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 Max Cairnduff, who blogs at Pechorin’s Journal.
Max is an energy and infrastructure lawyer living and working in London. As well as having a great love of books, he also has a huge love of music and film, which he tries to fit in along with work, games of various sorts, trips to the theatre and the occasional holiday. Max is also rather fond of cocktails (particularly absinthe-based ones).
He is married with two small cats.
Without further ado, here’s Max’s Triple Choice Tuesday selections:
A favourite book: Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
Flaubert doesn’t need an introduction and nor does Madame Bovary. In a way that’s the problem the book has — long before I read it I felt like I’d already heard everything there was to say about it.
Hearing about it doesn’t prepare you, though, for its sheer brilliance. The quality of the prose is extraordinary. It has tremendous psychological subtlety. It’s pretty much as good as literature gets. I’ve yet to read a better book.
A book that changed my world: The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler
I divide my reading largely between literary fiction and crime. Raymond Chandler is both. The opening paragraphs of The Big Sleep are rightly famous and the first time I read them they ignited a love affair between me and hard-boiled fiction, which has continued to this day. With time, that led me to other crime sub-genres such as noir and pulp, but Chandler was the start of it all.
There’s far more depth to Chandler than is often realised, but it’s the attitude and prose that make me love him. “I was neat, clean, shaved and sober, and I didn’t care who knew it.” Perfect.
A book that deserves a wider audience: The Pendragon Legend by Antal Szerb
I spent a lot of time thinking about this one. I’ve read a lot of books over the past couple of years which cry out for a wider audience. What made me pick The Pendragon Legend was how it matches wit and humanity with some simply wonderful writing. It’s funny, it’s dazzling and it’s clever. Comic novels are difficult to do well but Szerb pulls it off with absolute aplomb.
Szerb was a Hungarian author and I read The Pendragon Legend in translation (by Len Rix). Somehow I hadn’t expected early twentieth-century Hungarian fiction to be this fun and I put off reading this book for ages after I bought it. Don’t make the same mistake I did.
Thanks, Max, for taking part in my Triple Choice Tuesday!
I’ve got a lovely Everyman’s Library edition of Madame Bovary (courtesy of KevinfromCanada) sitting in my TBR. Not read Chandler, although I should rectify it, because I do enjoy a good crime novel. And I’ve now added the Zreb to my wishlist.
What do you think of Max’s choices? Have you read any of these books?