Welcome to Triple Choice Tuesday. This is where I ask some of my favourite bloggers and other bookish bods to share the names of three books that mean a lot to them. The idea is that it might raise the profile of certain books and introduce you to new titles and new bloggers.
Today’s guest is Lizzy of Lizzy’s Literary Life, a brilliant lit blog filled with all kinds of reviews (and plenty of Edinburgh Festival book coverage for those of us who couldn’t make the long haul).
Lizzy, however, is keen to point out that she is not a Pre-Raphaelite supermodel. She’s not even a Lizzy, but she did have a bedroom plastered with Pre-Raphaelite posters during her teenage years and has always worn her hair long as a result.
Other lifelong habits include bibliophilia and a TBR that grows faster than she can read. As a result she usually has three or four books on the go at once. She maintains an interest in German literature in translation. Having lived in Germany for a decade, she likes to keep the connection.
Lizzy currently lives in Scotland.
I have a soft spot for the novella and that is due primarily to the Nineteenth Century German author Theodor Storm, who wrote 50 of them. They’ve not all been translated into English, though there’s now a good selection available thanks to recent efforts of Denis Jackson. I would love to recommend all four volumes. However, if I must choose only one, then it’s The Dykemaster — Storm’s last novella, generally regarded as his masterpiece. Set in Schleswig-Holstein, it tells of the constant battle against the sea and of an outsider’s battle against a closed community. Storm was a lyric poet and so the language is at once beautiful and atmospheric. Jackson’s translation matches this and yet reads so naturally. You’d think his text was the original.
I’ve read Harper Lee’s classic six times now, my first reading at the impressionable age of 15 when it was an O-level text. Despite this handicap (!), To Kill A Mockingbird taught me the sheer exuberant joy of great literature and spawned in me the desire to be well-read. Thirty-seven years later I continue to work on that…
Simply because the 2010 Booker shortlist is everywhere and other books hardly get a look in at the moment, I’m highlighting a recently published novel that is as good as anything I’ve read from this year’s Booker list. Crime noir has its own conventions. Alice Thompson incorporates and subverts most of them in a modern plot involving artificial intelligence, the Russian mafia and child abduction in an Edinburgh suburb. It’s clever, controlled and contains more layers than I imagined possible in a slim volume of only 166 pages.
Thanks, Lizzy, for taking part in my Triple Choice Tuesday!
I’ve never heard of Theodor Storm before, but I was intrigued enough to find (via Google) an entire website devoted to him and his works. Apparently “his best work ranks with that of Thomas Hardy”, so that’s him added to the wishlist then! As for To Kill a Mockingbird, I, too, read this at school and hold it in fond regard: I keep meaning to read it again to see if it’s as brilliant as I remember it to be. The Existential Detective sounds completely fascinating — and I love the cover art (which is highly reminiscent of Australian artist Jeffrey Smart).
What do you think of Lizzy’s choices? Have you read any of these books?