My Top Ten Books

I was nominated by Kristy Muir to list my top 10 books.  Figured I might as well blog it.  Below is the list, and a short justification for each of them (to those that didn’t make it; you’re still awesome):

1. 1984 – George Orwell

It fostered in me a deep disrespect for and suspicion of all authority. And has allowed me with greater clarity to observe quite helplessly the cynical Orwellianisation of Australia through such phenomena as xenophobia, cultural superficiality, permanent war, educational elitism, hyper-surveillance, heavy-handed policing focused on the lower classes (or the proles, if you will) and a concentration of media power in the hands of right-wing elitists.  Of course now I will soon be dead for expressing such a heinous thought crime.

2. Love in the Time of Cholera – Gabriel García Márquez

In my less cynical moments, I’m a romantic. This book is the pinnacle of romance. It makes Shakespeare look like a self-fellator.

3. The Hobbit – J. R. R. Tolkien

I tried reading it as a kid but found it too advanced. Such is the genius of Tolkien at creating worlds that seem more real in their complexity than this one. Then I read it several times as an adult until, alas, I left it at an ex-girlfriend’s place. Based on my recollections of her, she’s more likely to have read Twilight (not that there’s anything wrong with that 😉 ) than that gorgeous hardbound limited edition I shall never enjoy again.

4. Welcome to Camp Nightmare – R.L. Stine

The first of the more than 50 from the Goosebumps series I read as an early-teen. (Although it’s actually number 9 in the series.) I read it again within the past couple of years and, if it’s not still as terrifying, it certainly brings back some fearful memories.

5. The Iliad – Homer

It says something staggeringly depressing about Western society, when a book written some 800 years before Christ details a war of staggering barbarism and pointlessness which takes place in ancient Troy – just south across the Dardanelles from Anzac Cove, where thousands of Australians died a little over a hundred years ago in an equally barbaric and pointless feud.

1984, equally quality but very different Marquez book One Hundred Years of Solitude (a mate lost my copy of Love in the Time of Cholera), The Lord of the Rings instead of The Hobbit, Welcome to Camp Nightmare, The Iliad and Odyssey, In Cold Blood, because my copy of On the Road is electronic, For Whom the Bell Tolls, because I borrowed Fear and Loathing and Hemingway was one of Thompson's greatest idols, to Kill a Mockingbird, and The Starlight Crystal

1984; equally quality but very different Marquez book One Hundred Years of Solitude (a mate lost my copy of Love in the Time of Cholera); The Lord of the Rings instead of The Hobbit; Welcome to Camp Nightmare; The Iliad and Odyssey; In Cold Blood, because my copy of On the Road is electronic and Capote apparently didn’t enjoy it; For Whom the Bell Tolls, because I borrowed Fear and Loathing and Hemingway was one of Thompson’s greatest idols; to Kill a Mockingbird; and The Starlight Crystal

6. The Odyssey – Homer

Then things get plain weird.

7. On the Road – Jack Kerouac

There’s freedom on the road. Think I might have inadvertently plagiarised old Jack there. Oh well, he’s gone to the big road in the sky so I doubt he cares. Heavily criticised by both Hunter S. Thompson and Truman Capote, Kerouac’s modern classic nonetheless sucked me gleefully into its pleasurably atavistic and anarchistic ramblings.

8. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas – Hunter S Thompson

I watched the film first. Drunk. Over several occasions in which we’d always pass out before the end. Finally finished watching it at a beach shack a mate of mine once had, at which we one night got so drunk we woke up covered in paint and with vague memories of sitting on the beach good-naturedly screaming abuse at early morning sand joggers and walkers. I read the book in more subdued circumstances.  And only once.  Re-reading it would be both unnecessary and dangerous.

9. To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee

I despise prejudice. If you’re reading this and you know deep in your heart that you’re prejudiced, please cut yourself off from me as totally as you possibly can. Although, is that prejudiced of me? Human existence sure is complex.

10. The Starlight Crystal – Christopher Pike

Figured I’d end on a romantic note. And the story of a young woman who falls in love, only to then go on a mission far into space where some dubious law of physics means her beau ages much faster than her and inevitably dies (but it doesn’t end there) is certainly an epic romance.

I now nominate the following people: anyone who wants to, and who will be sure that I’m made aware of their list.


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