What I’ve been reading: Fowler/Zusak

Read what I thought of them here: Librarium 2015


Down on the farm

toptentuesday2This week’s list was announced as “Books which feature characters who…..” and my chosen ending for that is “….live on a farm”. For details about this meme and to read other TTT posts, visit The Broke and the Bookish.

I came up with 16 great titles, but have whittled it down to only books which have not previously featured on my blog (the discarded ones do get a mention at the end though and are well worth a read too). So this is what I came up with……in no particular order:

  1. we-were-the-mulvaneys1We Were the Mulvaneys by Joyce Carol Oates An American farming family in the 70s is torn apart by an act they cannot even bring themselves to mention. This is a powerful tale of family relationships, shame and retribution.
  2. Fantastic Mr Fox by Roald Dahl Perennial children’s classic about the fox who outwits three farmers in order to feed his family and neighbours.
  3. On The Black Hill by Bruce Chatwin Brilliant novel about twins growing up in the Welsh/English border area. A no frills portrayal of the brutalities of cultural and social repression in rural life in the early 20th century.
  4. Animal Farm by George Orwell Couldn’t really leave this one out. Classic dystopian novel; an allegory of pre and post-Revolution Russia.
  5. sheep pigOf Mice and Men by John Steinbeck Published in 1937, this is still a text for teenagers studying literature at school in the UK. The tale of George and Lennie, two migrant ranch workers in California.
  6. The Sheep-Pig by Dick King-Smith Endearing story of the piglet brought up by sheep-dogs who believes that he, too, can herd sheep. Made into the film Babe.
  7. Property by Valerie Martin Set on a sugar plantation in the early 19th century; a slave rebellion is brewing. A highly original slant on this evil period in history.
  8. caravansTwo Caravans by Marina Lewycka Comic novel (published in USA as Strawberry Fields) about migrant workers picking fruit on an English farm. Explores the deep and dark social issues of exploitation and human trafficking.
  9. Cider House Rules by John Irving The life and loves of orphan Homer Wells from his bleak beginnings in an orphanage, to life on an apple orchard and finally back to the orphange.
  10. Mr Vertigo by Paul Auster A modern American fable. Orphan Walt is plucked off the streets of St. Louis by Master Yehudi and taken to his farm on the Great Plains, where Walt begins his instruction in levitation.

Honourable mention to Stoner, Bad Dirt, A Lost Lady, Haweswater and Harvest which all appear on my blog, and Charlotte’s Webb by E.B.White which doesn’t.

Top ten all time favourite authors

toptentuesday2Top Ten Tuesday, as brought to the blogosphere by The Broke and the Bookish, is a weekly feature for anyone fond of lists and fond of books. Each week they will issue the theme of the next list, and bloggers take it away from there. I’ve just discovered Top Ten Tuesday, and will give it a go now. In no particular order, here’s my top ten ………….with my favourite reads .

1. Salman Rushdie

2. Iain Banks

3. Ian McEwan

4. Enid Blyton

5. Rose Tremain

6. Andre Brink

7. Isabel Allende

8. Mervyn Peake

9. Toni Morrison

10. Margaret Atwood