I am attending the Book Lovers Book Club in Sutherland. Our first meeting is tomorrow afternoon (I am desperately trying to finish On The Road in time!). We are going around the group alphabetically to choose the books - each of us choosing 5 books to present at the bookclub. I guess we will have a vote LOL The bookclub is for general fiction, so I tried to think of books that would appeal not only to myself. I wanted to go with steampunk books as well (The Boneshaker, Leviathan and Souless etc) but was told to choose 5 books. These have been on my TBR list for quite some time, so I thought it would be a chance to read one of them.
Here is my shortlist, with blurbs from goodreads.com
The Great Gatsby - F. Scott FitzgeraldI am fascinated by the descriptions of the era in this story. My friend Sofia keeps telling me I must read it.
In 1922, F. Scott Fitzgerald announced his decision to write "something new--something extraordinary and beautiful and simple and intricately patterned." That extraordinary, beautiful, intricately patterned, and above all, simple novel became The Great Gatsby, arguably Fitzgerald's finest work and certainly the book for which he is best known. A portrait of the Jazz Age in all of its decadence and excess, Gatsby captured the spirit of the author's generation and earned itself a permanent place in American mythology. Self-made, self-invented millionaire Jay Gatsby embodies some of Fitzgerald's--and his country's--most abiding obsessions: money, ambition, greed, and the promise of new beginnings. "Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgiastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that's no matter--tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther.... And one fine morning--" Gatsby's rise to glory and eventual fall from grace becomes a kind of cautionary tale about the American Dream.
It's also a love story, of sorts, the narrative of Gatsby's quixotic passion for Daisy Buchanan. The pair meet five years before the novel begins, when Daisy is a legendary young Louisville beauty and Gatsby an impoverished officer. They fall in love, but while Gatsby serves overseas, Daisy marries the brutal, bullying, but extremely rich Tom Buchanan. After the war, Gatsby devotes himself blindly to the pursuit of wealth by whatever means--and to the pursuit of Daisy, which amounts to the same thing. "Her voice is full of money," Gatsby says admiringly, in one of the novel's more famous descriptions. His millions made, Gatsby buys a mansion across Long Island Sound from Daisy's patrician East Egg address, throws lavish parties, and waits for her to appear. When she does, events unfold with all the tragic inevitability of a Greek drama, with detached, cynical neighbour Nick Carraway acting as chorus throughout. Spare, elegantly plotted, and written in crystalline prose, The Great Gatsby is as perfectly satisfying as the best kind of poem.
Howl's Moving Castle - Diana Wynne JonesAdapted as a movie by Hayao Miyazaki, one of my favourite directors. My friend Sofia continues to recommend I read the original.
In the land of Ingary, such things as spells, invisible cloaks, and seven-league boots were everyday things. The Witch of the Waste was another matter.
After fifty years of quiet, it was rumored that the Witch was about to terrorize the country again. So when a moving black castle, blowing dark smoke from its four thin turrets, appeared on the horizon, everyone thought it was the Witch. The castle, however, belonged to Wizard Howl, who, it was said, liked to suck the souls of young girls.
The Hatter sisters--Sophie, Lettie, and Martha--and all the other girls were warned not to venture into the streets alone. But that was only the beginning.
In this giant jigsaw puzzle of a fantasy, people and things are never quite what they seem. Destinies are intertwined, identities exchanged, lovers confused. The Witch has placed a spell on Howl. Does the clue to breaking it lie in a famous poem? And what will happen to Sophie Hatter when she enters Howl's castle?
Diana Wynne Jones's entrancing fantasy is filled with surprises at every turn, but when the final stormy duel between the Witch and the Wizard is finished, all the pieces fall magically into place.
The Lace Reader - Brunonia BarryWon through booktagger.com and loved it.
Towner Whitney, the self-confessed unreliable narrator of The Lace Reader, hails from a family of Salem women who can read the future in the pat ...more "Towner Whitney, the self-confessed unreliable narrator of The Lace Reader, hails from a family of Salem women who can read the future in the patterns in lace, and who have guarded a history of secrets going back generations, but the disappearance of two women brings Towner home to Salem and the truth about the death of her twin sister to light." The Lace Reader is a tale that spirals into a world of secrets, confused identities, lies, and half-truths in which the reader quickly finds it's nearly impossible to separate fact from fiction, but as Towner Whitney points out early on in the novel, "There are no accidents.”
Never Let Me Go - Kazuo IshiguroRecommended to my by a blogging friend (Was that you JoV?), as well as a lovely girl who I work with. It was also nominated for a Booker and is about to be made into a movie.
From the acclaimed author of The Remains of the Day and When We Were Orphans, a moving new novel that subtly reimagines our world and time in a haunting story of friendship and love.
As a child, Kathy—now thirty-one years old—lived at Hailsham, a private school in the scenic English countryside where the children were sheltered from the outside world, brought up to believe that they were special and that their well-being was crucial not only for themselves but for the society they would eventually enter. Kathy had long ago put this idyllic past behind her, but when two of her Hailsham friends come back into her life, she stops resisting the pull of memory.
And so, as her friendship with Ruth is rekindled, and as the feelings that long ago fueled her adolescent crush on Tommy begin to deepen into love, Kathy recalls their years at Hailsham. She describes happy scenes of boys and girls growing up together, unperturbed-even comforted-by their isolation. But she describes other scenes as well: of discord and misunderstanding that hint at a dark secret behind Hailsham s nurturing facade. With the dawning clarity of hindsight, the three friends are compelled to face the truth about their childhood—and about their lives now.
A tale of deceptive simplicity, Never Let Me Go slowly reveals an extraordinary emotional depth and resonance-and takes its place among Kazuo Ishiguro's finest work.
The Woman in White - Wilkie CollinsI was at first intrigued by the Vintage Classics cover, and then fascinated when I read the blurb.
One of the greatest mystery thrillers ever written, Wilkie Collins' The Woman in White was a phenomenal bestseller in the 1860s, achieving even greater success than works by Dickens, Collins' friend and mentor. Full of surprise, intrigue, and suspense, this vastly entertaining novel continues to enthrall readers today.
The story begins with an eerie midnight encounter between artist Walter Hartright and a ghostly woman dressed all in white who seems desperate to share a dark secret. The next day Hartright, engaged as a drawing master to the beautiful Laura Fairlie and her half sister, tells his pupils about the strange events of the previous evening. Determined to learn all they can about the mysterious woman in white, the three soon find themselves drawn into a chilling vortex of crime, poison, kidnapping, and international intrigue.
Masterfully constructed, The Woman in White is dominated by two of the finest creations in all Victorian fiction: Marion Halcombe, dark, mannish, yet irresistibly fascinating, and Count Fosco, the sinister and flamboyant "Napoleon of Crime."
If you are in the Sutherland area and want to join the bookclub, you can leave a message on the club facebook page. I had better go and finish reading On The Road...