in the wake of my "top ten songs of all time", i bring you "15 books i think are awesome". this is not my "favourite books of all time", but merely a list of books i just think are awesome for a variety of reasons. some are books from my childhood, others aren't. to be honest, i haven't been able to read for pleasure since my humanites degree at uni, but i have been attempting to remedy that by weaning myself very slowly back to the world of the novel.


1. lolita - vladimir nabokov
(beautifully written story. took me only a couple of hours to complete. made me forget that english is this man's third language. given the content of the story, i was surprised by the subtelty by which it was mentioned. having seen the movie first (the jeremy irons version kicks kubrick's versions arse!) i falsely believed the book was more profane than it actually is. it is just so beautifully written and manages to leave you feeling sympathetic towards the "perpetrator" rather than the "victim", which makes you want to question your own morals. a MUST read for anybody who's ever picked up a book.)

2. the dark half - stephen king
(i enjoy all of SK's work - except a couple which aren't up to standard - but this one always sticks out in my mind as my fave, and his best. i can still hear the sound of the cops testicles slapping against his thighs after stark slashed him between the legs. it was with SK that i was able to develop a full 5.1 soundtrack to the images from the words on the page inside my head.)

3. the first chronicles of thomas covenant - stephen donaldson
(lord foul's bane is the best of these books, and as a collection this is the best of them all - mind, i haven't bothered with the third chronicles yet, and haven't decided if i will. a protagonist/hero with a physical disability is cool, but his pissy whining all the time and "woe is me" attitude is grating and annoying by the end. also, the connection with the real world and "the land" was something i'd not come across before and seemed unique and intriging to me.)

4. the scavenger trilogy - kj parker
(the one and only time i've randomly purchased books simply because of the cover! BEST RANDOM PURCHASE EVER! tightly woven narrative that hints on religious allegory but without the wankery of, say, the chronicles of narnia. and it features my favourite feathered creature: the crow. what more could i ask for really?)

5. lord of the rings - jrr tolkein
(i was a late starter with this series of UTTER AWESOME!, but i'm pleased i waited until i was older before reading it. i think this allowed me to better understand what the smeg was happening! the world tolkein created is just real. the effort made in it's creation is so clearly evident, from the histories of the people and the world itself, to the detailed and complete languages of the elves, you just can't help but become immersed in it. the strength of mateship and honour that is prevalent and the friendships that are forged, take you on this fantastic journey that delves into the realms of understanding human nature through fantasy. of course, there is the rumour of commentary relating to wwii, but i don't see it personally (but i've also spent very little time studying any of the wars). there is so much to take away from this series of books that you can't pinpoint any one specific thing. i think it's far more subjective than a lot of people believe it to be, but that's my personal opinion.)

6. mrs gronkwonk's post office tower - timothy hunkin
(one of my faves from my kidlinghood. it's essentially a story about a woman proving that she's just as good, if not better, at the same things men can do. my first piece of feminist literature in a way, and it was written by a man - assumingly)

7. the hobbit - jrr tolkein
(i remember picking this up in the newsagent while mum and dad were looking at stuff and reading about three or four chapters in the store. next thing i know i've been given it for my birthday - i was 8 or 9 at the time. i've read it so many times since i've lost count, and really need to get a new copy so i don't completely kill my original.)

8. the eleventh hour - graeme base
(do i really need to explain this? i used to pour over this every time we had library time at school when i was about seven. and i was even more awesomed when i worked at the science centre in brisbane and we had a graeme base art exhibit. i got to go in there and stare at his pictures for hours on end several days a week.)

9. where the wild things are - maurice sendak
(OMG!! such a fabulous fairy tale. i wish my imagination was this awesome when i was kid. instead it was a bit morbid, care of SK, but this story is just fabulous. i am SO looking forward to the movie when it's released.)

10. encyclopedia brown - donald j.sobol
(probably the first ever novel series i ever read. the most standout thing of my 'literary' childhood. a child detective, of sorts, who fascinated me to no end. i think i read the series two or three times, and was even inspired to try my hand at writing my own detective stories. chances are they're not as good as i remember them, but i would really love to get hold of this collection)

11. of mice and men - john steinbeck
(this book always makes me want to cry. the story is just so amazing. i always feel sorry for george, which i don't think is right, but, i don't know, i just do.)

12. the chronicles of narnia - cs lewis
(as a child i was one of the few kids who knew that the magicians nephew was written AFTER the lion, the witch and the wardrobe but preceded it. this, of course, made me feel even more intellectually superior than i already was and resulted in more bullying than i was already being subject to because i was smart [ iSigh ]. i also thought this was an amazing series of books. that said, it wasn't until i was about 18 and mum bought me the omnibus for my birthday and i was able to re-read them all, that i felt a little disillusioned. i didn't know much about cs lewis the author, other than the books i read with his name on them, but to discover a thinly veiled religious allegory in one of my favourite fantasy series of all time, really hurt. i still love the books and the characters, they're so colourful, but i could really have done without the jesus references that are so blatant.)

13. the carpet people - terry pratchett
(i don't know much pratchett (no, really, i don't), i've read a few discworld novels and enjoyed them, but i'm not going to write home to mum about them. i really enjoyed this book. i think this was one of the first books he ever wrote, and you can kinda tell, but i love it. it's almost a precursor to what eventually became "discworld"; this world in a tiny corner of the livingroom rug. i really enjoyed the simplicity of the story.)

14. animal farm - george orwell
(i can't remember how old i was when i first read this book, but i've always been fascinated by it. it would have to be my favourite of all the texts we had to study in highschool. i'd have to put this book up there with lord of the flies* as one of my fave books of all time in fact. there's just something about a bunch of animals representing a variety of sociopolitical factions and the commentary the story makes in relation to these factions that is just so amazing, and one i'm only just now beginning to understand - given my previous reluctance to care about politics of any kind in the past.)

15. magician - raymond e. feist
(raymond e. feist is an amazing fantasy writer. i've only read the first 3 books of this series, (not because i don't want to read anymore, but because i can never get hold of the books in the right order!), and i love every one of them. as a stand alone novel about an apprentice magician, it is amazing. as the first chapter of a whole world, it is wonderful. i've read it about three times and find it very hard to get hold of, otherwise i'd have read it many more times than that. i love feists' imagery and the development of the characters. i just love the whole thing.)

there you go, "15 book i think are awesome", with some background information on why i think they're awesome. hope you enjoyed.

til next....
~kits~

*it wasn't until i was writing my little explanations of why these books are on this list that i remembered lord of the flies. i think it's an awesome book, but i just didn't think of it at the time of compiling my list.
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