Top Ten Books I Loved But Never Wrote A Review For
This is a pretty easy one for me because for the first couple of years I was a very slow poster and only reviewed a few of the books I read. Most of these I would have to read again in order to write a properly considered review, so this is a great chance to write about them without having to wait until I have the time to re-read.
1. One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel García Márquez
I remember I got this from my university library as a 7-day-loan. The woman who checked it out for me said "You'll never read this in seven days". Hello, challenge! I did indeed read this in seven days, and it wasn't hard, because it was so enjoyable. Unfortunately all I remember at this point is that there were lots of people with the same or really similar names, and one girl went off into the sky and was never seen again. Not enough info for a proper review.
2. Nights at the Circus, by Angela Carter
This was my favourite out of all of the books by Angela Carter that I've read. Again, I barely remember it, just how brilliant I thought it was. It's about Fevvers, a blonde, Cockney woman with wings, who is the centerpiece of a travelling circus. So much fun!
3. The Mists of Avalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley
This is a famous retelling of the Arthurian legends from the point of view of the women involved. I didn't love this as much as I thought I would but I still loved it, mostly because of the ending, which really spoke to me. I think I would have enjoyed it more if I'd read it in my mid-teens, when I was more into long fantasy novels and pagan stories, rather than when I was twenty and mostly over that phase.
4. Dracula, by Bram Stoker
Dracula is brilliant, and I'm not just saying that because I'm a bit goth (okay, more than a bit). I had no idea what to expect before I read it, but it certainly wasn't a hilariously camp adventure in which a woman saves the day with her knowledge of (at the time) modern technology. The bit where they bribe a group of working-class men with beer? I laughed so hard. Plus there's a vampire and all that.
5. Wise Children, by Angela Carter
I feel like I should add at this point that I pretty much love everything by Angela Carter unless I don't understand it (and sometimes even then). Wise Children has been described as the most accessible of her novels, and I would agree, although I didn't enjoy it as much as Nights at the Circus or The Magic Toyshop. It's about the lives of twins Dora and Nora Chance, and their weird and wonderful family, who are all involved in showbusiness in one way or another.
6. A Round-Heeled Woman, by Jane Juska
This is a memoir about a woman in her fifties who decides, basically, to start having more sex. But it's also about literature, and how much she loves it. It was really different and really interesting to read.
7. Lucia, Lucia, by Adriana Trigiani
Lucia is a young seamstress working in a New York department store in the 1950s, who breaks off her engagement to her childhood sweetheart for a stranger who promises her all the glamour her own life appears to be lacking. I loved the period setting and the details about sewing and food.
8. The Night Watch, by Sarah Waters
I don't know why I have yet to read any other books by Sarah Waters! This is a story about four people, after and during the Second World War, told backwards. I really, really enjoyed it and remember that it made me want to eat lots of soup. It just seemed like an appropriate accompaniment for some reason.
9. The Rose and the Beast: Fairy Tales Retold, by Francesca Lia Block
I had a phase of reading quite a lot of Francesca Lia Block books and most of them I don't remember much about because they're all so short and similar, but I really liked this one. I love fairy tale retellings in general and Block's writing style really suits them. Her retelling of 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarves', 'Snow', really stuck with me.
10. Hard Love, by Ellen Wittlinger
I would like to review this properly, but it was such a pain getting this from the library the first time (had to get an inter-library loan) that I'm not going to do it again. It's about two zine makers, John and Marisol, who become friends and how their friendship and lives progress. A spanner is thrown in the works when John develops feelings for Marisol, who is a lesbian.