Tuesday, 30 October 2012

The Booker Award - My Five Favourite Books

The Booker Award

I received this award from Amy Whelan at www.youthfulyogini.blogspot.co.uk who I got to know as she is the better half of author Jeff Whelan.  She also has her own excellent blog, which I hadn't realised until very recently.
This award is passed around from author to author (or to other bloggers) so that they, too, can share their top five books.
Now choosing my top 5 is a mammoth task, so I will choose a few contemporary ones, just to narrow it down a bit.
I am also only going to list books which I would re-read and which I have recommended many times to others. Plus they need to be books I have thought about over and over since I read them. I am also not going to list any indie authors, as I would find it too difficult to choose among friends' books!
Favourite book read this year:
A Twist of Fate by Joanna Rees
Over the past probably 10 years, I had read all of Joanna's books when she wrote in the chick lit genre, with her husband Emlyn Rees (Josie Lloyd she was known as) and loved them. I discovered this book was coming out and told the author I loved her books and she kindly sent me a copy. I completely devoured it. I was meant to be writing my own novel, but for three days, I was immersed in this one. It's a family saga, spanning several generations up to the modern day. I don't generally read sagas, but this was exceptional. I think what pulled me in apart from all the twists and turns (it's well named!) was the fact that it took place in various locations around the world. Plus I like to see an underdog do well.
Favourite book in a series
The Prisoner of Heaven by Carlos Ruiz Zafon.
I absolutely loved Shadow in the Wind and The Angel's Game. As soon as I realised this was out (as I  was busy writing and hadn't noticed) I ordered it from Amazon and was waiting for the post to hurry up and bring it. I haven't reviewed it yet, because I wanted to take my time writing the review. I love Fermin, who is, funnily enough, another underdog, but the most comical character in the series.  I adore the whole mystery and perhaps the fact that it is set around a bookshop helps too. I am a sucker for anything involving books or a bookshop.  The way Ruiz Zafon shows us Barcelona really spoke to me, so much so it was one of the reasons I included Barcelona in my new book, The Dating Game. Ruiz Zafon made me want to travel the streets of Barcelona with Daniel and Fermin. I hope I manage to do that too.  I did study the Spanish civil war and also Franco's regime, so the Spanish historical elements were very interesting to me too. I enjoy learning about Barcelona a few decades ago, versus the buzzing cosmopolitan city it is now. I also had the pleasure of listening to Ruiz Zafon at the Edinburgh Book Festival a few years ago, he is very chilled and reminds me of one of my very close Spanish friends!
Favourite new author book discovery this year
Mikkel Birkegaard - The Library of Shadows
I picked this up in a charity shop - once I notice that a book is about books, I have difficulty putting it back on the shelf.  Another one set in a bookshop, but which talks about the power of books - magical powers of books and mind control. A great psychological thriller with a suppose a little bit of paranormal (and I am not a fan of paranormal usually, but it works here).  Full of mystery, twists and turns and heart in mouth moments.
Fave children's book
The Neverending Story - Michael Ende.
Without question, this is my favourite children's book, probably aimed at the 8-12s. It's quite a long book, but wow, from the minute you start reading, you can't stop. I was Sebastian! I read with Sebastian as he lay on the floor and then found himself in the book, with the action happening to him. Plus a huge flying dog, that you can lie on! What's not to like. Excellent adventure book for kids. I still remember where I was the first time I read this, lying in the smallest bedroom in my parents' house (I must have been about 9 or so) and I didn't even hear my parents repeatedly calling me for dinner and I like my food!
I can't categorise number five, except to say, again I didn't think it would be my thing and I was so wrong!
Elizabeth Kostova's The Historian
A modern day search for the historical Dracula. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time. It's a quest, passed from father to daughter, albeit the father doesn't want his daughter involved, as it has ruined his life. I  have recommended this book over and over and my copy is now a bit dog-eared.  Again, it's a book which travels from place to place, Hungary, Romania and the UK, and spans several decades. I am beginning to see a pattern in my favourite books! If you haven't read it yet, a treat is in store for you.
Well, that's me.
Now, it only falls to me to name a few authors who I would like to tag for this challenge
Maria Savva, not simply because she's a dear friend, but because she's always giving me challenges!
Terry Tyler, also a dear friend, who didn't do my last challenge, but am sure could blog about this!
Vanessa Wester, a great twitter buddy, who just released a new anthology with several other authors -
Katie Oliver - awesome blogger - www.katieoliver.com
Seumas Gallacher - a fellow Scot who has become a master blogger and FB fiend of late! - www.seumasgallacher.com
Finally, thanks to Amy for tagging me.
Tune in tomorrow for our last pre-launch post for The Dating Game. Only 3 more days to the launch!
And whatever you do, don't miss Fri's Launch Party. More than 50 copies of Kindle books being given away in The Great Kindle Ebook Giveaway as part of The Dating Game launch.  Plus Amazon vouchers and competitions!  Tell your friends!
have a great day


  1. Wow! I have to say, you mentioned books I've never even heard of (except for Neverending Story). Now I will have to take your suggestions and start reading! Thank you, Susan, for doing this--it was a challenge, but OH what fun!

    1. Hi Amy, yes, I enjoyed it, thanks. You've got to love Neverending Story,huh? I was the same with yours, lots of new discoveries. Great challenge! Sooz

  2. Congrats! I've read The Angel's Game, and also really enjoyed Zafon's use of setting. I'll need to check out more from him. And yeah, I also find it really hard to pick out faves!

    1. Hi Nick, yes, am a big Zafon fan. In fact his ghost story, The Prince of Mist was the first book I ever bought for my Kindle. Even his books written for children are very good. He is the King of setting! Thanks for leaving a comment, Sooz