ot invited/provoked to do a game on FaceBook recently (you can follow it on my Early Retyrement Book Group. The deal was that every day for ten days, you’d post a cover of a book you loved without comment. Well, I obeyed that – inside the realm of Facebook). But here, I can say what I want about them. So here’s the list in order of appearance, along with my comments.
Day 1: War of the Worlds: When I was a kid, this one opened up reading for me. I’d never heard of a story where the hero just tried to live and not win against hopeless odds. H.G. Wells captivated me with his story. The destruction of the ThunderChild broke my wee little heart – I had to read that chapter twice to make sure I’d read what I’d read. The Martins could fly! The world was doomed!
Day 2: The Shack: Everyone asks how God can exist in a world with so much swirling evil. Well, this book took it head on. A man looses his daughter to a serial killer and then gets a chance to confront God about it. Of all the religious books religious friends missionaried me with, this one really had an impact. I dare you.
Day 3: Goshawk Squadron: As a young men, reading this was a thrill ride. I didn’t know people could be this shitty. And I didn’t know you could describe flying so perfectly. Exciting, sad, depressing, everything a good war tale should be. And, hey, they fly SE5as, my personal favorite!
Day 4: The Scar: This is the book that introduced me to the strange worlds (and writings) of China Miéville. Yes, its’ steampunk and its got airships, but it’s also got magic, crazy creatures and a world so big that it aches to comprehend. This was followed by Perdido Street Station and Iron Council. You will thank me if you poke into them. Start with Perdido and work your way up.
Day 5: Alexander the Great: This was a great history from Lane Fox, one that sparked my imagination. After reading his account of the siege of Tyre, I began my own research into this island and it’s people, resulting in my own published books. So, in a sense, this book changed my life.
Day 6: Catch 22: I just love this book. Read it at sixteen, didn’t get it. Read it at twenty-two and laughed my ass off. A great story of a man trapped in a world he hates and the catch that holds him there. And, please, skip that HBO rubbish.
Day 7: Fire and Bronze: One of mine. This was the book that made me an author and gave me my own sense of respect. In fact, I noticed it one day at grumpy-old-dad’s house. I commented on it and he said, “I am so proud of you for this.” With all I’ve done in my life, that was a note that has resonated in my heart all these years since his passing.
Day 8: Watership Down: The bunny book. If you think rabbits are all cute and cuddly, this one will change your mind. An epic journey across maybe four miles, a fantastic tale of truth and honesty and heroics and standing against the odds. That most people don’t know about it now breaks my heart.
Day 9: Early Retyrement: Another of mine. This was the book I think I was born to write. After completing it and being so proud of it, I couldn’t find any publishers. So I published it myself. I loved writing it and love seeing that funny picture on the cover, of Mason, the Greeks and the Persians.
Day 10: A man called Ove: My sister put me onto this – a story of a man much like I was, grumpy and unlikable. But as you work your way through it, he becomes more likeable. The last sixty pages, I was dabbing my eyes. A beautiful effort.
Like I said, I enjoyed these and am really pushing for people to read them (especially 7 and 9, natch). But they were fine literary efforts that really shaped who I am and how I view the world.