1. Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood.

Brilliant, take a shuffle in Iris' slippers for a day. Fantastic, cutting commentary on aspects modern life as well as a beautiful sweeping historical memoir with puzzles and riddles that keep you guessing right up to the last chapters, even when you're pretty sure you've got everything all sewn up. Very clever stories within stories. You will be missed Iris.

2. The Hours by Michael Cunningham.

A stunningly beautifully written book, touching and clever. It was such a joy to read, one of those that you turn each page lovingly, stroking the pages, treasuring it.

3. The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy.

I adored this book from the start, the language is so lush, rich and almost didn't matter where the story was going it was so dripping with beautiful wordplay. And like someone else said about the 'spiraling' time line, kept you working your way towards the plot unraveling - a bit forward, a bit back, pieces at a time. A joyful experience, I haven't smiled so much with a read for a long time. As others have said its funny its not an uplifting storyline, but its an almost incidental fact when the imagery and playfulness is like this.

4. Shogun by James Clavell.

Bloody brilliant - re read after a 20 year gap after GR peer group pressure and upgraded from 3 to 5 stars. Pleased to find memory of goldfish so remembered almost nothing from previous read and that had seriously done an injustice with previous rating,

The writing isn't always first class but at the same time Clavell perfectly en-captures the delicacies of the Samurai code of honour and Japanese life at that time. Its gruesome and bloody and coarse but the plots and counter plots and intrigues keep you on the edge of your reading chair the whole way through. And you change with Anjin-san as you get to know the Japanese better and your standpoint on who are the more barbaric changes the more you read on. Mariko-San became one of my favourite literary heroines. Im not usually one for war novels but there was so much more to this and i loved never knowing whos side anyone was on and wondering what the next carrier pigeon would bring. The mind boggles at how many seppukus and decapitations and gruesome deaths happened throughout the book but you have to admire the sense of honour and duty and commitment to their cause that these characters had.

There's even some philosophy in there..i found myself trying to imagine rocks growing while trying to struggle through Christmas shopping hoards of people without hitting someone!

You even get to pick up some Japanese on the way!

Top marks!

5. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas.

Bloody Brick-Tastic! Possibly the best book I've ever read, certainly the longest. 1243 pages of action, revenge, retribution, planning, plotting, secrets, affairs, Parisian glamour and romance. The pace barely lets up, its pretty much a page turner all the way through, and the second half has plenty of OMG moments. I never would have attempted something so daunting seeming if it wasn't recommended by GR friends, i seriously thought it would have to be one of the stuffiest old books going. Wrong, wrong wrong!... read it!


These are all books I want to read as well, Jon. Although, I'd thought you'd read The Hours and God of Small Things a long time ago?

27 February 2010 at 12:49  

No, I thought id read them longer ago as well, but it was early 2009.

27 February 2010 at 14:47  

Good lord, how could you choose only 5??? O_O

I may be able to choose 10, but I may have some ties. =\

27 February 2010 at 17:17  

Hmmm...I don't see any smut on this list.

28 February 2010 at 00:05  

I had to be ruthless to get to five! i couldnt have done top 5 of all time, but top 5 of 2009 i was able to do..just about... (sorry other books)

28 February 2010 at 00:35  

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