Friday, 23 September 2011

Obsessive much...?

Have been thinking again about my 1001 List of Books And Authors To Read Before You Die and have decided to edit it some more as well as adding a few new titles. Instead of having all John Connolly's Charlie Parker novels collectively on my list, I feel perhaps I should list them individually; especially as I am not sure if the last book in the series quite makes the grade to be included! The first truly disappointing entry of them all, I enjoyed The Whisperers but just not as much as the others so far hence why I have decided not to include it!

The newer books that I want to add include Consider Phlebas and Look To Windward, both by Iain.M.Banks. Two of the Culture series, they are both proper heavy-going serious sci-fi novels set in a universe many hundreds of years ahead of our own! The Culture are a collective group of sentient life-forms and planets who have come together to form a coalition with the intent of better enriching the lives of other civilisations. But some see this as gross interference especially when The Culture start dabbling in naturally occurring events and upsetting the status quo of a planet for their own ends! Consider Phlebas is set during a massive war between The Culture and a race called the Iridans who support the right to uphold their own faith and beliefs. It is a bleak tale but also, at times, a righteous old-fashioned good ol' gung-ho space adventure! The characters are beautifully imagined and the whole plot just sweeps you up and pulls you in before you know it until you can almost forget that there is a more serious, almost satirical message, behind the massive plot! As the first of The Culture novels, it sets the scene marvelouslly for the later novels and can easily be compared to such sweeping epics as Arthur.C.Clarke's Rendezvous With Rama series and Greg Bear's Anvil Of Stars!

Look To Windward is set several decades later and is the seventh book in the series but ghosts from the past remain to haunt Agents of The Culture and soon a devious plot is underway to make them pay penance for concieved former War Crimes that they may well have been responsible for! Another epic tale, it left me quite literally breathless with its sheer scope and scale and is another brilliantly classic sci-fi tale!

Banks writes as both Iain.M.Banks and simply Iain Banks; the difference being that the former title is that under which he writes his sci-fi; the latter, under which he writes the more regular novels set largely in our own, more familiar world. Under the name of just Banks, he has been responsible for the likes of The Wasp Factory and The Crow Road, the latter of which was made into an excellent BBC series! This is an author who is truly talented and has many strings to his bow and if you have not picked him up before, may I suggest you do so!

The other books I want to add are Heartsick and Evil At Heart; the first and third books in the Gretchen Lowell series. Gretchen is a serial killer with a so far undisclosed number of victims, Archie Sheridan is the man who brought her to justice but nearly died in the process. Now addicted to prescription drugs and with an unhealthy obsession with Gretchen born from Stockholm Syndrome, Archie is pulled back onto the job as head of The Beauty Killer Task Force to hunt a new killer but is forced to accept having his story re-told at the same time by reporter, Susan Ward. This is an awesome series so far with only four books written ~ the first novel groundbreaking in the way it deals with Gretchen as a Hannibal Lecter type villain whilst still maintaining a sense of humour and even poking fun at the fact that comparisons will be made between the two killers. (In one scene, Gretchen greets Susan Ward in prison with the words "Hello Clarice!")

The third novel, and easily the best of the series so far, takes a long, hard look at America's obsession with serial killers (and not just America) and the Media's bid to make such killers almost celebrities in the same satirical way that Natural Born Killers tried to do on film. Gretchen is on the loose, still playing games, and angry that someone is killing in her name. Archie is in drug rehabilitation and seconded in a mental institute of his own choosing but finds himself slowly being drawn out once again to face his obsessional behaviour and address his addiction head on! Again, this is another brilliant piece of crime fiction that, though fairly easy to read in a P.J.Tracey kind of way, still manages to surpass anything produced by that mother-daughter writing team. Highly recommended!

So the new list reads as follows.....

 1) The Terror by Dan Simmons

2) Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb

3) From A Buick 8 by Stephen King

4) Mao by Jung Chang

5) IT by Stephen King

6) A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

7) Sarah's Key by Tatiana De Rosnay

8) Ways To Live Forever by Sally Nicholls

9) Charlotte Grey by Sebastian Faulks

10) Headhunter by Michael Slade

11)Every Dead Thing by John Connolly

12)The collected work of Clifford.D.SimaK

13)Let The Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist

14)The Elvis Cole novels by Robert Crais

15)The Quiller novels by Adam Hall

16)Kamikaze by Michael Slade

17)Lost And Found by Oliver Jeffers

18)The Grail Quest trilogy by Bernard Cornwell

19)The Study Trilogy by Maria.V.Snyder

20)The Stone And The Flute by Hans Bremmann

21) Royal Assassin by Robin Hobb

22) Assassin's Quest by Robin Hobb

23) Ship of magic by Robin Hobb

24) The mad ship by Robin Hobb

25) Ship of destiny by Robin Hobb

26) Fool's errand by Robin Hobb

27) The golden fool by Robin Hobb

28) Fool's fate by Robin Hobb

29) Shaman's crossing by Robin Hobb

30) Forest mage by Robin Hobb

31) Renegade's Magic by Robin Hobb

32) The dragon keeper by Robin Hobb

33) Dragon Haven by Robin Hobb 

34) The Silver metal lover by Tanith Lee

35) Wizard and Glass by Stephen King

36) Mission by Patrick Tilley

37) Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

38) The dark tower by Stephen King

39) The rosary girls by Richard Montanari

40) The Chemistry of death by Simon Beckett 

41) Written in bone by Simon Beckett

42) Whispers of the dead by Simon Beckett

43) Fingersmith by Sarah Waters

44) The complete Deathlands series by James Axler 

46) We need to talk about kevin by lionel shriver

47) The book thief by marcus zusak

48) Dark Hollow by John Connolly

49) The Killing Kind by John Connolly 

50) The White Road by John Connolly

51) The Black Angel by John Connolly

52)  The Unquiet by John Connolly

53) The Reapers by John Connolly

54) The Lovers by John Connolly

55) Consider Phlebas by Iain.M.Banks

56) Look To Windward by Iain.M.Banks

57) Heartsick  by Chelsea Cain

58) Evil At Heart by Chelsea Cain.

59) Wild Swans by Jung Chang

As for Lainy's comment on a previous post; Have no fear, there is very little that will EVER stop me reading! I am known in my family as the one who always brings a book, sometimes two, wherever he is going. I am rarely, if ever, found without a book secured somewhere on my person. Obsessive much...? You could say that! I am a true Bibliophile in that I often get a compulsive need or desire to sort through my books. This 1001 list is just the latest in many such lists that I have compiled over the years in my bid to record my favourite books!

As a child, I would list and rate books I had read out of 10 but liked so many, and dis-liked so few, that inevitably everything on my list was getting 8's and 9's so eventually decided to rate just out of 5! At times, I have compiled little chronologies of series, such as EdMcBain's 87th Precint, so that I could keep up with characters and events that followed on from book-to-book and am always sorting out and adjusting my shelves; not just to make more space but also to clear deadwood and lose books I no longer intend to re-read. Bit then, this is a haphazard idea because there are a number of books on my shelves that I have owned several times, having previously decided not to keep them then changing my mind years later!

I suffer a little from OCD, and my main focus of that illness surrounds books. I can tell you where and when I first read certain books or how and where I obtained them. To me, every book tells a story far beyond what is contained within its pages. A little sad? Maybe...but books are my addiction, reading is my life and nothing not even Xbox can come between  me and my obsession!

Can I describe the feeling I get when I discover a gem hidden in a charity shop that I have been keeping my eyes open for ? No, I cannot. Likewise I cannot explain why I feel the need to buy more books when I have so many on my TBR still to be read!
I have been contemplating the purchase of a Kindle, takes up less space ~ books instantly available ~ but have decided to put off said purchase until I clear my afore-mentioned TBR a bit. Hopefully this will give me an incentive to speed up this lengthy process......only time will tell!

But I don't think you should be holding your breath any time soon........

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