My reading life in 5 books

books buildWhat books are special to BookerTalk? My profile page mentions a few of my favourite authors but if you want to know which books have a special place in my heart, take a look at a guest post published today by Cathy at 746books. It’s part of her ‘Books that Built the Blogger’ series that has been running all year with some wonderful contributions and a tremendous variety of genres and authors.

It was incredibly tough to look back over 50 plus years as a reader and choose just a few books that were significant at different points in my life. I think I must have written at least ten versions of my list (even now I keep thinking of books I missed out) but I ended up with a selection that includes a play, two novels, a book of essays and a guide to writing:

The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare

Collected Essays by George Orwell

Daily Mirror Style: Keith Waterhouse

The Raj Quartet: Paul Scott

Germinal: Emile Zola

To discover why I chose these particular texts and why they hold a special place in my heart, please read the original post on Cathy’s site – here is the link.





About BookerTalk

What do you need to know about me? 1. I'm from Wales which is one of the countries in the UK and must never be confused with England. 2. My life has always revolved around the written and spoken word. I worked as a journalist for nine years then in international corporate communications 3. My tastes in books are eclectic. I love realism and hate science fiction and science fantasy. 4. I am trying to broaden my reading horizons geographically by reading more books in translation

Posted on May 8, 2017, in Bookends and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 19 Comments.

  1. There are certain moments in Germinal that have stayed with me, it’s so bleak and heartbreaking, and made me so grateful that I’ve not had to knock on a mine owner’s door and beg to feed my children. And that I’m not a pit pony. Such a powerful book!

  2. I’m glad I read that one as I was reading it I just kept nodding my head thinking sounds about right. πŸ™‚ You should definitely do an alternative list or something along those lines at some point!

  3. I loved reading your piece and I loved doing my own one, too – on another day I’d have chosen other books, I think, but I buckled down and wrote it and sent it off!

    • It was a tough assignment but like you I knew I was in danger of for every procrastinating so set myself a target of completing it one afternoon

  4. So difficult to narrow it down to just five!

  5. Delighted to see Germinal (one of my favs too) & very curious to see The Raj quartet – I have it on my TBR pile and keep eyeing it off, but it’s size puts me off right now.

    • Each book in the quartet does build on the previous one and what happens in book 1 has a bearing on the others but that doesnt mean you can’t space them out Brona

  6. Oh I would love to try a series like this but I’m afraid I would get lost in a spin cycle of indecision. Incidentally, my introduction to Shakespeare was The Tempest in Secondary School…but it wasn’t until A Levels when I was introduced to The Tempest, Winter’s Tale, As You Like It, King Lear etc. and especially Othello that I began to appreciate him…and then in University when I discovered the poems…but, as much as I struggled with the Elizabethan English, I can still remember whole passages word for word “Full fathom five thy father lies…” go figure, and have come to realize that in some ways The Tempest is the most obvious introduction to Shakespeare for an island girl. Other thoughts, love Dickens; never read Orwell. Your choices and explanations make me want to discover everything I missed though. Great list.

    • King Lear was one of my A level texts and like you I can still quote passages. Amazing what the brain retains isn’t it? One day I will read all the plays – still have a fair way to go though

      • Re-reading my comment and…no The Tempest came in secondary school not A-level and that’s the one I can kinda quote…maybe a little bit of Twelfth Night which was the first one I did in A-level. But, yes, it is funny what the brain retains…and what it can’t find when you need it.

  7. Have you read the recent Shakespeare retellings? Howard Jacobson did an adaptation of Merchant of Venice called Shylock is My Name. I read and reviewed it in January if you’re interested in checking it out

    • I haven’t yet Karen (I learned from your blog that you and I share the same given name). I think there are quite a few of these ‘retellings’ now – didn’t Margaret Attwood do one recently?

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