For a while now I’ve been missing in action. And for that my few, dear readers I am sorry.
My absence can be blamed on my day job. As someone who works in the media it is incredibly hard for me to come home to write from a job where I write.
But I feel like I should do more creative writing these days. I feel like I’ve lost that part of my life and I will never get it back.
So to get my creative juices flowing I have decided to reveal to you a list of books that I really admire the writing style of the author.
The first is pretty much a no brainer.
(And I will count them in Japanese because I am jetting off to the land of the rising sun soon!)
Ichi: Persuasion, Jane Austen
This book to me is just a stone’s throw away from perfection. It combines Jane Austen’s wit with a taste of bittersweet regret. Divine.
Highlight: No surprises here. Hands down Frederick Wentworth’s letter to Anne Elliot.
“Unjust I may have been, weak and resentful I have been, but never inconstant. You alone have brought me to Bath. For you alone, I think and plan.”
Everytime I read this I feel myself choke up.
Ni: The Great Gatsy, F Scott Fitzgerald
Another classic novel. The descriptions, the decadence, the drama. It’s just so goddamn indulgent. Fitzgerald takes you back to another time with his delicious prose. If this novel was a food it would be a truffle – the expensive kind.
Highlight: The elaborate, yet simple, word paintings written by Fitzgerald conjures up colourful, ’20s-esque scenes in your mind with little effort.
“The bar is in full swing, and floating rounds of cocktails permeate the garden outside, until the air is alive with chatter and laughter, and casual innuendo and introductions forgotten on the spot, and enthusiastic meetings between women who never knew each other’s names.”
San: High Fidelity, Nick Hornby
The first chapter had me hooked. I remember I was going through a particularly profound period of my life. When I started the book I was so sick of men in general. But ironically I could relate to the male protagonist’s trials and tribulations and see the humour in them.
Highlight: The sheer frankness of this book just makes me smile because it would be just the way I would deliver my thoughts on paper.
“My desert-island, all-time, top five most memorable split-ups, in chronological order:
1) Alison Ashworth
2) Penny Hardwick
3) Jackie Allen
4) Charlie Nicholson
5) Sarah Kendrew
These were the ones that really hurt. Can you see your name in that lot, Laura? I reckon you’d sneak into the top ten, but there’s no place for you in the top five; those places are reserved for the kind of humiliations and heartbreaks that you’re just not capable of delivering. That probably sounds crueler than it is meant to, but the fact is that we’re too old to make each other miserable, and that’s a good thing, not a bad thing, so don’t take your failure to make the list personally. Those days are gone, and good fucking riddance to them; unhappiness really meant something back then. Now it’s just a drag, like a cold or having no money. If you really wanted to mess me up, you should have got to me earlier.”
It’s the opening of the book. Makes me laugh. Every. Single. Time. Maybe because I was bitter like he was.
Shi: One Day, David Nicholls
This is on my list because it’s the romance I wish I could have experienced at one time in my life. Who hasn’t had that best friend they’ve had romantic feelings for? This novel always makes me feel oddly nostalgic.
Highlight: The conversations between the two protagonists to me is like having deja vu. They seem like conversations I’ve had before with people I know.
“She turned to look at him, her chin tucked in.
‘Let‘s just cuddle, shall we?’
‘Of course. If you want,’ he said gallantly, though in truth he had never really seen the point of cuddling. Cuddling was for great aunts and teddy bears. Cuddling gave him cramp. Best now to admit defeat and get home as soon as possible, but she was settling her head on his shoulder territorially, and they lay like this, rigid and self-conscious for some time before she said: ‘Can‘t believe I used the word ―cuddle. Bloody ‘ell – cuddle. Sorry about that.’
He smiled. ’S‘alright. Least it wasn’t snuggle.’”
It gets me all warm and fuzzy inside whenever I read passages of familiar conversation between Dex and Emma in this novel. The honesty in conversation that exists between the two is captured perfectly by Nicholls in my opinion.
Go: Sonnet 116, William Shakespeare
I know it’s not a novel. But it’s his words that resonate with me. And when words resonate it means they have touched a nerve of truth within in me and since high school I haven’t been able to shake this feeling. For this reason alone I have included it in on this list.
“Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.”
To me this is what true love is meant to be. The hopeless romantic in me won’t let this version of love go. Ever.