - Love in the Time of Cholera
Yann Martel - Life of Pi
Alexander Masters - Stuart: A Life Backwards
Rohinton Mistry - A Fine Balance
David Mitchell - Cloud Atlas
Toni Morrison - Beloved
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie - Half of a Yellow Sun
David Nicholls - One Day
Philip Pullman - Northern Lights
Erich Maria Remarque - All Quiet on the Western Front
CJ Sansom - Dissolution
Nigel Slater - Toast
Muriel Spark - The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
Sarah Waters - Fingersmith

I am a little sad because although they are all ’good’ books they are a tad predictable and what I call ’fashionable’.  I realise that they probably have to be contemporary but even so  none of them jump out at me demanding to be fought for and I enjoy a fight....... especially for a book……such is my passion.  As for the poetic inclusions of course I adore both Seamus Heaney and Carol Ann Duffy but I think the organisers could have chosen a wider view by picking an anthology of poetry.  I realise the publishers are putting a lot of money into the venture and  are hoping to recoup it in sales but overall I am disappointed……….. what do you think?

If you are still awake......... to whet your appetite I have dug out the BBC's Big Read Top 100 books which was compiled a few years ago - there are some grand titles here.. 

1. The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien
2. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
3. His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman
4. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, JK Rowling
6. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
7. Winnie the Pooh, AA Milne
8. Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell
9. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, CS Lewis
10. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë
11. Catch-22, Joseph Heller
12. Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë
13. Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks
14. Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier
15. The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger
16. The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame
17. Great Expectations, Charles Dickens
18. Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
19. Captain Corelli's Mandolin, Louis de Bernieres
20. War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy
21. Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell
22. Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone, JK Rowling
23. Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets, JK Rowling
24. Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban, JK Rowling
25. The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien
26. Tess Of The D'Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy
27. Middlemarch, George Eliot
28. A Prayer For Owen Meany, John Irving
29. The Grapes Of Wrath, John Steinbeck
30. Alice's Adventures In Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
31. The Story Of Tracy Beaker, Jacqueline Wilson
32. One Hundred Years Of Solitude, Gabriel García Márquez
33. The Pillars Of The Earth, Ken Follett
34. David Copperfield, Charles Dickens
35. Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl
36. Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson
37. A Town Like Alice, Nevil Shute
38. Persuasion, Jane Austen
39. Dune, Frank Herbert
40. Emma, Jane Austen
41. Anne Of Green Gables, LM Montgomery
42. Watership Down, Richard Adams
43. The Great Gatsby, F Scott Fitzgerald
44. The Count Of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas
45. Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh
46. Animal Farm, George Orwell
47. A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens
48. Far From The Madding Crowd, Thomas Hardy
49. Goodnight Mister Tom, Michelle Magorian
50. The Shell Seekers, Rosamunde Pilcher
51. The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett
52. Of Mice And Men, John Steinbeck
53. The Stand, Stephen King
54. Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy
55. A Suitable Boy, Vikram Seth
56. The BFG, Roald Dahl
57. Swallows And Amazons, Arthur Ransome
58. Black Beauty, Anna Sewell
59. Artemis Fowl, Eoin Colfer
60. Crime And Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
61. Noughts And Crosses, Malorie Blackman
62. Memoirs Of A Geisha, Arthur Golden
63. A Tale Of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
64. The Thorn Birds, Colleen McCollough
65. Mort, Terry Pratchett
66. The Magic Faraway Tree, Enid Blyton
67. The Magus, John Fowles
68. Good Omens, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
69. Guards! Guards!, Terry Pratchett
70. Lord Of The Flies, William Golding
71. Perfume, Patrick Süskind
72. The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, Robert Tressell
73. Night Watch, Terry Pratchett
74. Matilda, Roald Dahl
75. Bridget Jones's Diary, Helen Fielding
76. The Secret History, Donna Tartt
77. The Woman In White, Wilkie Collins
78. Ulysses, James Joyce
79. Bleak House, Charles Dickens
80. Double Act, Jacqueline Wilson
81. The Twits, Roald Dahl
82. I Capture The Castle, Dodie Smith
83. Holes, Louis Sachar
84. Gormenghast, Mervyn Peake
85. The God Of Small Things, Arundhati Roy
86. Vicky Angel, Jacqueline Wilson
87. Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
88. Cold Comfort Farm, Stella Gibbons
89. Magician, Raymond E Feist
90. On The Road, Jack Kerouac
91. The Godfather, Mario Puzo
92. The Clan Of The Cave Bear, Jean M Auel
93. The Colour Of Magic, Terry Pratchett
94. The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
95. Katherine, Anya Seton
96. Kane And Abel, Jeffrey Archer
97. Love In The Time Of Cholera, Gabriel García Márquez
98. Girls In Love, Jacqueline Wilson
99. The Princess Diaries, Meg Cabot
100. Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie
I'd love to hear your favourite(s),or if you do a blog on them send me a link and I will include it on my blog.

Bye for now,
PS Do go here today:
Mosaic Monday


Mark said...

I think the scheme has lots more positives than negatives, so I'm going to try and be generous about it. I would have chosen a different list, but then it is the publishers who are paying - overall I think their list is pretty good in the context of a giveaway

Vee said...

No James Herriot? Is he that far out of favor? Love his books. I'm so glad that "To Kill a Mockingbird" made the list of 100.

Thanks for visiting today... Yes, my Sunday comments are always closed so that readers can just pop in and pop out and be off to their own pursuits.

Frances said...

Cait, before I get on to book lists, let me tell you how much I love that full moon picture you've now got as your header. Sublime!

I do love to look at the sky at night as the moon grows!

Now. On to world book night. I have heard absolutely nothing about this over here in New York. Perhaps I will eventually, but odd not to have more publicity by now.

This afternoon, I had the treat of attending the annual Holiday Open House at our main branch of the New York Public Library. As always, it is a truly festive afternoon, with fun for children and adults, and Shhhhhsh does not get uttered. It's a noisy time!

As I get older, and have my own version of my favorite books and authors, I hope that I will be able to keep my reader's eyes and mind open to the treats offered by younger emerging authors.

As print continues to lose its power, as computer-powered writing forges ahead, I do wonder about how we will continue to find out about authors whose words will touch us.

Not enough room for all I'd want to tell you, in person should that possibility ever occur, about how I do hope that there will always be readers who appreciate writers from many times. xo

Susan said...

I so prefer the second list - and there are some books on there I must get you've got me thinking about my top books, I should make a list. Have to say that header photo is stunning.

Pipany said...

Hello Cait. I have to say that one of my favourites would be the wonderful Poldark novels by Winston Graham. I know the very popular programmes may make them seem not worth a look in but I have never met anyone who has read them that hasn't fallen in love with them. The characters truly are like old friends and the writing is just wonderful x

Americana Lady said...

Thank you for an interesting and valuable post! I am reading many historical, patriotic books at the moment. In a learning mode about the Founding Fathers and Mothers of America. Good reading to you! Joan

Yolanda said...

I am a book lover like you. I am glad to have found your blog.

Marian said...

Thanks for the 2 lists - book lists are great - I hadn't heard of either one. A few years ago I discovered the wonderful American writer Wallace Stegner (1909-1993). I have read a number of his books now and my favourite is "Angle of Repose". He seems to get overlooked on lists and I can't understand why.

CAMILLA said...

Hello Cait,

Thank you so much for the two lists of books. I love the quotes of Anon you have shared with us.

I too have not heard of world book night at my Library either.

Yes, wondering why Poetry books are not listed, I am a lover of Poems.


Eliza Deacon said...

for sure, some of those books on the list, are highly 'fashionable' aren't they. as in, all the best people have them on their shelves, because..well it just looks good doesn't it. i have a few (i hasten to add) but have read them, and found them really good. but, like you, there are so many more and i could also come up with a great list. my fave author, one of them at least, mark helprin and 'winters tale' - wow, there is a book. and anything by siri hustvedt. my book list could be V-E-R-Y long because I have too many favourites, that's the problem.