Top 10 Villains

Wow its been a while between Top 10 posts huh?

My humble apologies oh beloved Bookbaggers of mine! This was meant to be a companion piece to the Top 10 Heroes post, but at the time I got so distracted that it remained forgotten in my drafts – until now! And how fitting is it for a list of villains to rise again after lulling everyone into a false sense of security where they were content to live with the assumption that those dastardly devils had vanished for good?

Well I’m sticking with that convenient theory anyway.

1. Goth

The Trinity Trilogy by Fiona McIntosh

I couldn’t have Torkyn Gynt on my Top 10 Heroes list without having his polar opposite in the villains category. Despite the fact that Goth is not the official grand-supreme-bad-guy which usually features in fantasy sagas (that title goes to Orlac, a God who Tor is destined to defeat should he escape imprisonment and wreak havoc on all mankind) he stands out as the most despicable and disgusting character in the trilogy. From the start of the first book, Betrayal, Goth establishes himself as a hate-able character as the Chief Inquisitor, a powerful individual elected by the king to inflict his brand of  cruel ‘justice’ on suspected Sentients (people with heightened mental powers like telepathy). He then further earned his villain stripes by brutally raping one of the main characters (also in the first book) and from then on kept topping himself with even more dastardly, deplorable deeds. A character that made me cheer when he finally got what was coming to him!

Goth looking mighty evil atop a pissed off horse

2.  Inspector Fumero

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Inspector Fumero is one of those villains who is so awful because he isn’t some crazy caricature of a baddie, he’s an example of someone who could very well exist – a corrupt, sadistic cop. Some of the most unsettling and painful moments in this beautiful book were the responsibility of Fumero and I very quickly started to hate him. But sometimes doesn’t that make a book more interesting? Books would be pretty boring without someone truly rotten to hate, and Fumero certainly met The Shadow of the Wind‘s rotten bastard quota.

I couldn’t find anything to represent Inspector Fumero so here’s a cover of The Shadow of the Wind that I don’t think I’ve posted before

3. Gorgrael

The Axis Trilogy by Sara Douglass

Gorgrael is the perfect fantasy saga grand-supreme-bad-guy. Firstly he is the hero’s half-brother. Secondly he is also called the Destroyer, a powerful evil that Axis (the hero) is destined to defeat. This alone would make him a classic villain but since the first book of the trilogy (Battleaxe AKA The Wayfarer Redemption) starts with him being born by eating his way out of his mother’s womb, he goes straight to the upper tiers of evilness. Also he’s all horned and demon-looking which always helps when identifying a villain.

Since I couldn’t find a picture of Gorgrael, here’s another one of his nemesis Axis rocking yellow

4. Voldemort

The Harry Potter series by J K Rowling

Just like HP had to be on the Top 10 Heroes list so does his arch nemesis – and for very similar reasons. While Harry is a hero because at a tender age he faces the big bad over and over and over, Voldemort deserves the title of Big Bad because he just keeps coming back! Not only did he kill countless powerful witches and wizards and terrorise the entire magical world before Harry was even born, but when he meets his match he drags himself virtually back from the dead to kill an terrorise all over again! This is a man so evil that from his teen years he splits his soul into pieces to ensure that he’ll never truly die; lives off unicorn blood to stay somewhat alive; inhabits the back of another guys head and gets him to do his bidding; gets another minion to kidnap a couple of teenage boys so that he can reclaim his old form; forces another teen boy to kill his headmaster; and otherwise tries to bloody murder the crap out of as many people as possible. And he’s damn creepy to boot.

Ralph Fiennes is way too good at being creepy

5. The White Witch

The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe by C S Lewis

The terrifying White Witch that terrorised the inhabitants of Narnia and plunged the realm into perpetual winter is one of the first villains that really gave me the creeps. Ever since I was a kid I always kind of pitied and rooted for the baddies in Disney films (I loved Ursula, Maleficent, and the Queen in Snow White), but there was something instantly hate-able about the White Witch. I remember reading the book and listening to the audio tape at my friend’s house, and shivering inside a little every time she popped up. Maybe it was how she used Edmund against the other children by innocently offering him Turkish Delight and cocoa (similar to the witch in Hansel and Gretel), or how she could turn people into statues that she grotesquely displayed, or just that she was so cold and heartless, she just seemed so evil and I couldn’t find a shred of pity. And it certainly didn’t help when I saw the film adaptation – Tilda Swinton played her way too well O.o

Tilda Swinton portrayed the perfect cold-hearted White Witch in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

6. The Queen of Hearts

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

My love of Alice related things has already been well established, so there is no way that this list could exist without a nod to the furious Queen with an obsession for beheading! I think turning a simple Queen of Hearts in a deck of cards into an insane tyrant is a fantastic idea (kudos Mr Carroll/Dodgson) and thanks to the original Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland/Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, the outrageous monarch has been re-imagined in many terrifying forms. My favourites include Kathy Bates’ quietly seething majesty in the mini-series, Alice (2009) ; the fat, pompous, bad-tempered old  tyrant in the Disney film; the sinister Redd Heart from The Looking-Glass Wars series by Frank Beddor; and, even though I was slightly disappointed with Tim Burton’s 2010 movie, Helena Bonham Carter’s big-headed Queen was a hoot!

There are so many incarnations of the Queen of Hearts/Red Queen that I just couldn’t decide and went with somethin a bit different – Redd Heart from The Looking Glass Wars – truly terrifying!

7. Bill Sikes

Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

When I said that the White Witch was probably the first villain that creeped me out as a kid, Bill Sikes would be the other contender. I’m not sure which one I encountered first, but as a child (heck, even now) if I was in a dark alley faced with the White Witch at one end and Sikes at the other, I very well might pick the Witch (maybe she’d make me one of her minions?). The scary thing about Sikes is that he’s so real. Unlike most of the characters on this list, in the time that Oliver Twist was written there was plenty of men (and women) like him – and there’s plenty today. Bill Sikes used young orphans and street urchins as portable burglary tools, and unlike their master, Fagin, he didn’t care a jot what happened to them. The clincher for me was when Sikes killed his lady, Nancy, the kind-hearted prostitute/bar-maid who is the only soul who truly loves him – especially because she was my favourite character 😥

Oliver Reed as Sikes in the 1968 adaptation, Oliver! That stare just… *shudder*

8. blueeyedboy/Gloria Green

blueeyedboy by Joanne Harris

This one is tricky because I can’t really explain why I listed both without completely giving away the ending of the book O.O I almost didn’t include them because of this, but the book left such a huge impression on me because of the “villains” that I couldn’t leave them out. What I can say is that throughout blueeyedboy your mind is in a constant state of confusion over what is “real” (as in real within the story) and fiction, and who is the real villain of the piece. I can’t say any more but I would urge anyone who is intrigued by this to go read it – It’s a great book!

You wouldn’t think this little boy would be on a list of villains O.O

9. Big Brother

Nineteen Eighty Four by George Orwell

Big Brother is a unique villain because he is so prominent in the book, without actually being physically present – in fact Big Brother may not even be a real person, but instead the face of the controlling Party. Nineteen Eighty Four and Big Brother has spawned so much pop culture since its publication, that were it not for George Orwell, the world today would be a very different place. On the one hand this would be good – I don’t think Orwell would be happy with the deluge of reality TV, especially not the insipid show named after Big Brother, and the ways our society is constantly monitored by CCTV, phone and online bugging and other technologies probably would chill him to the bone. On the other hand, his book has helped create a similar flood of post-apocalyptic and dystopic fiction which makes people question our current ways, which may have given Orwell some hope. Anyway, the whole concept of Big Brother is damn creepy…

10. Count Olaf

A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket

Ah Count Olaf. He is probably the most ridiculous villain in this list, but nevertheless he is quite the crafty fiend! Through 13 books Olaf concocts a multitude of intricate and bizarre plans, complete with increasingly clever disguises, so he can get to the Baudelaire fortune (with most of the plans revolving around killing the Baudelaire children, aged between infancy and 14). While I of course despised Count Olaf and sympathised with the Baudelaire children, I did enjoy Olaf’s ridiculous antics and the series would’ve been much less fun if he wasn’t so villainous 🙂 Despite the film adaptation being a bit lacking (I would’ve liked to see each book explored more and squishing the first three into a film and ignoring the other 10 just didn’t satisfy) I thought Jim Carrey was spot on!

The adoptive parent from hell

Well, I hope the really, really, ridiculously long wait was worth it! I do plan on doing more Top 10 lists because I have plenty more ideas, but I think in 2013 I won’t attempt to do a pair each month as it just doesn’t happen. Fear not! They are not gone for good, and I will try and post at least one half of a pair (or a stand alone) more often, and perhaps after a while I will be able to do them at the end/beginning of each month once again 🙂

Until then, feel free to share your own favourite baddies in the comments, and as always:

Happy Reading!

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Top 10 Books I Would Like to See Adapted for the Screen

Welcome beloved Bookbaggers to the second part of my book-to-screen-adaptations Top 10s! This list was really fun to compile because it involved me imagining how some of my favourite books could be made into films or tv shows, and while I was researching I actually found out that a lot of them are in development, or there is at least other fans out there that want to see them, so that’s pretty cool :).

Hopefully this list will interest you all and make you think: what books would you love to see turned into a film or show and how would you like it to look? Feel free to comment below and otherwise enjoy the post 🙂

1. Mister God This is Anna by Fynn

It won’t be a surprise to most of you that this book is top of the list of books I’d like to see adapted, as I have fully expressed my love for it several times. I think this would make a really sweet, uplifting, and thoughtful movie BUT it would have to be done just right. In my opinion this book could only be adapted into two kinds of film for it to really capture the spirit of the story. The first option would be an animated film based on the original illustrations. I imagine it as a rough and somewhat sketchy animation which incorporates stills and slight animated movements – a bit like the tv adaptations of Watchmen – with all the shots being black and white but with a bright swatch of colour for Anna’s red hair. The other option I would enjoy is a live action movie that is shot like an old movie from the 30s (which is when the book is set), so either in black and white, or that new-to-colour look. I also think it would be best if it followed the plot quite closely, but focused on the beautifully tender relationship, and philosophical discussions between Anna and Fynn.

A different cover than I have shown before, and one that beautifully illustrates the bond between Anna and Fynn

2. Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey

This video trailer is what made me think that Jasper Jones is perfectly suited as a film. The story, the setting, the characters – they all could work very well adapted into a movie or a miniseries, so much so that I’m kinda surprised no one has thought of it before. So, I did some digging and found this: the website of one Rebecca O’Brien, a filmmaker who has started work on a screenplay for Jasper Jones as her first feature film! The video from above is the only information provided on the site in regards to Jasper Jones and it is unclear if its her work or is just there to illustrate what the book is about, or what the film will be like, but if it’s like this little snippet I will be very pleased as it certainly has the kind of style that would match the book. I will keep posted on her developments and can’t wait til Jasper Jones the movie is a reality 🙂

A nice creepy cover that is kinda film-like

3. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak 

From the moment I finished this book I thought it would make a great movie, and I thought that some film-maker out there would have done so by now. But it turns out that I just have to be a bit patient, as there is a lot of buzz online about a movie being made. A quick web search will give you many fan-made video trailers for a film based on The Book Thief and there was some news saying 20th Century Fox was going to produce it….but the release date was 2010 so I don’t know whats happening there. All I know is it would make an excellent movie as long as it was done right. I’m not too fussed about some of the finer details but it would need to accurately illustrate Nazi Germany without sugar-coating; it would need some form of narration by Death; it would need to demonstrate the different sky colours Death references in the book; and the casting for the characters (especially Liesel and Max) would have to be just right.

A theatrical book cover

4. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

I think it would be hard to adapt this book into a movie because it is quite long and involved, so in my opinion it would be better as an epic film, or a miniseries. I would love to see a film/miniseries filmed in Barcelona which has a really historical feel with a different film effect to illustrate flash-backs and content from books and letters. I think it would also be best if it was made by Spanish film-makers with a Spanish cast – I don’t care about reading subtitles if it feels more authentic, but I would be disappointed if it was americanized. But most of all I would love to see an adaptation of this book because seeing a recreation of the Cemetery of Forgotten Books would be amazing! Just like The Book Thief there is fan demand for a film to be made, so maybe one day my dream will be realised 🙂

A cover that I have never seen before, but I really like it!

5. The Giver by Lois Lowry 

This is one of the best books I read as a child and would make a unique and poignant movie. I imagine it as a simply shot movie, where everything is very clean and ordered, and in black and white because in the book the setting is a world where people only see in black, white and shades of gray and everything is highly controlled. I then imagine colour leaking into the shots as Jonas finds out about colour. I think if done well a movie of this book would be a gem to so many adults who read it when they were kids, and would present some important messages to today’s youth, as well as hopefully leading them to the book. If done wrong it would disappoint a lot of people. After a little bit of research I found out that an adaptation has been talked about for years but has never come to fruition. According to IMDb a movie is in production and is due to come out in 2013, but the details are a bit sketchy. Lets hope its taking such a long time because they want it to be right 😛

I think this is the same cover the book that was read to my year 7 class had 🙂

6. Skulduggery Pleasant Series by Derek Landy

This is another one which the ‘net says is in development and is due to be released in 2013, and if this is true I know at least two people who will be there with bells on when It debuts: me and my bro! This is a series that is destined to be a movie series, just like The Lord of the Rings; The Narnia Chronicles and Harry Potter. Reading the books is already a cinema-like experience with action-packed “scenes”, snappy dialogue, special effects and awesome costumes. I would love to see a movie made for each of the 6 books in the series, and as long as they remained as awesome as the books then I’ll be happy 🙂

Another cover I've never seen before!

7. Phryne Fisher series by Kerry Greenwood 

Ever since I read the first of this series I thought it would make a great tv series or series of movies. So, I was thrilled when I heard that Every Cloud Productions plan to bring the sassy 20’s detective to the small screen! The series is being filmed in Melbourne at the moment and is due to screen on ABC1, Australia’s top non-commercial station, and from what I’ve heard/seen so far its gonna be a ripper 🙂 It ticked all the boxes of what this series should have: its set/shot in Melbourne like the books, stars Australian actors and will be aired on a quality Australian channel. I also think the actress chosen to play Phryne, Essie Davis is a good fit. She has strong facial features and is thin and graceful like Phryne and I think with a black cap wig (or actual haircut perhaps?) and a gorgeous Phryne-esque gown she’ll look the part.

Promotional picture for the series - "Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries" 🙂

8. Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman 

If this fantastic fantasy/apocalypse parody was made into a movie or show its my prediction that it would quickly gain cult status – that is if its done well! There is a loyal fan base online who already have created a plethora of fan art, fan fiction and other Good Omens themed goodies and they would be geared up to embrace a wonderfully made adaptation, or tear apart a disappointing one. For me any adaptation of this book would need to be a little strange, a little crazy and a lot hilarious and not many film-makers could bring it alive. I was therefore thrilled when I found out that a tv show is in the works, and that Terry Jones of Monty Python fame is rumoured to be involved! I can definitely see a wacky Python-esque tv series working for Good Omens and I can’t wait til it comes out (apparently also in 2013!).

An example of Good Omens fan art by kbakonyi found on DeviantArt

9. Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

This is a beautiful and powerful book that I realise I have never discussed in a post before, which is rare for me! But when I was making my list of books I’d like to see adapted, this popped into my head because it would make a very touching and strong movie. The story is set in Nigeria and revolves around Kambili, a fifteen year old girl who lives with her brother and overbearing father in an elaborate family compound. When a military coup erupts and entangles her father, Kambili and her brother are sent away to live with their Aunt, a University professor, whose house is a breath of fresh air and freedom for the abused children. This could easily be a new tear-jerker/oscar nominee in the film world as it explores some big issues, while showing two sides of the complicated coin that is Africa: a juxtaposition of fierce politics and beautiful scenery. Unlike many of the others in this list, there is no news about an upcoming Purple Hibiscus movie, but like many of the others there is fan demand in the form of homemade video pitches.

But who would they cast?

10. Abarat by Clive Barker

Out of all the Clive Barker books I have read this is the only one that would be suitable as a film without having a R rating…or worse. Clive Baker has already been involved in several film projects, including Hellraiser (and sequels) Candyman (and sequels) and The Midnight Meat Train, but I haven’t read any of the books these films were based on (except the short story of The Midnight Meat Train). Even not taking the ratings and stuff into account, Abarat (or the Abarat series) is the Clive Barker book (or books) that I would most like to see on the big screen. Since the books are peppered with Barker’s own artworks I have amassed quite a visual accompaniment to the story and I would really like those visuals to come to life. There is a lot of buzz over the ‘net about a possible movie and if this article can be believed then Clive Barker himself has even hinted at the possibility. I just hope that it is true because It would be awesome, especially if Barker is involved as he has been in most of his film adaptations.

An example of the awesome art found in Abarat - a map of some of the islands that make up Abarat - Wouldn't you love to see them in a film?!

So there you go guys – the end of my Book-to-Screen-Adaptations theme 🙂 I really had a ball with this one and can’t wait to see what you vote in next. I’ll put the poll up straight after this, so get voting!

And, as always: Happy Reading! 😀

Top 10 Books that made me Cry

Before I start I should tell you all that I am a giant softie. I cry at movies (both sad ones and happy ones, even cartoons), TV shows (including the Simpsons a couple of times) and of course, books. I guess I’m just a sensitive soul 🙂 So, while these 10 books are ones that made me cry (amongst others) that doesn’t mean that any of my loyal Bookbaggers would tear up. Also, the reason these books have made me cry is normally some shockingly sad event which would be a huge spoiler, so while I will try not to mention the event, sometimes it will be vital to do so. So, just in case *Spoiler alert!*

1. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

I touched on how much this book affected me in my Top 10 Books of All Time post, and how it made me cry and gasp many times because I became so involved in the characters’ stories. What I didn’t say was that at a certain point near the end of the book (in fact over the last couple of chapters) I didn’t just cry a couple of elegant tears but did what Oprah calls “the ugly cry” (I’m not a huge Oprah fan but I love that description!). I spluttered, I made little gulping noises, there was some snot action, the whole ugly cry show was in full effect. The reason I cried that much was that there was a very traumatic event that involved the main character, and while I had been warned that it was coming (at the end of a chapter when I was meeting people for lunch and so couldn’t read on!) it was still a big shock. The tears then turned to those of relief and happiness when the following chapters turned the event into a satisfying and happy conclusion. I won’t say anymore, but if you want a read that really connects you to the characters and draws you in to a beautiful world of its own then I’d recommend The Shadow of the Wind. it would also make a great Book Club book 🙂

Winner of the Ugliest Cry award

2. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

It’s easily to see that a book set in Nazi Germany whose main character is a little orphaned girl would be a sad one, but it was not so much the subject matter that made me cry during this book but the way this subject matter was conveyed. As I have said previously the narrator of this book is Death and it is a very fitting voice for that time and place in history. At many points during the book I found myself close to tears because of the fear and death that hung over the small village that the story is set in, but it wasn’t til the end, when there was a series of dramatic and sad events that I actually burst into tears. A beautiful book that made me grateful to be alive and that I didn’t live through World War II.

Because Nazi Germany is so damn cheery!

3. Mister God This is Anna by Fynn

I praised this book in a review a while back and most likely it will pop up again as it is one of my favourite books, but it was one of the first books that came to mind when compiling this list, coz oh boy did I cry! This was another one that warned me about the sad ending – in the first paragraph and all! – but it was still such a shock that I started to sob on the train (how embarrassing :S). Possibly it could’ve been that I was already going through a hard time, or possibly it was the way the ending happened, but either way it was like a floodgate had opened, and at the time I didn’t even care that I was on the train (tho I was in an almost empty car so it wasn’t that bad). If the possibility of crying puts you off a book I can assure you that even ‘tho Mister God This is Anna does have a heartbreaking ending, it is also very hopeful and uplifting throughout and does end ultimately in that way.

4. The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery

I only read and reviewed this book recently, so it was fresh in my mind when I started to make this list. I won’t go into it that much because I have already reviewed it, but I will just say that this was another time I cried on the train but I was much more restrained as there was more people. Even with restraint a few tears did manage to escape as I read the end of this book that was a complete surprise and was one of those endings where you keep thinking “no no! It’ll change at the last moment right?…..right?”. I won’t spoil it, but even ‘tho It was a sad and tragic ending, it did wrap up the story in a more natural and poignant way so in the end I was glad for it to finish that way, even if it did make me the crying chick on the train again!

5. Charlotte’s Web by E B White

We’re now getting into the tear-jerkers from my childhood, when I was a fledgling softie 🙂 I read Charlotte’s Web when I was in Year 3 as part of a school project we were doing. The project involved reading excerpts from the book (which I then found and read completely); doing activities based on the book; watching the movie (the original not the one with Dakota Fanning); and then putting on a play/musical number based on a scene from the movie for the school assembly. If you haven’t read this children’s classic then be warned, I am going to spoil the ending because It’s too tricky to explain otherwise. I cried twice during this book. First when Wilbur had to be given to the Zuckerman farm, because as an animal loving kid it broke my heart to think of having to give away a beloved pet. And then at the end when Charlotte died 😥
Even ‘tho this book made me cry (and probably still would now) I still think it is such a beautiful little book that teaches kids about life and death and the truth behind farm animals, as well as teaching them to be whatever they want to be and follow their dreams.

6.  Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes by Eleanor Coerr

This is another book that we read at primary school and them performed at assembly, but it is about a much sadder subject – the bombing in Hiroshima. The basic plot of the book is based on a true story of a young girl called Sadako who develops leukemia after the bombings. She is hospitalised and spends her time folding origami paper cranes because it is said that if you fold a thousand cranes you are granted a wish. Unfortunately, after folding 644 cranes Sadako becomes too weak and dies shortly after. Her friends and family fold the remaining cranes and Sadako is buried with the full thousand, and a statue of her is erected in Hiroshima Peace Park. Understandably this story brought tears to the eyes of most of the children in class and the teacher when she read it to us, and I also struggled to maintain composure when we performed it at assembly because I was one of the kids that narrated Sadako’s tragic tale. Even ‘tho it’s so sad  it is a wonderful book for kids to read, especially for new generations that may not know much about Hiroshima or the effect of nuclear bombs.

I like to think that since Sadako was buried with a thousand cranes she still got her wish and is having a beautiful afterlife 🙂

7. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

This book had many moments that had me close to tears because it is told through the eyes of a teenage girl who was brutally raped and murdered and is watching her friends and family from “heaven” as they deal with their grief. This makes for a very contemplative and melancholy story, but it was the scene where the main character is killed (which happens quite early on) that really made me cry, mostly out of shock and anger. Despite making me cry and get pretty angry, The Lovely Bones was a great book, and I also keep meaning to see the movie (which I’ve heard mixed reviews about).

8. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J K Rowling

Yes, I cried at a Harry Potter book – I told you I cry at everything! – and actually I cried at the last one as well, but this one made me cry more and the reason….Dumbledore 😦 I’m not going to beat around the bush with this one because this spoiler has been spreading around since before the book came out, and now that the books and movies are finished I think its well and truly out there. However, If you somehow have missed the spoiler and you plan to read the book or see the movie in the future, then just close your eyes and scroll down for a few lines and everything will be fine. So…Dumbledore dies. In fact Dumbledore doesn’t just die but is murdered right in front of Harry. So yeah, I shed a couple of tears, and yeah, I sat there for a while in shock convincing myself that in the next book it would turn out ok and he wouldn’t be dead. Don’t judge me 😛

NO!! Not Dumbledore!!!!

9. The Shadow in the North by Philip Pullman

This was another one that involved a shocking event at the end, and it was so upsetting (especially because it was right after everything coming together really nicely, as all the tricksty writers/moviemakers love to do!) that I laid awake for a couple of hours, not sleeping and feeling a tad maudlin and I have yet to read the next book in the series because I’m afraid that it’ll be too sad. However, the event would not have been so upsetting if Philip Pullman hadn’t developed the characters and setting so well so you care about their well-being, so props to him….even tho at the time I wasn’t so understanding.

Damn you Philip Pullman for writing such likable characters!

10. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

Oh my gosh! I had forgotten how sad this book was and how much it made me cry when I was little, until my brother gave me the movie on DVD for Christmas a few years ago. My brother hadn’t seen it before or read the book, and I had forgotten the plot so at a certain point (which I won’t say) we both blubbered away like little girls. Bridge to Terabithia is a lovely tale of friendship and childhood imagination, but be warned if you want to give it to your kids – at some point near the end they will probably come to you crying or looking shocked and ask some awkward questions. Just so you know.

There you go folks, the Top 10 books that really made me blubber. Sorry it wasn’t up right after the Top 10 Books that made me Laugh as planned, my Internet cut out halfway through writing it and I was only able to get it back today :/ Join me next month for my Top 10 Book to Screen Adaptations and the Top 10 Books I would like to see Adapted for the Screen, and in the meantime I will review The Secrets of the Chess Machine and probably lots of other Book Polygamist stuff 🙂

Happy Reading!

Top 10 Books of All Time

Yes, I left the best for last 🙂 For those of you who haven’t been reading over the last few days, I’ve been writing a series of “Top 10” lists. First my “Top 10 authors” , then my “Top 10 Books from Childhood” and now my last “Top 10” (perhaps :P) – my “Top 10 Books of All Time”! This was surprisingly the easiest to come up with, because the really good ones stick in your head. It would take a lot for a new novel to knock any of these off their pedestal!

1. Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey

If you read  my previous post about Craig Silveythis won’t be a big surprise as I waxed lyrical about both his books – and for good reason! I can’t recommend this book enough, and If you don’t like it…well frankly, we can’t be friends anymore 😛

The sweetest peach

2. Rhubarb by Craig Silvey

Like Jasper Jones this is a book I wax lyrical about, but unlike Jasper Jones I wouldn’t recommend it to everyone. Rhubarb is a very unusual and poetic book, so If you’re willing to read something a bit different then it’s perfect, but If you like traditional writing styles then It’s probably not your cup of tea.
*If you want to read more about Rhubarb or Jasper Jones then check out my post on Craig Silvey and his work: Craig Silvey: Jewel of the West*

Winner of the most non-sensical title award

3. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

A beautiful book set in Nazi Germany with a unique narrator – Death (or the Grim Reaper). I love an anthropomorphised Death (like the one in Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series) so that point initially drew me in, but it’s when you get into the meat of the story that it really shines. It’s hard to explain how much I loved this book when I read it – I laughed, I cried – read it! Also this interview with Markus Zusak about writing the book is really enlightening.

Ironically I had to re-purchase this book because my first copy went missing...stolen perhaps?

 4. The Messenger by Markus Zusak

Hmmm I seem to be going in twos don’t I? The Messenger is a very different book to The Book Thief (a bit like Jasper Jones is a very different book to Rhubarb…is anyone else seeing a pattern here?) but made as much of an impact on me, if not more because its more relatable. The book is set in Australia (where Markus Zusak is from) and is broken up into four parts named after the four suits in a deck of cards (Clubs, Diamonds, Spades, Hearts). I won’t give away why the parts revolve around the suits, but Its a really interesting and unique story idea. Like any good book (in my opinion) this made me feel sick to my stomach in parts, but also unwilling to stop reading, and then pages later I would find myself bursting into fits of laughter.

Protect the Diamonds, Survive the Clubs, Dig deep through Spades, Feel the Hearts

5. The Red Tent by Anita Diamant

I borrowed this book off a friend of the family and read it while I was studying Art and Written/Oral Communication at TAFE. For one of my Written/Oral Communication assessments I had to write a review and I wrote a glowing review of The Red Tent which the lecturer commented on, saying It was obvious I greatly enjoyed the book. That is an understatement. I LOVED The Red Tent. That love was even more pronounced because before I started it, I didn’t think I’d like it at all! The book is set in biblical times and tells the story of Dinah, daughter of Jacob, and deals with many traditions of women in that time. The “Red Tent” refers to a tent where all the woman of the household would retire to during menstruation. At that time in my life I had very little interest in books based on Bible stories (being a newly devout Pagan) and anything that I perceived as feminism was a pet hate. But I was forced to re-evaluate a few beliefs with this book, because it was such an engaging story. I now am drawn to “religious” fiction and am slower to judge something as a feminist work.

Proved me wrong

6. The Passion by Jeanette Winterson

If you read my first Top 10 post you would know about my mixed feeling for Jeanette Winterson’s books, but there is no mixed feelings about The Passion, just passionate ones. The Passion is set in France and revolves around two young people – a young man who is sent to fight in the Napoleonic wars and a young woman in Venice who dresses as a man. It’s an amazing little book – strange and evocative like a fairy tale, but unlike any fairy tale ever written. If you are going to read just one book by Jeanette Winterson, read The Passionbecause it’s truly a brilliant story.

Everyone wears a mask

7. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Carlos Ruiz Zafón is truly a master to have created a world as rich as the Barcelona in The Shadow of the Wind. This is a novel that is fully immersive – when you love the characters you truly love them, when you hate them you truly hate them, and most of all you want to know what happens to them. I cried and gasped far too much while reading this book – If it was all documented I’m sure I would’ve looked like a nutcase – and that’s what really makes a book great. I have heard that the sort-of sequel The Angel’s Game is not as good, and I can see why it wouldn’t be – it would be very hard to recreate the magic of The Shadow of the Wind. Hopefully one day Carlos Ruiz Zafón will recreate that magic and then he too will get a double spot on my Top 10 🙂

A world all its own

8. Mister God this is Anna by Fynn

I could go on and on about this book, but since I happened to write a review about it this month, I would just be repeating myself 😛 So go read the post to see why I love this book so much 🙂

A lot of food for thought

 9. Watership Down by Richard Adams

This is the only book that is on the Top 10 Books from Childhoodas well as the Top 10 Books of All Time, because, well it’s wonderful 🙂 Check out the Top 10 Books from Childhood to read why it has remained a fave of mine, or go read it – and remember, bunnies can be exciting!

Bright eyes, burning like fire...Oh stop it you'll make me cry!

 10. Cloudstreet by Tim Winton

Cloudstreet is one of those intricate family sagas that appears once in a blue moon, written by an equally rare and precious author. It revolves around two working class families (the Pickles and the Lambs) who move from rural Western Australia into “the city” (Perth) and live in two halves of a giant old house – No.1 Cloud Street. It spans the 1940’s and 50’s as it traces the many ups and downs of the two families and how they are both affected by an old run-down home. The book has recently been turned into a mini-seriesthat played on Showcase, and was also adapted for the stage and toured in Sydney, Perth, Melbourne, London, Dublin, New York and Washington DC.

I can't wait til the miniseries is released on DVD 🙂

So there you have it, my last “Top 10”, I’ve written exactly 10 posts a month again and all is right in the world 🙂
So far I haven’t had any comments saying I should make this a regular feature but I’ll give you all a bit more time, just in case 😉 if there is still no feedback proclaiming yay by the end of June, I’ll take it as a collective nay and it will only be reviews, new books and other random crazy from now on 😛