27 February 2009

Fiction: twenty five favourites

Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen (1813)
Collected Ghost Stories, M R James (1931)
Cold Comfort Farm, Stella Gibbons (1932)
The Nine Tailors, Dorothy L Sayers (1934)
The Laird and the Lady, Joan Grant (1949)
The Daughter of Time, Josephine Tey (1951)
The Tiger in the Smoke, Margery Allingham (1952)
Cotillion, Georgette Heyer (1953)
The Once and Future King, T H White (1958)
Love on a Branch Line, John Hadleigh (1959)
Too Many Ghosts, Paul Gallico (1961)
Tree and Leaf, J R R Tolkien (1964)
The House on the Strand, Daphne du Maurier (1969)
The Ringed Castle, Dorothy Dunnett (1971)
Thomas the Fish, Diana Morgan (1976)
Glimpses of the Moon, Edmund Crispin (1977)
The Roses of Picardie, Simon Raven (1979)
Flying to Nowhere, John Fuller (1983)
Noah’s Ark, Barbara Trapido (1984)
One Thing Leading to Another, Sylvia Townsend Warner (1984)
Hawksmoor, Peter Ackroyd (1985)
Knots & Crosses, Ian Rankin (1987)
Unaccustomed Spirits, Elizabeth Pewsey (1997)
Unicorn’s Blood, Patricia Finney (1998)
The Book of Dave, Will Self (2006)

That was hard!

Quite a lot of it at one extreme or the other, it appears: happy and joyful (or at least humorous) or distinctly Gothic. It leaves out an awful lot of favourites, like Elizabeth Goudge’s Towers in the Mist, and like Jilly in her jillysheep blog, I often found it difficult to choose among a series or an author’s work, like which of Dorothy Dunnett’s ‘Lymond’ books to go for. And the M R James and the Sylvia Townsend Warner are short stories rather than novels, of course.

Apart from the Will Self, what about the last ten years’ worth, you may ask? That was when I finally tipped over into reading more non-fiction – cue yet another list, perhaps.


Jilly said...

That is interesting. I did consider the Ringed Castle before finally plumping for Checkmate. My Gaudy Night could easily have been The Nine Tailors or even Busman's Honeymoon. I really couldn't decide between Brother of the More Famous Jack and Noah's Ark.
Of your list I've read 14 and it's given me one or two more to try as well.
Non-fiction - well I really think that would involve a lot of head scratching!

NAM said...

I do know exactly what you mean! I swithered for ages over those two Dorothy Dunnett and Barbara Trapido titles. The Nine Tailors has the edge for me over the other two Sayers titles because it has overtones of M R James - not just the fact that the bells are seen as living entities and one of them has caused two deaths in the past, but also because of the emphasis on on the church's history, architecture and location - M R James with his art history hat on.