Saturday, September 17, 2011

Friday's Five (on Saturday)

I just visited Steph's Stacks and loved her blog on Friday's Five. It will be difficult to nominate five great books, so I'll limit my selection to what I'e read in the last 12 months.
1. The Road by Cormac McCarthy

This was so well written. It was recommended to me by a friend, who said she had taken a long time to read it because she was really disturbed by it. Although I did find it confronting, I powered through it and found it fascinating and even hopeful. It is about 'the man' and 'the boy'. Neither are named, probably because names have become irrelevant in the post-apocalyptic world they live in. The book never says what happened to the world, and never says how long ago it happened. But it was within the man's lifetime. The boy is born after the event, and his mother kills herself because it's all too hard. Everything is dead because the sun doesn't get through the ash in the atmosphere. Some humans have turned to cannibalism. The man is travelling the road with the boy, and it's a glimpse into their fight to survive.

2. Breath by Tim Winton.

I have struggled with a number of Winton's books in the past, but this one flowed very well. He doesn't use traditional punctuation, particularly talking marks, which makes it very difficult to flow when someone is speaking or isn't. It is based around a 50 year old man looking back on how his adolescence shaped the rest of his life. He became an adrenalin junky, as a surfer. He was also taken advantage of by an older woman, and has strange lasting sexual desires. She liked to asphyxiate herself during sex, and got the boy to choke her. She was also pregnant, so he became to associate pregnancy with sexuality. Later, the man's marriage breaks down and he becomes a voluntary mental patient. He eventually finds some stability in a career as a paramedic, and returns to surfing.

3. The Dressmaker by Rosalie Ham

This is an Australian 'gothic' novel. It is brilliant. The characters come right of the page. The humour is very black. I won't say much more, because this is a book that everyone should pick up and discover for themselves.

4. Water for Elephants by Sara Green

Try never to watch movies based on novels. They just don't compare. This is about an old man reflecting on his life as a vet in a circus. Ultimately, it is a love story. It really is superb.

5. The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas

This is another Australian novel, but a must read for those who like contemporary literature/classics. When I bought this book, the lady in the bookshop told me that she hated all the characters in this book - she literally said they were assholes! She wasn't wrong. I can't believe there are people out there that think like these characters do. But there probably are. This book is about to be made into a movie too. It's about a man who slaps a child at a friend's barbecue lunch. The child is not his own. From my point of view, the child deserved the slap, but no one else had the guts to do it. The parents couldn't discipline their own child, but when the child finally got what it needed, the police get involved.

Thanks for the idea, Steph!


  1. I agree with you. Novels are always better than the movie. If it is a book that Katie and I have both read, we will surely see the movie and compare and analyze every bit.
    I like your list of favorites.

  2. I love australian books! Miss my home... Definately will try the dressmaker. Remember u can pick another 5 next week :)
    Thx for visiting my blog :) following you back


  3. I love The Road and Water for Elephants!I've seen The Dressmaker around the blogs, but I wonder if I can get it here in the states. Love your picks! Thanks for being part of Friday's Five! See you next week :)

    Steph's Stacks

  4. The Road is the single bleakest novel ever written. I also liked Water for Elephants. The film, not so much.