Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Dreaded Question - What's your Favourite Book?

As I mentioned yesterday, I was interviewed for radio about the upcoming Emirates Airlines Festival of Literature...which was scary enough in itself but then the lovely Lucy asked me...what's your favourite book???

How can I answer that? It can vary from day to day or from period in my life....how do you define favourite book? The one that lives in your head and that you escape to during quiet or stressful moments? The one that has altered your world perspective? The one with the hero you never forgot? The one with the heroine you always wanted to be? The one that took to you to a place you always wanted to go? The one where you learned so much it hurt?

Put on the spot (yes, I know I should have anticipated this question) I answer Katherine by Anya Seaton and Leo the African by Amin Maaloof. And they are two of my favourite books...but there are so many more for all of the reasons above.

I could have said...The Daughter of Lir by Diana Norman or Constance:A Story of Early Plymouth by Patricia Clapp (note to self - must find a copy of this for DD) or Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain, or Regency Buck by Georgette Heyer, The Red Tent by Anita Diamant...the list could go on and on...

What are your favourite books and why?

And because I think it's one of the best first lines ever...from Leo the African...

'I, Hassan the son of Muhammad the weigh-master, I Jean-Leon de Medici, circumcised at the hand of a barber and baptized at the hand of a pope, I am now called the African, but I am not from Africa, nor from Europe, nor from Arabia.'

Note: will be running a contest for free tickets to my session...(description session here) - First Fictions at the Emirates Festival of Literature. Details to follow...

10 comments:

catdownunder said...

Incredibly difficult question to answer but books which have been and are important to me? Dag Hammarskjold's "Markings", TS Eliot, "Four Quartets" and many books for children but particularly Elfrida Vipont "The Lark in the Morn"/"The Lark on the Wing", Margaret Storey's "Pauline" and Elinor Lyon's "Run Away Home". Not sure what all those say about me!

liz fenwick said...

Interesting books Cat...I think books speak of where we are at times in out lives. Something in them speaks to us at that point and digs it's way in to our psyche and stays...others pass through...

lx

Cath said...

So many to choose from but one would definitely be another Diana Norman book - The Vizard Mask. And a Georgette Heyer too, Sylvester. Frenchman's Creek would be in there, and a new discovery for me, Trollope's Barchester Towers. But there are so many more. It's a very hard question which I too dread hearing from people - usually non-readers!

Laura E. James said...

Morning, Liz. I have three books that have stayed with me; Love and Devotion, Erica James, My Sister's Keeper, Jodi Picoult and Bram Stoker's Dracula.
I read Dracula in my late teens, so it's been with me a while.
There are many more books I've yet to read.

Bluestocking Mum said...

Morning Liz.

Agree completely - my favourites change weekly!

But my favourite all time books would be:
Alice in Wonderland - I read it so much as a girl, I know parts verbatim
Tess of the D'Urbevilles - so tragic - it always stays with me.
Joby (Stan Barstow) - I read this at school but have since read all Stan Barstow's books. - He has a wonderful, no nonsense, easy read style and I just love the 'kitchen sink' type novels.

x

Jenny Beattie said...

Yes, impossible question. I don't think I could possibly choose but Bel Canto was the book I wish I'd written. (I loved The Red Tent.)

Frances Garrood said...

Brothers by Bernice Rubens; Dr. Thorne by Anthony Trollope; A Fine Balance by Rohanton Mistry (spelling?); Pride and Prejudice (sorry - but it does have everything!); Gold by Dan Rhodes (because it made me laugh soooo much). And lots more, of course. Thanks for the question!

liz fenwick said...

Cath...yes it is worse when it comes from non-readers...and now I need to check out The Vizard mask.

Laura - I love the mixture of books on your list :-)

Blue-Stocking Mum - I note most of yours come from your early reading which I think is true for many - me included....I think writers of childrens and YA have a huge responsibility and honour because we tend to reread books more when younger and they hold onto us longer...

JJ - Ah, now that's almost a different question...I'd chose different ones for the ones I'd wish I'd written :-)

Frances - No apologies needed for P&P...love it too

lx

Nell Dixon said...

Mine would include Pride and Prejudice, Little Women, Andre Norton's Witch World books and Joyce Grenfell's in Pleasant Places.

liz fenwick said...

Nell - love the title Witch World...I never read Little Women. I think it's a big gap in my reading...may try it now but it may be too late???

lx