As part of this week’s section on the “Five Best Books about growing older”, I struggled. I have never been one to read novels that are about “coming of age” but I did decide to take Cassandra Neace’s advice about the liberal application of the term “growing older” and looked through the bookshelves for books which I felt that represented a character or characters developing a sense of maturity through the novel.
It was in last week’s list and it’s in this list again at the number five spot because it is one of the few novels that I own that happens to be a coming of age tale. It follows the life of Daniel who, as a child, is given his first taste of responsiblity when his father takes him to ‘The Cemetery of Forgotten Books’ and tells him that he must protect the book until he dies, never giving it away. The book follows him as he becomes obsessed with the book and its author through his teenage and adult years. It really is a thrilling novel, a book about books. There is a reason that I keep putting this book on the lists – because it is just so fantastic.
4. Prince of Mist – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
The second book of Carlos Ruiz Zafon to be included in this list. This book isn’t so much about “coming of age” as it is about watching a child grow to accept themselves in the world. The Prince of Mist follows Max Carter and his friends as the two delve into the past of their area and soon discover a dark secret about Max’s home and the ‘Prince of Mist’. If you liked Prince of Mist, you’ll be pleased to know that Zafon has another book under the same genre called ‘The Midnight Palace’ due out in June 2011 and you can pre-order it now on Amazon.
3. Confessions of a Fallen Angel – Ronan O’Brien
Confessions of a Fallen Angel is a novel that sees the narrator suffer a near-death experience as a child and, as a result, he can now foresee the deaths of others around him. The novel follows the narrator as he goes through his adult life suffering from this curse and attempting to save those he loves. It is a troubling and haunting novel that gripped me from beginning to end. As Ronan O’Brien’s début novel, it was a beautiful novel that will forever remain with me – a novel that reminds me of the futility and mortality of life.
2. The Meaning of Night – Michael Cox
Michael Cox is a writer that some people will struggle with and others will take pleasure in. The novel follows the life of Edward Glyver, a fictional scholar who sets out to plot revenge against his rival, Phoebus Daunt, who has haunted him throughout his life. It is a winding, twisting and turning novel that never fails to surprise the reader but those moments of greatness, the revenge plot, the mysteries and the murder are often overlooked as Cox attempts to make the novel appear as a biography with footnotes and comments on events and actions. Deserving of praise, it’s no surprise that this novel was shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award.
1. Enduring Love – Ian McEwan
The novel is, as the title states, about endurance, the power of love. It is, at the same time, a novel about maturity, about possession, obsession and its dangers. Ian McEwan’s Enduring Love is a classic. It haunts us after we’ve finished reading it because it’s possible that we could all fall into the trap that the protagonist falls into. It’s not a coming of age story. It is a story about maturity, about how the fragility of love can easily shatter into a thousand pieces what we like to think of our mature period in life.
- Five Best Books…about growing older – IndieReaderHouston
- Top five books about growing older – TheLitWitch
- 5 Best Books…about growing older – Eclectic / Eccentric
- 5 Best Books…About Growing Older – Tonje Anita Solberg
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- Michelle Birbeck – Five Best Books…that I did not want to end
- The Lit Witch – Five Best Books…that I did not want to end
- Indie Reader Houston – 5 Best Books..that I did not want to end
- Indie Reader Houston – 5 Best Books
- ThirtyCreativeStudio – POST-A-FIVE: 5 Best Books set in a [Hispanic] Foreign Country
- The Sunday Book Reviews – Five Best Books Where Music Played a Major Role
In the third novel published in the translated English from Carlos Ruiz Zafon, The Prince of Mist shifts its attention from the world of literature and instead targets the ‘teenage’ genre which has become so fascinated as of late with vampires, werewolves and magic. The Prince of Mist will become another success on top of his two other best-sellers, Shadow of the Wind and The Angel’s Game.
Few people have heard of Carlos Ruiz Zafon and even fewer people have heard of his latest novel, The Prince of Mist. Whilst bookshops across the globe are focusing on the release of the next publication from Stephanie Meyer, Zafon has stepped into the ‘young adult’ genre and has grabbed those people who are more interested in themes of magic and history than girls who are torn between the love of a vampire and a werewolf.
For those who do know of Zafon, most are surprised to discover that this was released as opposed to the third instalment of his trilogy on the different aspects of literature; reading (in Shadow of the Wind), writing (in The Angel’s Game) and publishing (as yet unreleased). Those who are die-hard fans of Zafon’s writing will know that this novel is part of a series that was written in Spanish before Shadow in the Wind but was not released in the translated English until now.
The blurb of the novel is as enthralling as usual from Zafon’s writing when it begins ‘It is 1943 and the winds of war are sweeping across Europe. Max Carver’s father – an eccentric watchmaker and inventor – has decided to move his family away from the city to an old wooden house on the coast’. Aside from the familiar alliteration in the first line of the blurb, this is a classic example of Zafon’s focus in writing novels. He often writes his novels set in Spain during wars and this is no exception.
It isn’t just the blurb that grips the reader and the first line is ‘Max would never forget that faraway summer when, almost by chance, he discovered magic’. It grips the reader in a hold, forcing the reader to ask questions. Where is Max now? How did he discover magic? Where was he? What’s happening? All these questions swirl around the reader’s head but Zafon never ceases with his writing and keeps thrusting out the dynamic writing.
For teenagers who are disenchanted with the ‘obsession’ with Twilight, here is the chance to discover Spain’s best-selling author. For those readers who have never heard of Zafon, here is a chance to discover a mesmerizing, talented writer who has become a cult icon. For those people who know and love Zafon, this book does not disappointed. In the words of the editor ‘A novel for readers of all ages – discover the book that launched the career of Spain’s bestselling author’.