Playing Portishead last night and feeling decadent, I decided to compose a list of my favourite five books. This took alot longer than I expected. Let me begin by telling you about my bookcase. It arrived raw pine, in a kit, from my mother three years ago. I finished, varnished and assembled it myself, and I am so proud that what was once a pile of bare wood is now a huge, elegant showpiece in my lounge room. Anyway, I spent about 2 hours last night in front of it, taking books down and returning them, muttering "Yes...no...how can I leave this out...I don't like this that much..." etc.
After all that, I finally arrived at the list, in alphabetical order:
Paula Isabel Allende (non fiction)
I love the way she writes. This is just a beautiful, informative story - autobiography intertwined with the tale of watching over her dying daughter. And the ending is my favourite ending of any book.
Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen (fiction)
What could I say about this book that hasn't been said already? It sparkles.
Wild Swans Jung Chang (non fiction)
A staggering epic of a family and a nation's history, by far the best of all the Chinese personal histories. By turns heart-breaking, moving, funny, thought provoking, it practically reads itself.
The Virgin Suicides Jeffrey Eugenedies (fiction)
Please don't let the mediocre movie put you off this luminous, enigmatic story. The tale of the five sisters and the boys who are obsessed with them will haunt you long after you've turned the final page.
Fever Pitch Nick Hornby (non fiction)
This is hilarious - Hornby is one of my all time favourite writers. It's also extremely well written, contains lots of insightful social commentary, and is well worth reading even if you hate soccer (or, if like me, you hate Arsenal - beat your asses at the FA Cup, ha ha!).