So anyway inspired by My Life in Books here are my five offerings that have inspired me, entertained me and got me to where I am.
It would be very tempting to pick an Enid Blyton Famous Five novel since I loved these as a child BUT the one book memory that is so clearly etched in my mind is Bilbo and Dwarfs going up the side of the mountain after Smaug's Treasure in JRR Tolkien's The Hobbit.
Moving on not many more years we come to Richard Adams' Watership Down yes the story of talking bunnies. But it's not all sweetness and light. Adams' creates some memorably dark images and I can still see in my mind the skeletal images of tree roots and Bigwort defending a tunnel against General Woundwort.
And so we move on and there are any number of books I could choose but my third.?
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I have always enjoyed Holmes, there have been many fictional detectives but you can keep your Poirots I'm a Baker Street Boy! Doyle's stories capture a different age you can almost touch the late Victorian age. Go into any National Trust Victorian property with cluttered rooms and you can sense Holmes and not forget the good Dr Watson. The stories are for the most part 20 pages but Doyle captures an ambience and the relationship between the brilliant Holmes and his foil Dr Watson (brilliant portrayed by David Burke and Edward Hardwicke). The stories are not all about the great and the good or even murders. One story, The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle, comes about over a stolen goose! The master!
I am seldom without a book but when I was working in Romford I found myself sans book. I wandered in WH Smith's and just out was a copy of Doomsday Book by Connie Willis. Now I had read and not enjoyed a short story of Willis but I was without a book and this had won loads of science fiction awards and it was a time travel story and sounded interesting. I expected to not like it and LOVED it.
Young historian Kivrin Engle is sent back in time and arrives at the time of the Black Death 20 years later than was intended. It shows her struggles with the language (the version of middle english she has learnt is different to the local version), the clothes they have sent her back in are way too fine and that here she is a woman who can read and write at her time where it was very unusual. It's incredibly bleak as Kivrin has to watch so many people die and also very moving.
Jane Austen - Pride & Prejudice. WHAT? it's a classic! Well when I was at school I was forced to read Emma. As an arrogant 15 year old I dismissed Austen out of hand as Mills & Boon fiction. We roll forward many years and I bought my friend Min the video of Sense & Sensibility she LURVES Austen and raised her eye brows when I said I'd watch it but probably 10 minute chunks was all I could endure. And and you now what? I enjoyed it and also enjoyed Andrew Davis adaptation of P&P.
I've read Sense and it was quite good but P&P is different. In the adpatations its easy to see why Darcy should like Elizabeth Bennet. Keira Knightly is far too pretty and Jennifer Ehle has her pneumatic chest BUT in the books we aren't distracted by such things and Elizabeth's wit and intelligence shine through and you can see why Darcy is really attracted to her. It is, and Min will be tutting at me saying I told you so, a really really good book and she tells me Mansfield Park is better!
These aren't the best books I'v'e ever read but they fit best! I will admit they I really agonised over leaving out The Time Machine by H G Wells and The Caves of Steel by Isaac Asimov!
Anyone care to give there's?