Stephen Fry in America.
I probably don't need to repeat why I love America so much, but reading the book and watching the TV series confirmed my knowledge that America is the place I want to live. Stephen Fry is golden, that much is certain and when you take him to a golden country you get this, a book that doesn't tiptoe around the subject or fart around with wasting time but tells you what you want to know in the first place. America. I read this last December, the dead of winter and I remember reading it in bed where the world outside already turned to night and that's pretty much the most comfortable I've felt in a while. Books do that. My favourite part of the book was the Great Plains section where I learned about Colorado (my favourite state), Montana, Texas, North and South Dakota and Nebraska and I can't quite explain how much I fell in love with it. I loved the States before, but Stephen Fry made the marriage.
Toby from Rivers of London.
Rivers of London is a magical story to begin with, but another reason why the series is so special is the cast of characters. Toby sniffs out ghosts and hangs around the Folly always after a sausage or two. His role is most prominent in the first book but he's always there anyway. Hopefully in the future he'll do more and hunt out more ghosts. He's a lovable animal (as most dogs are, so I'm told) and the fact that he looks harmless adds to his charm. He may as well be magical.
Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch
My original answer was Brave New World because I got word that it was in discussion, but then I discovered Ben's appearance there. Ben Aaronovitch is one of my favourite authors, a brand new discovery earlier in the year and with a new book on the way and one next year and one still on my shelf ready to read, there's more than enough London magic to go around. Rivers of London boasts a clever plot, one that will take another read to understand completely, but dammit if it isn't funny, witty, charming and full of intelligent writing. Urban fantasy was always something that interested me and thank god this is different. There's barely a trace of vampire teeth marks of werewolf howling, it's all new interesting clever characters fused with crime fiction. What? Crime, you hate crime, Nick, don't you? Yes, both in literary and in reality, but this is different. This is actually interesting. Sorry crime writers, crime and thrillers just don't do it for me. Rivers of London is so much more than regular crime. It's urban fantasy with funny characters and original prose. Love this series.
The Fault in our Stars
Simplicity is a simple thing, because is works. I can't think with pictures most of the time so I wouldn't know how covers ought to look in books. The Fault in our Stars is all about keeping things simple in its cover design, and the spine too. It's sky blue with a black font for the title and a white one for the author's name, nice and clean. It's one of the books that glows from my bookshelf and takes the eyes away from the rest of the spines. Colours are pretty things.
The Fault in our Stars
Twice in the story Hazel and Gus watch films. V for Vendetta at his house early in the book and 300 when they fly off to Amsterdam. The latter is explained in dark detail by Hazel and it reflects her thoughts on death and how many dead people there are in the world. I don't need to remind you that The Fault in our Stars is a sad book, but it's also very funny and optimistic at times but then you get bits like the plane and 300 that remind you that yes, this book may make you cry. I'm no film fanatic in any sense, but this one stands out for me. Using films to intensify death's dominant presence over the world is quite something. OK, maybe I could have done without the whole retelling of the film, but still it works.
You know people often say you always remember your firsts? Well, I'm still not sure if this was my first bookshop purchase. Prior to Child 44, I wasn't much of a reader so even if I did buy one before (which I probably did), I didn't really care enough to remember... if that made any sense. Lets think about it another way, first book I bought in a bookshop that I loved? The answer remains the same. I know that's not quite in the spirit of the challenge, but dammit I can't remember! Child 44 had me instantly by the cover and the blurb sold it, as it should. It's the only crime/thriller novel I ever loved and the two sequels were just as engrossing. I've read it through about three times and due to read it again later this year along with the sequels and it's always as enjoyable to read. Tom Rob Smith is a phenomenal writer, one you shouldn't let fly under your radar.
When I answered on Twitter, it was The Stand but then I bought Broken Homes but that was after. The Stand wasn't even for me, it was a gift for my brother but I want to read it. We often swap books and they are almost always Stephen King reads. Are we both huge King fans? Yes. I swear The Stand is known as one of his best books if not his best so I want to check it out. I think me and Ben are racing to see who can read all his books first. Of course, we never agreed to this but we're doing it even if none of us want to admit it.
Child 44 or Rivers of London
I can't decide between the two. Child 44 introduced me to an incredibly scary story set in Soviet Russia and characters that I loved, cried over and mourned and the whole thing was wrapped up in a beautiful ending that reminds me of House's overall ending. Then Rivers of London is a series that has no potential endpoint, just as long as Ben Aaronovitch keeps coming up with new stories set in the historical city of London, which I'm sure he can do for years. Both authors are two of my favourites and choosing between the two for this question is like choosing between scrambled or fried eggs? Bloody hard. The Child 44 trilogy may be over, but I'm dying for more Tom Rob Smith stories and his 2014 release, The Farm was outstanding. Ben Aaronovitch looks to continue his London series with all new stories set all over London. I honestly can't choose. Someone choose for me.
I'm enjoying this challenge, it's a cool way to look at your bookshelf and think about all the things you've read and what made them so enjoyable. Not only that, it's connected to the 'Books Are My Bag' organisation and it's well worth checking out. Just search the hashtag #bookadayuk and you'll find yourself in the fun. Next week I'll post up the next eight question and then so on until the end. After that, back to the usual business but in the meantime, this is fun and I hope you liked it. Buy books, go!
Songs of the Week:
- 'In My Absence' by Dark Tranquillity
- 'What Only You Know' by Dark Tranquillity
- 'Idol' by Anaal Nathrakh
- 'Monstrum in Amino' by Anaal Nathrakh
- 'Circles' by The Eden Project
- 'Better Together' by The Eden Project
- 'Statues' by The Eden Project ft. Leah Kelly
- 'Angels' by The XX
- 'Bigger Picture' by Matthew Parker (Just a Gent Remix)
- 'Your Kisses' by Daughter/Elena Tonra