T5W | Authors You Want to Read More From

Welcome one, welcome all, to ‘Emma Remembers Top 5 Wednesdays Exists And Decides To Join In’… again. Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme/challenge which was created by the wonderful Lainey from gingereadslainey and is now overseen by the equally lovely Sam from Thoughts of Tomes. Every Wednesday, participants devise their Top 5 based on a given topic.

This Wednesday’s topic is Authors You Want to Read More From. As Sam says: “Talk about some authors that you’ve only read one or a few books from, and you NEED to read more!” I have a horrible tendency of enjoying a book and then completely and utterly failing to pick up other books by that same author unless it’s part of a series… and even then I sometimes read the first book, love it, and then promptly abandon the series accidentally! There are also a lot of authors whose work I enjoy but have not actively pursued or kept an eye on… let’s see the top 5 of those authors, shall we?

5. John le Carré

I first tried to read John le Carré back when the Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy film was out – I’d been to see the film, really enjoyed it, and wanted to get stuck into the source material. I never made it even halfway – I was way too confused by the novel. Fast forward a few years and it was announced that Tom Hiddleston (yeah, him again, sorry/not sorry) would be starring in an adaptation of a le Carré novel called The Night Manager. I picked up the book, I read it, I loved it, and was firmly convinced that the casting people deserve gold stars for their casting of Pine, Roper, and Corky. (Like, seriously, Tom Hollander as Corky is spot on.) Fast forward a few more months and I haven’t read another le Carré despite the fact that I now think I have the right reading level to follow his plots and I’ve bought a couple more of his novels with the very intention of reading them sooner rather than later. I need to correct that, stat.

4. Donna Tartt

The Secret History is one of my favourite novels, and yet I haven’t read anything else by Donna Tartt – why not? I am more than certain that I adore her writing style thanks to the slow, languid pace of The Secret History and I thought her character development and characterisation was super intriguing. She only has three novels currently published so it’s not as though she has an extensive back catalogue that I need to work through and The Goldfinch sounds right up my alley… it’s getting faintly ridiculous that I haven’t yet picked up another Tartt novel and yet I persist in re-reading The Secret History.

3. William Shakespeare

I took a final year course dedicated entirely to the Bard himself. My postgraduate/MA dissertation was completely focused on the excessive body in Coriolanus. I graduated with a distinction in early modern literature. And yet I still do not consider myself fully versed on enough of Shakespeare’s plays. To be fair to me, there are quite a few to get through, but I’m still annoyed at myself that I haven’t read/watched more of them. At last count I’ve managed (in some guise) 23 out of 36 which, hey, is not bad by any means but a large portion of those were speed-read before a seminar soooo it’s safe to say I might not have entirely appreciated them to their fullest. I need to sort that out soon – is it too ambitious to decree that I want to be completist and read all of them?

 2. Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman has wrote some of my favourite novels (cough Good Omens cough), I love him as a writer regardless of what age he is writing for, and I pretty much sit in awe of his existence, even as I just casually scroll through his Twitter. Despite this… I’ve only read a couple of his books – why?! I’ve never yet finished American Gods (it’s long and complicated, ok guys?!) or Neverwhere (nope, I got no excuses here), despite adoring The Graveyard Book with every fibre of my being and being super creeped out and intrigued in equal measure by The Ocean at the End of the Lane. The film adaptation of Stardust (whilst different from the book apparently) is kind of one of my favourite (not so guilty pleasure) films – I mean, come on, sky pirates – and I’m curious to read that story told in the darker, more gruesome tone that I’m told the book has. I think I probably just need to read all the Gaiman ever.

1. Daphne du Maurier

Daphne du Maurier wrote possibly my favourite book of all-time, Rebecca, and yet I have only read one other novel by her (Jamaica Inn for what it’s worth) – that’s very dumb of me. I have My Cousin Rachel sat staring at me every night when I go to sleep (my bookshelf is right by my bed, ok, it’s less creepy than it sounds) and yet I still haven’t picked it up properly. I’m so serious about needing to read more du Maurier that I recently deliberately bought Frenchman’s Creek, Rule Britannia, and The Scapegoat in the editions I’m collecting (no, not the pretty ones, sadly, but I have to get them to match my Virago Modern Classics copy of Rebecca I have because that’s my copy, you know?). I have no more excuses, I now have plenty of du Maurier to be getting on with… so get to getting, Emma!

So there we have it folks – those were my top 5 authors that I want to read more from. Do you agree/disagree with my choices? Which authors do you want to read more from in the future? If you have a Top 5 Wednesday list, be sure to link it below – I’d love to take a look!


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T5W | Gateway Books To My Favourite Genre

top 5 wednesdayWelcome one, welcome all, to ‘Emma Remembers Top 5 Wednesdays Exists And Decides To Join In’… again. Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme/challenge which was created by the wonderful Lainey from gingereadslainey and is now overseen by the equally lovely Sam from Thoughts of Tomes. Every Wednesday, participants devise their Top 5 based on a given topic.

This Wednesday’s theme is books which are Gateway Books To My Favourite Genre. Now, whenever I do these type of lists, I always seem to end up writing about Fantasy, specifically YA Fantasy so, for the sake of some variety (as I hear it is allegedly the spice of life), I have decided to talk about another of my favourite genres: Classics.

To be quite honest, the entire concept of having a genre as wide-reaching and wide-ranging as, simply, Classics baffles me. Especially since Classics are basically just books we (/someone) decided were important (for whatever reason) and so they remained in the culture and in the book world for years. Basically Someone Deems It Quality + Time Passed Since Publication = Classic. There are contemporary books today that could well become classics in the future, that’s just how it works.

All of this rambling is my way of saying that because the genre is so large and woolly, I understand when people feel they ought to read more classics yet don’t really know which ones to reach for. Maybe they had a bad experience of being forced to read a “classic” at school and so are put off the entire genre? Maybe they think they’re too difficult to read? Maybe they think they take too much time/effort to read, so they’d rather reach for something else. These are all entirely understandable reasons.

But I also know many people who say “oh I wish I read more classics” and then feel at loss as to how to start on that mission. I could go about basically saying “read some Dickens” or “read some Austen” or “read the Brontes” or even “read some Hardy” (if I really hated you)… instead of that I’ve decided to recommend some classics that specifically fall into the Classic Gothic fiction genre. Generally speaking, the Gothic genre is considered to have began in England in the latter half of the 18th century, growing in popularity into the 19th century, and continuing to this very day in fact. Common Gothic tropes include gloomy, decaying settings (i.e. a big scary castle), supernatural beings (an odd ghost or vampire or two), curses (gotta love a cursed mirror), some kind of transgression (oo sexy) etc. etc.

The reason I wish to recommend this genre in particular is that it’s about as far away as possible from the realist novels of the long nineteenth century which are usually taught as classics. Because of this, it would be easy to assume that this is what all classics are like but I assure you that’s not the case! And maybe you might end up finding something that tickles your fancy!

Now I’ve given an introduction that will probably be longer than the post itself… let’s get into the actual books:

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T5W | Favourite First Sentences

Welcome one, welcome all, to ‘Emma Remembers Top 5 Wednesdays Exists And Decides To Join In’… again. Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme/challenge which was created by the wonderful Lainey from gingereadslainey and is now overseen by the equally lovely Sam from Thoughts of Tomes. Every Wednesday, participants devise their Top 5 based on a given topic. This Wednesday’s theme is Favourite First Sentences. As we all know, first sentences do a lot to sell a book to a new reader. They are an author’s chance to really grab the reader and suck them into the world they have created. Because of this, my favourite first sentences are often ones which instantly highlight the weird or wonderful story that is about to unfold in front of my very eyes.

Confession time: I am a fiend for browsing those ‘top 100 first lines of novels’ lists that you often get on book sites (I’ve linked some at the bottom of this post), to the point where I collect opening lines. I might end up with a first sentence in my collection which I adore because it sets up a story so wonderfully, even if I didn’t end up loving the story that follows. Likewise, some of my favourite books only have so-so opening lines in comparison. So, whilst some of these first lines are on the list because they are the opening lines of some of my favourite books, others on this list are just damn good first lines. Since this is quite long enough already, I’ll just let the lines speak for themselves instead of rambling on about why I picked them – if you’re curious though, comment below and I’d be happy to explain my reasoning.

Unsurprisingly, I couldn’t simply pick five so, instead, I offer up 4 different lists which contain my top 5 first sentences from… Shakespeare plays, classics, modern/contemporary novels, and books I have yet to read – hopefully you enjoy a good list as much as I do, since I’ve given you four of them!

Enough explanation, let’s go…

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T5W | Best Recommended Books

top 5 wednesdayAfter a few weeks of no-shows for Top 5 Wednesday, I am firmly back on the bandwagon. For those who are unaware, Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme/challenge organised by the wonderful Lainey, in which participants devise their Top 5 books based on a given topic – because who doesn’t love a good list?

This week’s topic is ‘Best Suggested Books You Loved’. So, this week, I will be choosing the top 5 books that other people have recommended to me, either personally/directly or indirectly through videos and blogs.


71pV9PPv-ML5. Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig

I’d heard a little buzz about this throughout booktube but I believe the one video that really recommended it to me was Lily from lilypad’s wonderful review about the book. And it truly is a wonderful book too! It doesn’t shy away from discussing serious and somber life-changing topics but it likewise also seeks to capture the beauty and fulfilment in even the smallest things about living life with a mental illness. Were it not for Lily’s indirect recommendation I might not have read this yet (if at all) so I’m certainly glad her video review showed up in my Subscriptions feed one day.

61rYKiTaObL._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_4. Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson

After seeing a Bookbreak episode dedicated to this book’s release, I knew I needed to check it out for myself. Besides that promotion of it, I’d also seen it mentioned by Max from welldonebooks – and, often, it’s that final push from a booktuber’s review that will get me to actually pick up a book. True to form, Jenny Lawson’s second book is a funny memoir about the darker side of living with mental illness. It doesn’t sound comedy gold but any book that features a taxidermied raccoon riding a very confused pet cat is certainly funny, if in a slightly off-beat but wonderful kind of way.

51-70e0UrTL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_3. Viper Wine by Hermione Eyre

I don’t know who hauled this book on Booktube, I just know someone must have, otherwise I wouldn’t have casually picked this up in the library one day. Since then I haven’t seen many reviews (video or otherwise) which really makes me sad because I adore this book and I wish more people did too. My gushing review attests to that level of love so I suppose since I can’t recall who indirectly recommended it to me I must recommend it to you!

 

51sBkm4QZOL._SX304_BO1,204,203,200_2. North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell

This was a recommendation from my English teacher who taught me (in some capacity) from when I was 12 until I was 18. So, when she discovered I was partial to be a bit of Austen, didn’t mind getting stuck into a good ol’ Victorian novel, and loved Richard Armitage (he stars as the hero, Mr Thornton, in a BBC miniseries adaptation of the novel). I’d say those prerequisites mark out the tone of the novel, as well as the people who will probably enjoy it. It is a 19th-century novel so it can be quite a trudge at times, but the main characters of John Thornton and Margaret Hale clash perfectly, representing the values of the industrious, industrialising, emerging north and the established, middle-class sensibility of the south respectively. It’s not all about poverty and class politics though, there is a romance amidst all the mills and the smoke!

rebeccavirago21. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

This was a personal recommendation from my English teacher and probably not a surprise on this list since I mention it on this blog all the time. She heard I liked a bit of Gothic-y influences and had recently read Jane Eyre, so she recommended me du Maurier’s books. Not only this, I own a beautiful Virago Modern Classics edition of Rebecca and, although my memory fails me on this, I’m 90% sure it was gifted to me from both my English teachers as one of their parting gifts to the class at the end of sixth form. For that reason the edition will always have sentimental value but when I then picked up Rebecca, I adored it! Definitely an apt recommendation from Miss Colabella since it turned out to be one of my favourite books of all-time.


And on that very high note, I shall end my Top 5 Wednesday post for this week. Do you have a Top 5 Wednesday list for this week? Share below, I’d love to check it out. If not, perhaps comment below with either: which book have you loved that was a recommendation from someone else or (more controversially) which book have you hated that was recommended by someone else?