Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Top Ten Tuesday

Well, I think this is likely to be an occasional feature rather than a regular one, but here we go - the first Top Ten Tuesday of 2010 :-) I thought I'd start with books, as reading is such an important part of my life! The thing is, there are so many ways I could go with this. Children's books? Christian books? Favourite books of all time? Classics? Genres? Etc, etc! I may come back to some of these other ideas another time, but for today, here are ten authors - more of a representative-of-my-varied-taste ten than a TOP ten, and the books shown are just representative of each author rather than necessarily being my favourite by each author, but having said all that, here we go:

From left to right:
  • Charles Dickens. He can get a bit mawkish at times, especially with his too-good-to-be-true female characters, but his storytelling and characterisation generally are fantastic.
  • Elinor M Brent-Dyer. She mostly wrote children's books, and mostly school stories; there are 58 books in her Chalet School series alone! Towards the end of the series she starts to repeat herself plotwise and makes heavy use of coincidences, and there are a few other slightly odd things that happen (girls not actually getting any older for several years, for example), but if you've got that far through her books you're a fan and will happily and affectionately accept these EBDisms!
  • Terry Pratchett. He is a very clever writer and very funny. He uses footnotes like no-one else can (though some have tried). I'm heartbroken that he's now suffering from Alzheimer's, and full of admiration for his fight against the illness and all he's done to raise awareness of it.
  • Bill Bryson. Another very funny writer! Much more than a travel writer, but he gives you a real sense of the places he's travelled to as well. I recognise some of the places he's described, and really want to visit many of the others.
  • Agatha Christie. I love how she weaves a plot; how it can be really difficult sometimes to work out 'whodunnit', but the clues are all there if you look back; the difference between Poirot and Miss Marple but their equal effectiveness; and being able to get the right answer fairly often when I read these!
  • Jane Austen. Probably my favourite author of all. And Pride and Prejudice is probably my favourite book of all time. I've reread it a number of times and watched the Colin Firth version many times too! I like Mansfield Park least of all, but I do tend to find that when I reread one Austen I want to read the others, so I usually do reread Mansfield Park while I'm in the Austen mood...
  • C.S.Lewis. His Narnia books are great (I'm sure I'll discuss them in more detail another time) but his Christian writings for adults are very challenging and encouraging. I recommend The Screwtape Letters in particular. They're written from a 'senior demon' to a 'junior demon', giving advice on leading a human astray. I usually find that when I read this I start off thinking what a fun read it is, I like this, oh, that bit was funny, then suddenly - ouch!! That struck home!
  • Freya North. I like lightweight chick lit. I like happy endings. I like to read something easy, especially when I'm busy. I like most of Freya North's books and they are easy to read, so she represents this genre for me.
  • Arthur Ransome. For his Swallows and Amazons series. These are such lovely, gentle, 'real' adventure stories! And having visited the Lake District last year, I can picture some of scenes now when I read. I also picked up a biography of him whle I was there, which was a very interesting read.
  • Martin Gardner. One of the finest mathematical writers, particularly recreational maths, which is one of my interests!
A bit of a variety, though I've got a couple of classics and a couple of children's books - I could probably have gotten even more variety if I'd thought about it! But it's not easy to narrow down to ten, you know...

So, who's your favourite author? Any recommendations for me?


Maria Ontiveros said...

Interesting list! I do like Terrry Pratchett ... so unique. From last year's book group,
I really liked The Help by Strout (or something like that), but it may be too American, in terms of theme.
Really disliked The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo... too violent for me.
I liked The Great Man, but the rest of my book group didn't.

Unknown said...

wow - what a great collection. I love the idea of top ten tuesday! not sure i have that many authors though i do love agatha christie too!! but also a fan of JK Rowling (i love to reread harry potter!) and jackie collins - again I reread these books all the time. Sometime I think I should broaden my readin horizon but i find the books so heavy going sometimes!!

scrappyjacky said...

I think my taste in books is probably too much on the violent side....think Kathy Reichs,Karen Rose.....but I do love Agatha Christie......and Bill Bryson is unsurpassed in his field....particularly love his book on the English language.
Love this Top 10 idea....which field next I wonder?

Mise said...

I'm a fellow Chalet School fan; they seemed so cosmopolitan and sophisticated when I was a child. I've definitely read all of them. I used to think I'd name my children after their characters, but somewhere along the way my loyalty faded.

JO SOWERBY said...

i loved mallory towers myself. all rather jolly hockey sticks. fave JA ia Persuasion.........so much pent up angst u could rip ur bodice just thinking about it. Love agatha, truly g8 crime fiction. also thomas hardy for depressing literature and terry prachett's one about the cat and his amazing rodents
Jo xx

The Scrappy Tree said...

Some great books there! Terry Pratchett is an absolute favourite :) so glad he brought out a new book in time for Christmas!

Ruth said...

I liked the Chalet School series but Enid Blyton's Mallory Towers series was my favourite. If you like Christian novels, you should try The Zion Covenant series by Bodie Theone ~ brilliant, they are like old friends. My #1 read ever is A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute.

Abi said...

These look like such a great collection. I love CS Lewis and the screwtape letters but I know what you mean about it hitting home sometimes. In response to maria's comment, my Mum gas just finished The Help and loved it so that is probs a good read. I love gerald Durrell's book, My family and other animals cos it makes me laugh so much and I am also discovering tess of the d'urbevilles which is too sad for words! Thanks for sharing this awesome collection! xxx

Amy said...

You've put up a couple of new authors here for me to try Mel.
I find narrowing down favourites extremely difficult so I think you have done very well here.
JA is on my list as well, and, I do really love P&P, but I'm a bit with Jo as well .... Persuasion has the BEST love letter in it of all time in my opinion!

furrypig said...

OOooh great idea top 10 authors. I love reading but have not read a single book this year so far! My fave book is the time travellers wife, also enjoyed 1000 splendid suns, love Thomas Hardy, Cathy Reichs getting into Patricia Cornwall also love any of the Stephanie Plum books think I have read them all!

Liberty :) said...

How is Harry Potter not in here??? My favourites are Harry Potter 1-7 and Twilight 1-3. Oh gosh please don't make me grow up!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I love reading about book favorites. You have a couple of authors here I'm unfamiliar with, so I'll be checking them out! I have a few lists of 10 ready to go on my blog as well! :-)

My favorite books from the last couple of years include People of the Book by Gwendolyn Brook, The Book Thief by Zusak, & Black and White by Shapiro (fiction), Team of Rivals by Goodwin & This I Believe (vol. 1 and 2)-nonfiction. These book all "stuck with me." So did Olive Kitteridge, although it was a bit dark. For light mystery, I just discovered a Canadian mystery writer, Louise Penny, who I am really enjoying.

Nadine said...

I have always loved enid blyton
from young (: I still read her
malory towers and famous five
series ^^

I also like amy tan, lee weatherly
and.. well, that's about it. I still
love kids' books, somehow D:

Carrie said...

Thanks for sharing! Always love to see book favorites!

Carrie said...

Thanks for sharing! Love seeing people's favorite books, esp ideas for kids!

Lizzie said...

Great list of authors. Some I don't recognise - must investigate!
I have just about every one of the Chalet School books - most of them are the old, blue, hardback editions, though there are some 1970's paperbacks too. I'm only missing about two or three, to have the whole set. I have read them all, and used to wish I could have friends like Jo and her family!

I've read my Jane Austen novels to death too. And I read all the Malory Towers, St. Clare's, Naughtiest Girl, Famous Five, and lots of other Blyton books. Started reading the "Adventure" series to J. a couple of years ago, though we stopped bedtime stories when I was injured and couldn't sit up and hold a book!

Great list! Must check out the new authors. Thanks for sharing, Mel!

ComfyMom~Stacey said...

I just worked my way through the entire Discworld series this past fall. I'd read some of them a long time ago & forgotten how much I loved them.

I'm an historic mysteries fan though my preferred period changes from time to time. Right now it is the 1920s. I'm enjoying Carola Dunn & Kerry Greenwood's series

emhowl said...

I agree with most of your top ten though I only know Terry Pratchett from his interviews. I keep rereading Laura Ingalls Wilder, Mary Stewart and Libby Purves but I hated Swallows and Amazons. What about Elizabeth Enright?