Hello, good morning book people and welcome to Top Ten Tuesday!
This week’s topic is Books Written Before I Was Born.
Oh! I love this prompt! I have so many amazing looking books to share this week but sadly they are mostly (if not all) from my TBR this time. I really must make more of an effort to read some of my older books.
The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett
Kicking the list off this week with the first novel in the Discword series. Now, I have always wanted to read these ones but this first book has been sat on my TBR for a very long time. It is such a huge series of books that it feels like a very big commitment. I really would like to pick them up one day!
228 Pages, Published 24th November 1983
Terry Pratchett’s profoundly irreverent, bestselling novels have garnered him a revered position in the halls of parody next to the likes of Mark Twain, Kurt Vonnegut, Douglas Adams, and Carl Hiaasen.
The Color of Magic is Terry Pratchett’s maiden voyage through the now-legendary land of Discworld. This is where it all begins — with the tourist Twoflower and his wizard guide, Rincewind.
On a world supported on the back of a giant turtle (sex unknown), a gleeful, explosive, wickedly eccentric expedition sets out. There’s an avaricious but inept wizard, a naive tourist whose luggage moves on hundreds of dear little legs, dragons who only exist if you believe in them, and of course THE EDGE of the planet…
Stephen King – Carrie
This was the very first Stephen King book that I ever read and I actually really enjoyed it. I liked it so much that I finished it in a day and then watched the film that same night. It was freaky and opened my eyes to the horror genre which I had never really bothered with before.
253 Pages. Published April 5th 1974.
A modern classic, Carrie introduced a distinctive new voice in American fiction — Stephen King. The story of misunderstood high school girl Carrie White, her extraordinary telekinetic powers, and her violent rampage of revenge, remains one of the most barrier-breaking and shocking novels of all time.
Make a date with terror and live the nightmare that is…Carrie
George Orwell – 1984
So here we have one of those books that apparently everyone should read. It’s described as terrifying and as a book that gets more terrifying as it ages. I don’t know if I have an unpopular opinion but I didn’t really like it very much although I can appreciate it for what it was trying to accomplish.
237 Pages. Published June 8th 1949.
Among the seminal texts of the 20th century, Nineteen Eighty-Four is a rare work that grows more haunting as its futuristic purgatory becomes more real. Published in 1949, the book offers political satirist George Orwell’s nightmarish vision of a totalitarian, bureaucratic world and one poor stiff’s attempt to find individuality. The brilliance of the novel is Orwell’s prescience of modern life—the ubiquity of television, the distortion of the language—and his ability to construct such a thorough version of hell. Required reading for students since it was published, it ranks among the most terrifying novels ever written.
Ray Bradbury – Fahrenheit 451
Another one of those classic books that everyone should read but that I actually haven’t gotten around to yet. I bought it around the same time that I got 1984 but after not really loving that one I had a feeling this one might read in a similar way and so I’ve not picked it up yet. I definitely will though, just to say that I have!
194 Pages. Published October 19th 1953.
Guy Montag is a fireman. In his world, where television rules and literature is on the brink of extinction, firemen start fires rather than put them out. His job is to destroy the most illegal of commodities, the printed book, along with the houses in which they are hidden.
Montag never questions the destruction and ruin his actions produce, returning each day to his bland life and wife, Mildred, who spends all day with her television ‘family’. But then he meets an eccentric young neighbour, Clarisse, who introduces him to a past where people did not live in fear and to a present where one sees the world through the ideas in books instead of the mindless chatter of television.
When Mildred attempts suicide and Clarisse suddenly disappears, Montag begins to question everything he has ever known.
Anne Frank – The Diary of a Young Girl
I’ve read this a few times, once as a child and a few times as an adult. I really believe that this is something that everyone should read. It is heart-breaking, horrifying and a book that you will never forget.
283 Pages. Published June 25th 1947.
Discovered in the attic in which she spent the last years of her life, Anne Frank’s remarkable diary has become a world classic—a powerful reminder of the horrors of war and an eloquent testament to the human spirit.
In 1942, with the Nazis occupying Holland, a thirteen-year-old Jewish girl and her family fled their home in Amsterdam and went into hiding. For the next two years, until their whereabouts were betrayed to the Gestapo, the Franks and another family lived cloistered in the “Secret Annexe” of an old office building. Cut off from the outside world, they faced hunger, boredom, the constant cruelties of living in confined quarters, and the ever-present threat of discovery and death. In her diary Anne Frank recorded vivid impressions of her experiences during this period. By turns thoughtful, moving, and surprisingly humorous, her account offers a fascinating commentary on human courage and frailty and a compelling self-portrait of a sensitive and spirited young woman whose promise was tragically cut short.
Daphne du Maurier – Rebecca
There’s been quite a lot of talk about this one in the last year and I guess that’s because of the Netflix adaptation. I must admit I had never heard of this book until recently and was surprised to see how old it was. I would love to read it and see what all the fuss is about!
449 Pages. Published August 1938.
Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again . . .
The novel begins in Monte Carlo, where our heroine is swept off her feet by the dashing widower Maxim de Winter and his sudden proposal of marriage. Orphaned and working as a lady’s maid, she can barely believe her luck. It is only when they arrive at his massive country estate that she realizes how large a shadow his late wife will cast over their lives–presenting her with a lingering evil that threatens to destroy their marriage from beyond the grave.
J.R.R. Tolkien – The Lord of the Rings
A series of books that I have been wanting to read since I was about 14 years old. This year I made a promise to myself that I would finally buy and read them. They are not sitting on my bookshelf waiting for their time to shine. I haven’t even seen the films yet because I have always refused to watch the adaptations of things before reading the books!
527 Pages. Published July 29th 1954.
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
In ancient times the Rings of Power were crafted by the Elven-smiths, and Sauron, The Dark Lord, forged the One Ring, filling it with his own power so that he could rule all others. But the One Ring was taken from him, and though he sought it throughout Middle-earth, it remained lost to him. After many ages it fell into the hands of Bilbo Baggins, as told in The Hobbit.
In a sleepy village in the Shire, young Frodo Baggins finds himself faced with an immense task, as his elderly cousin Bilbo entrusts the Ring to his care. Frodo must leave his home and make a perilous journey across Middle-earth to the Cracks of Doom, there to destroy the Ring and foil the Dark Lord in his evil purpose.
Ken Follett – The Pillars of the Earth
Another one here from my physical TBR pile. I actually have this as well as its sequel sitting on my bookshelves right now but they are such thick, heavy books that I am actually a bit scared to start them. I know that they will be amazing when I finally do read them though.
976 Pages. Published October 1989.
(my birthday is actually August 1989 so this one technically shouldn’t count but I didn’t realise until after I’d mostly written the post so shhhh!)
Ken Follett is known worldwide as the master of split-second suspense, but his most beloved and bestselling book tells the magnificent tale of a twelfth-century monk driven to do the seemingly impossible: build the greatest Gothic cathedral the world has ever known.
Everything readers expect from Follett is here: intrigue, fast-paced action, and passionate romance. But what makes The Pillars of the Earth extraordinary is the time the twelfth century; the place feudal England; and the subject the building of a glorious cathedral. Follett has re-created the crude, flamboyant England of the Middle Ages in every detail. The vast forests, the walled towns, the castles, and the monasteries become a familiar landscape.
Against this richly imagined and intricately interwoven backdrop, filled with the ravages of war and the rhythms of daily life, the master storyteller draws the reader irresistibly into the intertwined lives of his characters into their dreams, their labors, and their loves: Tom, the master builder; Aliena, the ravishingly beautiful noblewoman; Philip, the prior of Kingsbridge; Jack, the artist in stone; and Ellen, the woman of the forest who casts a terrifying curse. From humble stonemason to imperious monarch, each character is brought vividly to life.
The building of the cathedral, with the almost eerie artistry of the unschooled stonemasons, is the center of the drama. Around the site of the construction, Follett weaves a story of betrayal, revenge, and love, which begins with the public hanging of an innocent man and ends with the humiliation of a king.
V.C. Andrews – Flowers in the Attic
I only read this one just before Christmas but I absolutely loved it. It was shocking, it was sad and its a story you wouldn’t forget even if you didn’t like it!
389 Pages. Published 1979
Such wonderful children. Such a beautiful mother. Such a lovely house. Such endless terror!
It wasn’t that she didn’t love her children. She did. But there was a fortune at stake—a fortune that would assure their later happiness if she could keep the children a secret from her dying father.
So she and her mother hid her darlings away in an unused attic.
Just for a little while.
But the brutal days swelled into agonizing years. Now Cathy, Chris, and the twins wait in their cramped and helpless world, stirred by adult dreams, adult desires, served a meagre sustenance by an angry, superstitious grandmother who knows that the Devil works in dark and devious ways. Sometimes he sends children to do his work—children who—one by one—must be destroyed….
‘Way upstairs there are four secrets hidden. Blond, beautiful, innocent struggling to stay alive….
Frances Hodgson Burnett – The Secret Garden
I have lost count of how many times I have watched this film. I watched it as a child and only as I got older did I realise that it was based on a book. I would love to read it just to see how different it is. It was a wonderful film, one of my favourites of all time.
331 Pages. Published 1910
“One of the most delightful and enduring classics of children’s literature, The Secret Garden by Victorian author Frances Hodgson Burnett has remained a firm favourite with children the world over ever since it made its first appearance. Initially published as a serial story in 1910 in The American Magazine, it was brought out in novel form in 1911.
The plot centres round Mary Lennox, a young English girl who returns to England from India, having suffered the immense trauma by losing both her parents in a cholera epidemic. However, her memories of her parents are not pleasant, as they were a selfish, neglectful and pleasure-seeking couple. Mary is given to the care of her uncle Archibald Craven, whom she has never met. She travels to his home, Misselthwaite Manor located in the gloomy Yorkshire, a vast change from the sunny and warm climate she was used to. When she arrives, she is a rude, stubborn and given to stormy temper tantrums. However, her nature undergoes a gradual transformation when she learns of the tragedies that have befallen her strict and disciplinarian uncle whom she earlier feared and despised. Once when he’s away from home, Mary discovers a charming walled garden which is always kept locked. The mystery deepens when she hears sounds of sobbing from somewhere within her uncle’s vast mansion. The kindly servants ignore her queries or pretend they haven’t heard, spiking Mary’s curiosity.
And that’s all for this week’s top 10 Tuesday! Have you read any of these books? Share your thoughts in the comments!
Next week’s top 10 Tuesday…
February 9: Valentine’s Day/Love Freebie