This has to be the scariest award I have ever received. There is so much potential here to fall flat on my face. Not that it’d be the first time, but I only have to look at the other recipients to tremble in my boots. Madhu, whose work I revere, has nominated me, alongside The Wanderlust Gene and Jo Bryant. How intimidating is that? Or maybe I mean inspiring?
Reading the small print, “for those who refuse to live in the real world”- well, I can certainly relate to that. Such a cruel and heartless world it can be. There’s every reason to escape into fantasy. The nightly news horrifies me. Why can we not live in peace and harmony? Our minds are capable of so much that is amazing. Why then are we so prone to destruction? Naive I know, but I don’t understand it.
I couldn’t, hand on heart, describe my childhood as a happy one, and books were always my preferred means of escape. The difficulty I find as I grow older is that my powers of recollection struggle. Even books that make an enormous impression on me are hazy in the detail just a few weeks after reading. So this award filled me with both joy and dread.
My solution? Like Alice, I’m off to a fantasy world. I could so easily be the White Rabbit, scurrying along with never enough time. I’m sure many of the nuances of Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland” were lost on me, but it is the ultimate in escapism.
Growing up, I loved Kenneth Grahame’s “The Wind in the Willows”, of course, and Louisa Alcott’s “Little Women”. Graham Greene and Hemingway found me next. Loving travel as I do, it’ll come as no surprise to find that I’m drawn to books with exotic backgrounds. Thus it was that I found myself in Afghanistan with Khaled Hussein’s “The Kite Runner”. I was swept along with Amir, on his quest for redemption, in a world of which I had no conception. I guess that what I look for most in a book is an insight into, and hopefully a little understanding of, another world. It’s not always a happy journey. I found Dave Boling’s brilliant “Guernica” harrowing, no less so for its being based on real life events. Escapism doesn’t always work out well.
Markus Zusak, however, held me enthralled with “The Book Thief”. Making Death a narrator, sympathetic to humankind, was pure genius in my view. It seemed so appropriate in book burning, hatred filled Nazi Germany. The book is a real celebration of both the power of the written word, and the human spirit. I loved it.
When I discovered Joyce Carol Oates I was stopped in my tracks by her formidable writing talent. To me a great writer expresses things I would want to say, but don’t have the means. Joyce Carol Oates has this in abundance. I cannot conceive of writing a book such as “Blonde”, however drawn I am to the legend that was Marilyn Monroe. Neither could I envisage penning “The Gravedigger’s Daughter”.
How am I doing? I had to list my five favourite books for this award. Not so easy, is it? I’m going with the ones in bold, and that still leaves me one to choose. I am an unashamed romantic, and “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin”, by Louis de Bernieres, gets my last vote.
“What is left when the passion is gone” is how Pelagia’s father describes love. It certainly has a lot to endure in the case of the Captain and his lady. I saw the film before I ever read the book, and was quite happy to picture Nicolas Cage as my hero. As always happens with a great book, it was better than the film, and truer to life.
If you followed the link to Madhu, you’ll be aware that I’m about to pass the Booker Award on to five more readers.
Just Add Attitude As blog names go, this is a nice one, and I’ve enjoyed finding out about B’s love of London, Paris and Dublin (her native city). Now to find out which books she likes?
Writing between the Lines Naomi is an inspiring writer and photographer whose warmth and affectionate nature shines through between those lines.
Colline’s Blog is “a potpourri of thoughts and experiences”, in her own words. I’d like to hear more.
Travel with Kat A true world traveller is Kat, with an interesting past and an absorbing present. I hope she can find the time to accept this.
Read Me If you look at Patti’s blog it will immediately become obvious that she’s another Alice fan (and I don’t mean Cooper). We both have two children with a huge gap between them. I wonder what else we might have in common?
Thank you Madhu, for sharing this with me, though like your friend Rommel, I have my doubts.