Thursday, October 30, 2008

Fiction Books

I know writing about a list of your favourite fiction books is fraught with danger, as everyone's tastes are so varied.

However, these are my 4 favourite series of all time:
  • Diana Gabaldon, Outlander Series. There are 6 books so far in this historical fiction series. I discovered them when I was pregnant with C and bedridden for about 7 weeks with morning sickness. They are huge and completely draw you in to the story. The premise is that an English woman in 1945 manages to travel back in time 200 years in Scotland and gets caught there (don't worry about the physics of it!). However, she knows what is to come in the future (ie. Culloden). There is (as to be expected) a love story wound through it all. They are very detailed, enjoyable and interesting. If you don't like overly descriptive love-making scenes, you may be put off, but even then I think they are worth the read. I have just downloaded all her podcasts off her website to listen to how she writes, for some listening while I exercise. I am eagerly waiting for books 7 & 8 to be released.
  • Jean Auel, Clan of the Cave Bear Series. Another historical fiction series of 5 books. These ones are set in prehistorical times and the story line is based around a young 5-year old girl (Ayla) losing her family (she is an Early European) and a group of cave-people who adopt her. The differences between the two groups of people (set up as those who become modern people and the pre-historic cave people who eventually die out) is the basis of the story for much of the books, with, in time a love story (of course) thrown in in later books as Ayla grows up. Another aspect of these books that I loved was that while fiction, she explains the way many new discoveries by humans may have come about (eg. flint starting a fire, the taming of animals eg dogs and horses) which I found very interesting. Again, if you do not like overly descriptive sex scenes, you may want to skip bits!
  • James Herriot, Vet Stories - these are published under various titles, including All Creatures Great and Small, or It Shouldn't Happen to a Vet. These are the stories of a vet in the Yorkshire Dales in the 1930s. They are lovely stories of his early years in vet practice and the people and animals he worked with. It was later turned into a BBC series.
  • William Horwood, Duncton Trilogies. He has written 2 trilogies, I think the first was the best. It is the story of a mole community and how they live. What I really enjoyed about it though it there is an an analogy to the Biblical account. It starts with a pair of moles (Bracken and Rebecca), and while a lot of it is a love story, it always looks forward to a coming of a Messiah-life figure, the Stone Mole. It has been a long time since I have read this series though, I might return to it again soon.

Other good fiction books

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, John Boyne. A friend recently recommended this book to me. It was excellent and thought-provoking. It's one of thoses books where you don't want to give too much away. But, it is a story about a boy who lives in Berlin, whose father works for 'The Fury' and who is promoted by him so they much move to 'Out-With'.

This is a powerful book which made me think a little more about people and how things are viewed through the eyes of a child.

Of Marriageble Age, Sharon Maas. The story of 3 Indian children as they grow up is followed through this book. It's obvious that their lives will all intersect at some point, but she skilfully takes you through the story so that you are constantly wondering how. I have not read many books set in a Indian culture and I enjoyed learning a bit more also.

The Pillars of the Earth, Ken Follett. The story is based around the building of a major cathedral in the 12th C and the people who are involved in it. It spans their entire lives. It is a fascinating read of those times.

I know of course that there are many other wonderful books out there, this is just a selection!

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