Five Best Books… that I did not want to end


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This is a post that is a participant of Indie Reader Houston‘s Five Best Books series of weekly memes. This week’s contribution is “Five Best Books … that I did not want to end”. I have selected five books that kept me gripped from beginning to end, ensuring that I never forget the characters, the plot, the setting. Part of the reason that I didn’t want these books to end was because I believed I was part of that world, part of the fiction that the author had created. This is the five best books that I did not want to end.

5. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

The Picture of Dorian Gray is a cultural icon. It has gone from a sensation in the novel form to a blockbuster film. This is a film that I never wanted to end. It is a book that grabs the heart of moral dilemma, about our inner-most desires, fears and ideas about the world. Dorian Gray is not only a character that we love but he represents something of ourselves. It is impossible for us to escape the feeling that we are all a “double”. As a novel of the fin de siècle, it represents a change at the turn of the century. Oscar Wilde’s only novel continues to hold a sway over me and for that reason it will forever remain one of the most powerful books I ever read.

4. The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant

The simplest explanation for this novel being in this list is because it combines two of my greatest loves: art and the Renaissance. Dunant is known for writing love stories that engage in historical periods and this novel is no exception. It is beautifully romantic but tragic. There is no doubt that this novel will tug at the strings of the heart. We will feel ourselves moved by the characters, forming in our minds an impression of their lives, their love going against the grain of society. It is the tragedy, the history, the romance that puts this book at number four in the five best books that I did not want to end.

3. Transition by Iain Banks

It’s not the conventional science fiction novels that we know Iain M. Banks for but it combines the two genres that he has written in, a beautiful blend of science-fiction and traditional fiction that ensures the reader is never lost for grand ideas. I loved this novel from start to finish. Some people disliked it because it wasn’t science fiction. Some people didn’t like it because it wasn’t traditional fiction. I liked it because it had the best of both worlds. I came across Iain Banks by chance and I will never ever forget the debt I owe to him for introducing me to his mind through his novels.

2. Hamlet by William Shakespeare

It’s not a novel. It’s a play. It’s one of the best plays that I have ever encountered. The simplest reason that this book is on this list is because it became a cultural sensation. It has scenes that will forever be remembered, whether you have read Hamlet or not. The iconic “skull scene”, the famous line “To be or not to be?”, these are the reasons that people remember Hamlet. I remember Hamlet because it gave me the love of William Shakespeare, because it showed me a world of tragedy, of comedy, madness and despair. The ending is the most disappointing thing because it brings an end to a tragic play.

1. Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Number one in the list of five books that I didn’t want to end and I still can’t believe that it has ended. I still remember when I got to the end of this book that I was torn, frustrated, upset. Since that time, Carlos Ruiz Zafon has published the sequel, The Angel’s Game as well as the young-adult novel, The Prince of Mist. Neither of these satisfied me. Ever since that time, I’ve wanted more from Zafon. The Shadow of the Wind gave me a love, a hunger that I have never experienced before. Whenever I hear that there is more Zafon coming, I get excited because I know it means more from the man who gave me Shadow of the Wind.

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About ICaithness

Such is the nature of life that it is difficult to describe oneself, for the simple fear of complete subjectivity. I, for one, would propose that others look to my friends, companions and acquaintances for an analysis of my personality. Alas, I find that I must write something in order to inform my readers of my personality and my linguistic nature. In order to do that, I shall write as objectively as I can. There is little to be said for the sparse writing that I do on occasion, save that it often has a philosophical undertone and best represents the person that I am. Writing is, as was once seen, a beautiful and therapeutic method of examining the world. The words we create are mere 'mirrors to reflect the creations of Nature'. In essence, our hand creates that which reflects our life best. Philosophical though I may be, there is much more to me than pure complex and abstract thought. I am no more a philosophy than I am a man. It is only the presentation of said self that helps to create an identity, a face which represents life in all its glory.

Posted on March 21, 2011, in Commentaries, Literature, The Arts and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. Thanks for adding your list! I’m glad to see that one of my books made it on there. My boyfriend says that Dorian Gray would be on his, but, I’m sorry to say, I’ve never read it. It’s on two of the lists this week, though. I’m going to have to give it a try!

  2. I didn’t mind Dorian Gray, but I was glad to see it end. Such a creepy story.

    • We’re allowed our own opinion. I happened to find The Picture of Dorian Gray fascinating. I could read it again and again but still have the same reaction – that I never want it to end. There’s no doubt that some people, like yourself, would rather see it over but I’m obsessed with it.

  3. I love this list! Dorian Gray was on mine too. And you made me realize that I probably should have considered Hamlet as well – it’s my favorite of Shakespeare’s plays. Looking forward to next week’s list. Such a fun meme.

    • Hamlet is a fantastically good text, certainly my favourite Shakespearean play, if not my favourite play of all time. I’m glad other people appreciate the brilliance of Dorian Gray, even if it isn’t quite the standard text you’d expect.

  4. Thanks for putting Transition on the list. No, I haven’t read it, but I have read a few of Banks’ books, but with and without the M. ;-)

    I will have a look for this one. It sounds just my kind of thing.

    • I have to say that Iain Banks (with or without the M) is certainly one of my favourite authors but I only discovered him recently. It really is a fascinating read but I can’t say that it is quite the “Banks” people have come to expect.

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