The LitFest Blog
One of my favourite books is by an author appearing at the 2015 Emirates Festival of Literature, which I’m pretty thrilled about. I was absolutely gripped by The Book Thief by Australian author Marcus Zusak when I first read it, quite a few years ago now. It’s the tale of a young German girl, Liesel, who’s adopted by a German couple during the second world war. I loved that it is narrated by Death, in such a powerful way – I know this wouldn’t have been easy to pull off for the author and I really admire how Marcus has done it. But the real reason I love that book is my emotional response to it. At the end I was so moved that I sobbed and sobbed. A rare reading experience. I’m hoping I get to meet Marcus during the festival and try not stammer while telling him how much I loved his book.
Now I promise you this isn’t just a festival plug, but it happens that another favourite book is also from an Australian author attending the festival: The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion. It made me laugh. I felt that the voice of the narrator – Don – and his quest to find a wife was fresh and original and completely charming. It truly was a ‘feel good’ book, but it had depth – I felt I understood what it might be like to experience the world differently to the way most people feel it.
Other big favourites from over the years: The Passion by Jeanette Winterson, All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot, anything by British Sci Fi writer John Wyndham, Antarctica by Kim Stanley Robinson. The hard thing for me is pruning down my favourites into a shortlist.