Inspiration seems to have frozen as deeply as the weather outside, so I thought I would share a few of the books I wish I'd written (which are also some of my favourite books, so also take this list as books I recommend).
Fight Club by Chuck Palanhuick - Obviously this book was made into that film with the gorgeous Brad Pitt and incredibly talented Ed Norton. I first read the book after I watched the film, and I believe it's better. The ending makes so much more sense in the book! The prose is highly stylized and rhythmic, with the kind of repetition of words and ideas that I sometimes employ myself. It's a joy to read and very satisfying when you reach the end.
The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom - I've mentioned this book in other posts and also, I think, on Facebook. It's a very happy and uplifting book, which gives a new take on Heaven. The main character is a lovely old man who doesn't feel he's achieved his life's ambitions due to outisde influences such as WWII. I'm not sure I can say much more about this book, but I highly recommend this book. I should also mention that I bought this book entirely based on the title, which makes me realise how important titles really are.
Quite Contrary by Suzannah Dunn - I found this book in a discount book shop just after I'd read an article about it where the author mentioned it was only 56,000 words long. I bought it because of its length basically, but the writing is so rounded and believable, and the dialogue rings very true.
Snake by Kate Jennings - Set in the Australian outback it charts the life of a dissatisfied couple. Again, I picked this book up because it's very short, some of the chapters are barely two or three paragraphs long, and it's good for me to know that there are some publishers who are willing to take risks with prose. Kate Jennings is a poet, first and foremost, and you can definitely tell by reading this novel. The writing flows so well and so powerfully, so many emotions are shaped with so few words.
I need something by Margaret Atwood on this list, so I'm going to chose The Robber Bride. I think this was the first Margaret Atwood book I read, then I worked backwards. Whenever I read her, I mimic her style, which is long and descriptive and flowing and veers off in so many tangents. My style mimicking her style works very badly, but it's a lesson for me in how to write more expansively. In The Robber Bride, for example, she has a character who likes to reverse her words and sentences (if I remember correctly, it's been a while since I read it) - which is a perfect devise for writing everything out twice and doubling the word count!!!!
And lastly, Paradise by Toni Morrison - I was surprised to enjoy this book, because at school I read Beloved, and found it very difficult to get past the first page without being totally confused; there was just something very peculiar about the prose that didn't agree with me. Paradise, on the other hand, did everything I love about reading about foreign countries - it toally immersed me and made even the most mundane things about daily Deep South life seem exotic. Whenever I read it I always embark on an exercise to make South East Cornwall seem exotic - I haven't achieved it yet.
That's my list. I hope you search out a couple of these, or perhaps share your favourite books with me.