Wednesday, 20 January 2010

1001 books you need to read before you die.....

So, one of the new ideas I have had for my Blog is another random and occasional series that I will try and update from time to time that is basically my own personal list of 1001 books I think you should read before you die. In no way, shape or form does it represent any official list you may have seen with the same name; this is entirely my own personal list of books that have touched, moved or affected me or that I think are in some way worthy of note!

Please note, these are no way in any order either. I do not intend to list them from best to worst or in any chronological order of when they were published. This is just a random list of books I have enjoyed more than usual and which I would like to share with readers of my Blog!

1} The first book on my list is Dan Simmon's The Terror which some of you may note I have mentioned before; last year in fact when I first read it.
It is about the lost Franklin expedition in 1845 to the Arctic where both ships, The Erebus and The Terror, become locked in ice. Slowly, after two painful years of being trapped in this desolate waste-land, they begin to run out of food when it becomes apparent that many of the tinned goods they brought with them are putrid. Then, something begins picking off the Crew members; emerging from the ice, sleet and snow to snatch able seamen and carry them off into the night......only to return parts of their bodies, or in one case a head, almost like taunts against the crew. Eventually they are faced with a dilema ~ do they wait there for the ice to thaw so that they can escape, should they manage to survive that long? Or should they set out across the ice in a desperate attempt to reach some kind of civilisation before they all perish and die either at the hands of the beast or from scurvy and malnutrition?

Why is this book worthy of being included in my top 1001 reads? Well because the descriptive passages of life in such harsh and uncompromising conditions has been done so perfectly and is so well researched, that I truly believe that this book bears inclusion. Even before something begins tearing into the crew, there is an enormous sense of hopelessness and despair and you really begin to feel as though you are there, stuck on one of those ships with them. Reading this, at times, I felt cold and chilled to the bone as though I myself was there in the Arctic~ so well has this book been written ~ and the novel is as much about the obsessive personality of Captain Franklin who lead the expedition as it is about the events that later enfold. I cannot recommend it enough even if you are not normally a fan of horror. It does go a bit off the boil towards the closing chapters of the novel but the journey getting there is an intense roller-coaster of a ride that can not be compared to anything else Simmons has written. The only other book by Dan Simmons I truly enjoyed, but for different reasons, was Carrion Comfort and that was not quite good enough to be included on my top 1001 reads whilst The Terror truly was. The next most anticipated book I want to read by Simmons is a novel called Drood about Charles Dickens and the famous last book he never managed to complete. The reason why this appeals is because, like The Terror, it is based on a very real period of history and loosely around real characters and events and so has a lot of promise! Whether it lives up to that or not, remains to be seen......

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