This week's topic is "Top Ten Things On My Reading Wishlist (if you could make authors write about these things you would. Could be a specific type of character, an issue tackled, a time period, a certain plot, etc.)" Looking back over it, my list is a bit of hodge-podge of the first things that came to mind when I mulled over the types of things that I generally love to read about and that I will always want more of. I think it goes without saying that some of these will mix and match a little better than others...
Links are to my reviews if I've written them or to GoodReads if I haven't.
1. A bit of friendly banter among friends. This might seem quite specific but I would take a strong friendship in a book or series over a “toe-tingling, gut-wrenching” or otherwise melodramatised romance any day of the week. I will love those friendships even more if they have the witty dialogue and sparky banter that I wish I could pull off in my actual life…
Something like:Theft of Swords by Michael J. Sullivan for Royce Melborn and Hadrian Blackwater’s perfectly written friendship (among many other things) or Attachments by Rainbow Rowell for banter envy.
2. A touch of the Gothic. Think gloomy castles (abandoned or otherwise), a shifting, mysterious atmosphere, miserable omens and general darkness and moodiness. These are a particular favourite of mine during the winter months and I do try to keep an eye out for books to stockpile during the rest of the year for just the right snowy evening.
Something like:Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier for something a little more classic or The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield if your more of a modern bod.
3. Feisty ladies. I will always prefer my female leads with intelligence, independence and strength. No thank you to insipid ladies that can’t or won’t think for themselves or will swoon with too alarming a frequency. I should clarify that by “feisty” or “independent”, I do not mean rude, belligerent or obstinate.
Something like: Yelena from the Study series by Maria V. Snyder is a good’un, as is Katsa from Graceling by Kristin Cashore. If you prefer your fiction with fewer magical twists, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte is a classic for a reason.
4. Tears. Lots of tears. This is more of an outcome than something in a novel, I suppose. So let’s call it “Something that will make me cry”. It isn’t super difficult to write an ending to either a book or a film that will make me cry. Anybody that has ever watched a film with me will ignore any part of a description that I give that involves a variation on the “it made me cry” theme. Regardless, I love a bit of a blub over a book. It means that the author made me care enough to provoke a physical reaction and I love how cathartic crying over a book feels.
Something like: Ah ha! And you thought I was going to go a Top Ten of anything without mentioning The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller! I cried buckets over that book and it’s just generally the best so I’d like anything that could traumatise me equally.
5. A Message. One of those with a capital ‘M’. I don’t like to be beaten over the head with an idea and I don’t like clumsy delivery of a message and/or theme that I otherwise might appreciate. I do, however, very much appreciate the use of literature as a way to explore themes and ideas. Give me political warnings, historical lessons to learn from or a moral tale and I will love you forever.
Something like:The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood as a cautionary tale of what might happen if “certain casually held attitudes about women are taken to their logical conclusions” or Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury as a gloomy look into a world ruled through ideological control.
6. France. There’s something about France that I find completely charming. Something about the food and French food culture and about the delicious wine and the fact that it’s gorgeous and the language sounds so romantic just really appeals to me. This actually also extends to France’s history and I’d like to read more stories about the French Revolution. Given how close it is to us in the UK aswell, there’s no real excuse for the fact that Boyfriend and I always seem to overlook it in favour of more far flung holiday destinations. I want to read all about it and then spend a few weeks just driving round and eating stinky cheese and drinking rich red wine and generally making merry.
Something like: I’ve no idea – any thoughts? I think this one was inspired by the later parts of A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens and its portrayal of the French Revolution.
7. Variations on the legend of King Arthur, Merlin and the Knights of the Round Table. I absolutely adored the BBC TV series Merlin and have been meaning to read variations ever since I started watching it. Gallant knights, magic and fights against both mystical and mundane enemies? Yes, please.
Something like: I have Le Morte D’Arthur by Thomas Malory by but haven’t read it yet. And I’ve had The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley on my wishlist but haven’t bought or read it yet.
8. World War I and World War II. With it being the centenary of the start of World War I this year (bringing with it the advert on the BBC that has people singing that “pack up your troubles in your old kit bag…” song and always makes me well up), I feel as though this year I’d like to make a bit of an effort to read some fiction (I won’t go so far as to say that I’ll read non-fiction, although I might) that highlights what soldiers and their families went through. A little depressing, perhaps, but I just finished Life After Life by Kate Atkinson and I found the parts of it set during World War II very moving.
Something like: I borrowed the first in Pat Barker’s Regeneration trilogy, Regeneration, from my Dad and need to get to it. I’m reading Wake by Anna Hope at the moment and that’s set just after the First World War so I'm sort of already digging out more of these but recommendations are always welcome!
I think that’s probably it, actually…I could scrabble around for another two but they’d be forced and my heart wouldn’t be in it so Top Eight it is!
Any recommendations, friends? Let me know what I need to shuffle to the top of my wishlist or dig out the pennies for right away!