So I have an undying need to write a novel. Sometimes, I have what I think is a great idea, and I can’t keep my fingers off the keys. Until, I realise that the idea wasn’t that good anyway, I don’t have the energy, I don’t have that kind of time to sit at my laptop and get it all out. (Delete as appropriate)
But still, every now and then I read a book which really makes me yearn for ideas. To write something that can do to other people what that book has just to me. So here, in no particular order, is a list of five books I wish I’d written.
(In no particular order)
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas – Hunter S Thompson (1971)
“Every now and then when your life gets complicated and the weasels start closing in, the only cure is to load up on heinous chemicals and then drive like a bastard from Hollywood to Las Vegas … with the music at top volume and at least a pint of ether.”
Hunter S Thompson’s
possibly/semi auto-biographical Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas throws you head first into a world of Gonzo journalism, bizarre working friendships, and what it’s like to take a bucket load of drugs. Pretty much all at once.
It’s a head-spin of a novel, which in some parts, the reason you can’t put it down is because the trains of thought won’t come to an end for about 30 pages. Or they come in the short sharp bursts that make it hard to keep up. yet it’s written in such a calm, understated manner that you just go with the flow of it. It’s satirical, political, and above all, reminds you that sometimes, you just have to have fun. But in moderation.
The Slap – Christos Tsiolkas (2009)
Considering the main plot line of this novel centers around a family barbecue where a grown man slaps an unruly child, it is no wonder that this novel has caused several large scale online debates. There are some who loved it, and others who hated it and a few that just didn’t seem that fussed either way.
Yes, many of the characters are likable in a very unlikable way, many of the men misogynistic and the women incredibly anti-feminist. But in a world were brutal honesty is considered distasteful, it’s delightfully refreshing to see some characters who say what they think, who are who they are, and are not trying to get the reader to like them for anyone less than who they were written to be. Tsiolkas seems to be a firm believer in people being people, and has written a novel which is designed to reflect that, not shield the world from it.
Aside all this, it’s beautifully written. Thoughts, feelings and actions are rarely spelled out to the reader, which is a mean feat for a novel that comes across so honest and the language gives stunning imagery with out being flowery.
Perks of Being a Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky (1991)
“Sam and Patrick looked at me. And I looked at them. And I think they knew. Not anything specific really. They just knew. And I think that’s all you can ever ask from a friend.”
I have read this novel probably near on 100 times, and I actually have a quote from this novel tattooed on my wrist. And as far as I am concerned there is no bigger compliment(s) that you can give an author than that.
The unique narrative centering around the even more unique Charlie, as he guides us through a picture of his life is once again, (for want of a better word) unique in it’s honesty, profound way of observing life and the questions it raises on how long you can enjoy standing on the side lines of life. And whether sometimes, it might be best to just stay there.
Pretty Things – Sara Mannings (2007)
This is the novel I wish I’d written at 16. Or at least for my 16 year old self
You can forget your chic-lit Young Adult novel where everyone lives their lives with non-realistic problems and they all live happily ever after in the end. This is Young Adult fiction with a sting in it’s tail. The clip notes version?
Brie is in love with Charlie, but Charlies in love with Walker, but Walkers in love with Daisy. And Daisy is trying to love Claire but finding it pretty hard to do that when she can’t even find a way to like herself.
It’s a tale of messed-up sexuality, relationships never turning out the way that you want them to, and wondering whether it’s worth sticking around for the final act.
Sometimes it’s just nice to sink into a book that makes you feel like a teenager again, makes all the problems you had at the time seem validated. While not wanting to throw up over trashy two-dimensional characters that cry every time they break a nail or a heel.
Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Alborn (2003)
“All endings are also beginnings. We just don’t know it at the time.”
Alborn creates a world which is seamless in it’s profoundness, with imagery so real you can almost taste the blood and candyfloss. A book that will change how you feel about your life and everyone in it.
When Eddie dies, he goes to heaven and meets the 5 people whose lives he has changed or have changed his in tiny, simple easily-forgettable acts. It’s a plot line that screams ‘this could easily be really douchey and trying to be all meaningful’ but the writing makes sure it never comes across like that. It’s a novel that you can’t stop thinking about after you’ve put it down. A novel that makes you wonder who the five people you will meet in heaven will be.
So, let me know if you’ve read / what you thought of my five novels I wish I’d written. And let me know what your’s are!