Welcome to Triple Choice Tuesday. This is where I ask some of my favourite bloggers, writers and readers 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, new authors and new bloggers.
Today’s guest is Eva, who has been blogging at A Striped Armchair for more than four years.
She describes herself as “an amateur reader and full-time library aficionado” but I think that’s under-selling it. In fact, out of all the book bloggers I follow, Eva impresses me most. She reads widely, across genres, nations and centuries, and writes about her reading experiences with intelligence, passion and wit. Her taste ranges across fiction and non-fiction, from the just-published to classics, includes a variety of genres, and she can name a favourite author from every (inhabited) continent.
Eva tells me that books allow her to “transcend her chronic illness” and that her perfect afternoon is spent in her armchair “with a fat book, huge mug of tea nearby and my rescue mutt Thistle curled up in my lap”.
Without further ado, here’s Eva’s Triple Choice Tuesday selections:
I have so many favourites, but for this I have to turn to Jane Austen, who has been a constant favourite author for well over half of my life. Persuasion is all about second chances, and hopefulness, and doing good quietly. As someone whose youth has been limited by illness, I find the story deeply comforting, and the way Austen depicts Anne’s emotional journey never fails to draw me in. It doesn’t matter how many times I reread it, the end still makes me gasp in surprise and laugh in delight.
I’m cheating on this one a bit, because while I love books and they certainly make me who I am today, I can’t think of a specific title that changed my world. So, I’ve picked a book that I think WOULD change the world if only everyone would read it. Natalie Angier is an American science writer, and she looks at the female body from a scientific, celebratory perspective. So much of what she has to say is fascinating, and flies in the face of perceived gender notions; I finished this book as a more empowered woman and committed feminist than I began it, and I imagine it would have that effect on any reader. Not to mention, it’s fun!
Much of what I read comes from the “margins”, so I feel that pretty much every amazing book I read deserves a wider audience. Unlike the other two, I agonised over this question, pondering what type of book to choose, picking and discarding authors and titles. I decided it should be a title still in print, and I wanted one that I could see a large variety of readers enjoying.
Finally, I realised that I’m always surprised that Caribbean literature isn’t more popular. For such a small region, it’s incredibly rich in history and culture, and it has turned out a quite an impressive list of marvellous authors. In fact, I’ve yet to have anything other than a wonderful experience with the Caribbean books I’ve picked up!
The New Moon’s Arms by Nalo Hopkinson is set on an imaginary Caribbean island. It features Calamity, a post-menopausal protagonist who, after the death of her father, finds herself not only trying to heal relationships in her life and reflecting on her past but also tracking down the origins of a mysterious little boy who appears on the beach near her house. Hopkinson’s writing is powerful, with Calamity’s voice so consistent and believable I often forgot she wasn’t real, and her restraint in allowing the reader to see flaws Calamity herself is blind to. All of the characters, even the minor ones, breathe with life. The plotting is tight too, and the setting, of course, convincing and rich.
While the majority of the book is firmly rooted in reality, there’s a flavour of the supernatural in the little boy’s origins, and it’s the most moving and compelling approach to mermaids and selkies I’ve ever seen. Indeed, the origin behind Hopkinson’s mermaids is something I’ll never forget.
Anyway, I’m running on in my attempt to convince everyone to pick it up, because I think after a few pages they’ll be hooked!
Thanks, Eva, for taking part in my Triple Choice Tuesday!
I’ve not read any of the three chosen, but I’m not in the least surprised that Eva’s selected such a diverse — and interesting — list.
What do you think of Eva’s choices? Have you read any of these books?