Friday, 14 December 2012

Something for the weekend '5 books.. No 7'

This weeks '5 Books that changed my life' is brought to you by Sarah our Sales Manager. You will find our booksellers life changing books at the front of the shop.

Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable
The best reference book ever published, and one that was consulted daily during my childhood to settle arguments about the origin of sayings, weird facts and death-bed quotes. The first book I relished coming back to again and again, it set me up for a lifetime of nerdy obsessions. I’d still rather get lost in this book than look something up on Wikipedia any day.

The Daughter of Time -
Josephine Tey

Once I’d finished reading all of the children’s books at my local library, the librarian suggested crime novels as a way to move into the fiction section for adults. I’m not convinced this was a good idea as I spent a lot of time enjoying gruesome tales of murder and evil-doing, and became rather obsessed with reading everything Agatha Christie ever wrote before ticking the titles off on a dagger-shaped bookmark. Discovering Josephine Tey made me realise crime novels could be more than just clever plots. A centuries old historical mystery, investigated while Inspector Grant is stuck in a hospital bed and has only a painting of Richard III to inspire him, was just the beginning of my love of historical and clever crime novels.

Gender Trouble - Judith Butler
Butler’s difficult but rewarding book completely blew my mind when I read it at university. At the time I was devouring feminist texts and finding a new language to talk about gender, but Butler’s analysis questions the very categories of man and woman. Revolutionary and inspiring.

Another Country - James Baldwin
I began this novel while sitting in my university library, and I still remember the feeling of breathless excitement I experienced at the incredible descriptions of New York. As Rufus says, "the weight of this city was murderous". Baldwin’s writing drags you through a bohemian world of musicians and writers, each of them attempting to create art and a liveable life out of an American dream that is racist, sexist and homophobic. Dangerous, thrilling and a brilliant exploration of different lives in a big city.

Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? - Jeanette Winterson

Absolutely the best book I’ve read this year. I am delighted to discover that books can still fill me with a sense of excitement and change the way I think about the world, even at the ripe old age of 34. As a teenager I loved Winterson’s Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, and this memoir revisits many of that novel’s themes. Ultimately it is a love letter to the power of words and reading, and anyone who suspects a book has saved their life should read it.


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