Which books have you read over the past decade that have stayed with you? What are your favorites? If you've always kept a books-read list, is there a theme to what you end up liking the most?
Grass - Sheri S. Tepper
Probably my favourite science fiction book ever, and I only read it for the first time about four years ago. A world completely covered in grass which has been settled by some not very pleasant people. And there is something about 'the hunt' that you immediately realise is all wrong but you're not told what. I've never read a book with a more well defined sense of extreme menace. Brilliant.
The Sparrow - Mary Doria Russell
A strange mix of religion and science fiction - but it works. A team of scientists and explorers headed by a RC priest go off on an expedition to the planet Rakhat. This one could be summarised by the phrase ' They meant well...' A brilliant 'first contact' kind of warning.
Assassin's Apprentice - Robin Hobb
I've only read the first three books in Hobb's nine strong 'Farseer, Liveship Traders and Tawny Man' sequence but even based just on those I still believe she's the one of the best fantasy writers around at the moment. Her world building and story telling abilities are second to none, imo.
The Hollow Kingdom - Clare B. Dunkle
All three books in this trilogy are excellent but I particularly love this first book. I've a thing about elves and goblins anyway but this YA fantasy with a touch of romance where the 'hero' is a very strange looking goblin who kidnaps the heroine in order to marry her, was just perfect. I loved the humour and the underground setting and well... just everything about it really.
The Harper Hall trilogy - Anne McCaffrey
I love all the Pern books but this particular little trilogy is one I read over and over. It's the story of Menolly who is a talented singer and musician, but on Pern girls never get to be harpers. Betrayed by her father, she runs away to a coastal area where she discovers tiny dragons and teaches them to sing. These books are quite simply perfection.
The Island of Adventure - Enid Blyton
It might seem odd to choose an Enid Blyton book for this meme but I believe in being honest and this lovely little book has stayed with me since I read it. Blyton conjures up such a wonderful feeling for the Scottish Isles, where it's set, that I haven't been able to get the atmosphere out of my head.
The Historian - Elizabeth Kostova
Vampires, history, East European travel... what more could a person want? Loved it.
Frederica - Georgette Heyer
I could name any one of a dozen Regencies by Heyer but Frederica is the one I reread the most. I love its mix of a romance between the older man, Alverstoke, and the younger Frederica, and the way her younger siblings and a mad dog complicate the issue. Joyous.
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn - Betty Smith
Francie Nolan's story. Born into poverty in turn of the century New York I found her story of survival completely inspirational. Beautifully told.
Saplings - Noel Streatfield
WW2 story of how a well-to-do family fell to pieces as a direct result of the war. I worried endlessly about the children while I was reading it.
The Mist - Stephen King
This longer short story tells how a strange mist envelopes a town and a man and his son get trapped in a supermarket with a group of people. What's outside? And why is it trying to get in? Probably the scariest thing I've ever read - I just don't look at mist in the same way since I read this...
Lost Lands, Forgotten Stories
- Alexandra Pratt
The author follows in the footsteps of Mina Hubbard who made a 600 mile journey into the interior of Labrador in 1905 to restore the reputation of her dead husband. Ms Pratt canoes up river with a Native American as a guide and the resultant descriptions of scenery and happenings and discussions on Indian history and the future of the province, with her guide, are just fantastic. I want to go Labrador but realise it's never gonna happen.
Stargazing: Memoirs of a Lighthouse Keeper - Peter Hill
An account of the author's six months spent on lighthouses when he was a student - the people he met, lighthouse routines, cogitations etc. There is just something wonderful about this book.
My Family and Other Animals - Gerald Durrell
Durrell's account of his boyhood on Corfu with his eccentric family. Hard to get the atmosphere of Corfu out of your head once you've read it.
I'm sure there are others I could add to this list - *many* more in fact - but I'll stop here before the list gets completely out of hand. So, is there a theme to the books that stay with me? Erm... I seem to be keen on sci and fantasy, but I already knew that. Truthfully, I don't think there is pattern... I'm an electic reader and I think this list is evidence of it.