I have gone through different stages in my life when it comes to reading books. I started out as a nipper, enjoying reading and all that it could offer. I fell in love with fiction from the start, especially books that were a little different in their makeup. Books like the Choose Your Own Adventure series, originally created by Edward Packard, was an early favourite. This gave you a chance to control the destiny of the story's protagonist. At the end of each section you get the choice of what to do and then bounce around the book learning whether you had made a grave error or not. It was quite a thrill. It was also a lot easier to read and held my attention better than most conventional books.
A few years later (in the 80's) the Fighting Fantasy books, by Steve Jackson and Ian Livingston, were released and they were the new fave! Similar in makeup to the choose your own adventure series but more in depth, you had dice to create the chance and risk situation and a character with Hit Points (health) and a fight or flight decision around every corner. It was a real adrenaline rush. These books definitely cemented my passion for fantasy and sci fi and also introduced me to Dungeons and Dragons, a role playing game far more complex than the books and extremely immersive. See Stranger Things series 1 episode 1 for details! lol
Then came football and girls and my reading career was put on hold. I didn't have time for anything outside of these two things. Football was everything in my early teens. I wanted to be a pro but even though I was/am (at 46) good (lol) I was never good enough to make it. I loved the game nonetheless and played it to the detriment of everything else in my life, studies, other sports and hobbies etc.
And then it happened! Boom! I read a book that changed my life forever. I can't tell you what it is yet because the author is one of my three nominations but you may be able to guess from the build up. It's funny because after explaining to you that my attention span was not great as a child, I picked a huge book to start reading as a 14 year old but it didn't stop me. Once I started reading I couldn't stop. It took me ages to get through, reading a little before bed every night, but I persevered and finished it. That is the moment that changed me and I have read fairly regularly ever since.
Some notable authors who didn't make my final 3 are: Stephen King. I really am not a fan of horror, so It is a funny one to pick. Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption is a masterpiece and a brilliant movie as well. Misery had me absolutely gripped. King's attention to detail is quite intense, the description of the way that Annie, the main antagonist, smells has pretty much stayed in my brain until this day! ugh! Gross. James Herbert gets a little mention, too. Rats! Spine chilling.
John Grisham has written a ton of great stories a lot of which have been made into motion pictures. The firm was one of my favourites. I watched the movie first and that inspired me to read his books. George RR Martin needs a mention. I love GOT, books and TV show. I'm also planning to read Nightflyers (Netflix TV show) which he wrote in the 80's. JK Rowling needs a mention for creating Harry Potter. I read all of the books.
So on to my choices. Remember that all 4 of the @yourtop3 panelists, @nickyhavey @plantstoplanks @foxyspirit and myself, are only entering for fun and to increase the size of the prizepool for you lovely people.
I'm going to seperate my authors by result! What I mean is what their writing has done to me. For instance. one of the authors has the grand distinction of being the can't put down, read in a ridiculously short time (for me) award! Yes that is a real award! Lol. The next is the 'blows your mind' award and finally, my favourite and re read book of all time award.
Choice Number 1
Dan Brown and the can't put down award
Digital Fortress, Deception Point, Angels and Demons all good, solid storytelling but where this goes crazy is The Da Vinci Code. My Uncle had read it and let me borrow it to go to France on holiday. His brief description of the book piqued my interest, I had not read anything of Brown's at that point, so I packed it. Anyone that knows me, knows why I go down to the French alps in the summer and that reason is to cycle up mountains. It is a passion of mine. So when I decided to pull out TDC on one of Jayne's driving stints during our journey, I was a little shocked. Every word was reeling me in. I couldn't look away from the page let alone put the book down. I was a chunk of the way through the book when we arrived in Bourg D'Oisan and traditionally, I take the bike for a little set up ride to Ouilles. Not today! I had to finish the story.
Cryptography, religious history and conspiracy theory. I was in my element. I sat by the pool, which I never do, and I finished it. I was so excited and hyped up. What a brilliant read.
The subsequent movie is ok but doesn't do the book justice. I have read the back catalogue of Dan's work which I have enjoyed, too. The later works I am not so enamoured with but they are ok.
Choice Number 2
Alexandre Dumas and the mind blowing award
I confess that I have only read two books from this incredible writer but they are both masterpieces. The Three Musketeers is such a wonderful story of action, adventure and camaraderie. Richelieu is despicable, his spy Milady de Winter is dark and beautiful but cunning and cruel, and the Cardinal's Guard are like the original Stormtroopers, hilariously useless and outclassed by the Musketeers. The good guys are very cool. D'Artanian being the main protagonist, alongside Athos, Aramis and Porthos.
As brilliant as The Three Musketeers is, it is not the reason why Dumas gets the pick (although it still would). That honor goes to Le Comte de Monte Cristo. The book really did 'blow my mind'. it has everything you could want in a story, murder, deception, betrayal, corruption, romance, heartbreak, friendship, respect, sophistication, twists and turns and redemption.
It is an incredible read and my second favourite book of all time.
Choice Number 3
J.R.R. Tolkien and my favourite book of all time award.
Middle Earth is such an immaculate and detailed place that you would be forgiven for believing that it was real. From languages, cultures and creatures to plants, food and landscapes. Everything comes to life and it is very easy to picture in your mind what you are reading. But...I get ahead of myself. Let's start at the very beginning! It's a very good place to ...... stop it!!
Primary school is the scene. probably around 1981. My teacher, Mrs Ward, read to our class. I'd never heard of it before. It was called The Hobbit. Although my attention span was still pretty short as an 8 year old, I knew that what I was hearing my teacher read was special. It was fun and childish but at the same time dark and a bit scary. I enjoyed listening to It and even though we never finished it, I was hooked.
A year or so later we watched the animated version of Lord of the Rings, directed by Ralph Bakshi, during club time. The memories of The Hobbit came flooding back. The Bakshi movie was a brilliant 'starter kit' for a young lad who, unbeknownst to him at the time, was going to embark on an epic journey by picking up and reading LOTR.
I was 14 at the time and I was looking through some books that were well and truly hidden away in a cupboard in our front room. It was hard not to notice the beast of a book tucked away in the back. The book had a scary looking cloaked, hooded figure riding a black horse with red eyes and nostrils. Interest activated. I asked my dad what it was and his reply was hilarious and typical of my dad. He said "Your Uncle Tony gave it to me (the very same uncle that introduced me to The Da Vinci Code). It's a stupid book about wizards, goblins and little people with hairy feet." Non fiction for my father. Even with that wonderful synopsis, it dawned on me that this was the book that the movie we watched at school was based on. I took it to my room and started reading.
The magic of Tolkien's writing was evident to me from the off. The love and care with every word is clear. I'm not going to lie, I found it hard reading the first time I read it. It was a pretty big challenge for me back then but I was determined to give it my full attention. I had to re-read pages when I realised that my brain was overloading and shutting off or I was falling asleep because it was ridiculously late. Eventually, and I'm not really sure how long it did take but I'm sure it was a few months, I finished it. I have since read LOTR multiple times. I have lost count but it is at least 7 or 8, maybe more, but one thing is for sure and that is the first time I read it it was a very different story in my young mind to what it is now. I am in love with that story and the whole middle earth collection more than ever.
I hope you enjoyed my Top3!
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