My Top 5… the Booker winners I re-read, and why

All lists are completely subjective, and I am not claiming to have read every Booker winner. So this list is a little like a celebrity’s ‘Desert Island Discs’, it has changed in recent years and will no doubt change again. There are more recent Booker winners which I love, Hilary Mantel for example, but have yet to re-read and so strictly they do not belong here. In no particular order, my current Top 5 are:- ‘Possession’ by AS Byatt [UK: Vintage] The plaiting together of storylines and points of view in two centuries, it showed me how to plot. ‘Life of Pi’
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Great opening paragraph 9… ‘Slaughterhouse 5’ #amwriting #FirstPara

“All this happened, more or less. The war parts, anyway, are pretty much true. One guy I knew really was shot in Dresden for taking a teapot that wasn’t his. Another guy I knew really did threaten to have his personal enemies killed by hired gunmen after the war. And so on. I’ve changed all the names.” ‘Slaughterhouse 5’ by Kurt Vonnegut Jr Amazon Try one of these 1st paras & discover a new author:- ‘Spies’ by Michael Frayn ‘Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World’ by Haruki Murakami ‘Bel Canto’ by Ann Patchett And if you’d like to tweet a link
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If books were real, Adam Dalgliesh…

Adam Dalgliesh would secretly eat a whole 100g bar of Maya Gold Green & Black chocolate in one sitting. 55% cocoa with a hint of orange and spices. ‘Devices and Desires’ by PD James [Faber] How would other fictional characters behave, if they were real? Bilbo Baggins in ‘The Hobbit’ Jack Ryan in ‘Patriot Games’ Jackson Brodie in ‘Case Histories’ And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet: If #books were real, Adam Dalgliesh would eat chocolate: DEVICES AND DESIRES by PD James via @SandraDanby http://wp.me/p5gEM4-e0
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I agree with Lynn Barber…

Lynn Barber “At Vanity Fair I had to ‘pitch ideas’ and then go through layers of editors, all of whom asked what my ‘angle’ was going to be. I have always deeply hated and resented this question. If you have an angle on someone, it means you have already decided what to write before you meet, so you really might as well not bother interviewing them.” [excerpt from ‘An Education’ by Lynn Barber] As a journalist, I hated that question too. And I find the same principle applies to writing fiction. It’s good to have a vague plan at the
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Great opening paragraph 8… ‘Jamrach’s Menagerie’ #amwriting #FirstPara

“I was born twice. First in a wooden room that jutted out over the black water of the Thames, and then again eight years later in the Highway, when the tiger took me in his mouth and everything truly began.” ‘Jamrach’s Menagerie’ by Carol Birch  Amazon Try one of these 1st paras & discover a new author:- ‘The Guest Cat’ by Takashi Hiraide ‘Perfume’ by Patrick Suskind ‘The Ghost’ by Robert Harris Read my review of Orphans of the Carnival, also by Carol Birch. And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet: Does this
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‘Little Boxes’, a short story

Brown boxes, empty boxes, boxes full to bursting. The badge on Michael’s lapel said ‘storage executive’ but the way he saw it he just kept the boxes safe. No space for your belongings? Trust them to Safeplace2store. It said it in the local newspaper every Saturday. It occasionally said it on the TV which, since his mother died two years ago, was always switched on to chase away the silence. Michael took as good a care of Safeplace2store’s warehouse as he did of his flat high in Hungate Towers. At work twice a day he walked along every corridor, cloth
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A book I love… Swallows and Amazons

What a heady mix: adventures on a lake, sailing, camping on your own island, a battle with a pirate. I did so want to be Nancy, though I admired Titty’s night alone on the island. I eventually went to the Lake District on a school trip, and learned to sail in Filey Bay with my brother. I never fought a pirate though. After this book I read all the other adventures of the Swallows and Amazons, and the Big Six. ‘Swallows and Amazons’ by Arthur Ransome [UK: Vintage Children’s Classics] And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS
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If books were real, Bilbo Baggins…

Bilbo Baggins would potter around in an old garden shed, feeding tame blackbirds with crumbs from his breakfast toast.   ‘The Hobbit’ by JRR Tolkien [UK: Harper Collins] How would other fictional characters behave, if they were real? Jamie Fraser in ‘Cross Stitch’ Mikael Blomkvist in ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo’ Jack Ryan in ‘Patriot Games’ And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet: If #books were real, Bilbo Baggins would have a shed: THE HOBBIT by JRR #Tolkein via @SandraDanby http://wp.me/p5gEM4-aX
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I agree with… Hilary Mantel

Hilary Mantel “I remember the first time I read Jane Eyre: probably every woman writer does, because you recognise, when you have hardly begun it, that you are reading a story about yourself.” [excerpt from Giving up the Ghost by Hilary Mantel] I remember the first time I read Jane Eyre too. I must have been about 12 or 13, and I still retain a clear picture in my mind of Jane and Helen cuddled together in a hard wooden bunk. I’m not sure I thought it was a story about me, though. If you agree with Hilary Mantel, perhaps you will
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Great opening paragraph 7… ‘The Big Sleep’ #amwriting #FirstPara

“It was about eleven o’clock in the morning, mid October, with the sun not shining and a look of hard wet rain in the clearness of the foothills. I was wearing my powder-blue suit, with dark blue shirt, tie and display handkerchief, black brogues, black wool socks with dark blue clocks on them. I was neat, clean, shaved and sober, and I didn’t care who knew it. I was everything the well-dressed private detective ought to be. I was calling on four million dollars.” ‘The Big Sleep’ by Raymond Chandler  Amazon Try one of these 1st paras & discover a new
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