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 😛

REVIEW: Mister God This Is Anna By Fynn

Mister God This Is Anna By Fynn

I’ve been putting off posting this review, not because It was a dud but because there is so much I want to say about this jewel of a book. But on Friday I went to Joondalup Library for a school excursion, and the last time I went to Joondalup, I was reading Mister God this is Anna for the first time, so I thought that was push enough to spread the word.

It is hard to describe this book. It would be like trying to describe a religious revelation – it is an individual experience. All I can say is that it is one of the most beautiful, philosophical little books I’ve ever read. It revolves around a little girl called Anna, who at the tender age of five is found by a young man called Fynn, alone in the middle of the night on the streets of East-end, London. Fynn sees that Anna needs a home and has been abused so he takes her back to his humble abode to live with him, his mother and the other waifs and runaways they have taken in. Fynn soon discovers that Anna is no ordinary little girl; she is a firecracker of curiosity and wonder, always asking questions and creating theories about how the world works, especially when It comes to Mister God (as she calls him). The author is stated as Fynn, and the story is told through his eyes, but when I did a little digging I found that the man behind this book is actually Sydney Hopkins and to my amaze/excitement I found that he wrote two sequels: Anna’s Book and Anna and the Black Knight.

There is so many amazing ideas in this book that It could easily be the basis of its own religion. It is, at its heart a religious novel, but you don’t have to be religious for it to move you. I’m Pagan, so I don’t really believe in “Mister God” but while the themes of the book are religious, I didn’t feel that they were necessarily Christian or promoting organised religion, but were more spiritual and thoughtful. There would be food for thought for anyone here, even atheists, because beneath the subject matter is simply a little girl overcome with wonder at the world around her, and weren’t we all like that once?

The other amazing thing about this book is the accompanying pictures by William Papas.

One of Papas' drawings

His free-form sketchy style fits the youthful exuberance of the book so well, and even though there is so many pictures of little Anna, you never see her face because it’s always obscured by a mane of wild hair, adding a lovely mysteriousness to the character.

 
I’m not afraid to say, this book greatly affected me the first time I read It. A friend of the family lent it to me because she thought I would like it, and I mostly read it on the train ride to and from Joondalup, where I was getting counseling for anxiety once a week. I was only about 18 and at a hard time in my life, and Mister God this is Anna was a little ray of sunshine. When I read the final chapters, I cried on the train, and didn’t even care who saw. When I returned it to my family friend I tentatively asked if I could keep it (in fact I was so nervous about doing so, I think I asked my mum to be the middle man) but alas, she treasured it too much to let it go.
 
I was so excited to read it again and re-discover all its beautiful moments, and while I did enjoy the reunion, it was overshadowed by the fact that I knew how it ended, and even though the first page warned of the tragic ending, It’s different when you have the image of it. I didn’t cry this time, but that is probably due to the fact that it wasn’t a shock.
 
Despite this shadow hanging over my second reading, I plan to read Mister God this is Anna again and again, and I implore anyone – if you can find this book, do so because I just may change you life.
 
I give Mister God this is Anna By Fynn:

5 / 5 Stars