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 Tracey Long, a regular reader of this blog, who is also a very talented illustrator. Her official website showcases much of her extraordinarily beautiful work, and you can see more on her blog ChasingtheCrayon.
Tracey works from her home on the border between England and Wales.
“From my studio — it’s the spare room! — window I have a perfect view of a beautiful 12th century ruined castle, so I spend lots of time staring out the window!” she says.
As well as books, Tracey loves shoes, history, flea markets, collecting illustrated editions of Alice in Wonderland, films based on books and comfy button-back armchairs with stripes — presumably to sit and read in.
Without further ado, here’s Tracey’s Triple Choice Tuesday selections:
This is a toughie…but after giving it some pretty serious thought (honestly, hours and hours, I decide on a title, then another contender would pop into my head), I finally settled on the wonderful Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome. This slim little book will have you snorting with laughter, so be very careful if you are the type who likes to read while drinking tea (believe me, it goes everywhere). I’ve read it at least three times and it is as good every time. Wonderful language and not at all dated.
Three men and one dog embark on a trip on the Thames. What follows is a plot that abounds with absurd escapades and silliness, a hypochondriac twit (who suffers from every symptom of illness except housemaid’s knee), a pair of doltish buffoons, lost toothbrushes, plenty of pies and whiskey and falling overboard and a ruckus-causing mutt called Montmorency.
A book that changed my world: The Art of Lisbeth Zwerger by Lisbeth Zwerger
Wandering about Waterstone’s, feeling somewhat out of sorts after a particularly depressing crit about my latest piece of work, I happened upon the glorious The Art of Lisbeth Zwerger. It came at just the right moment. My illustration work had got horribly stuck and bogged down in too much detail, so reading the (admittedly few) words and absorbing the sheer beauty and skill of the illustrations was like a shaft of sunlight in my head. I realised you could say a lot more with pertinent detail and a skillful use of free space. Inspired and energised, my work was revitalised and completely changed after reading this book.
This book is an amazing mix of gothic horror, ghost stories, adventure, magic, mystery and seduction. It is a wonderful jumble of stories within stories, tall tales and short yarns to read curled up on the sofa while the rain pelts against the windows (add a pot of steaming tea or a hot chocolate for perfect bliss!) I am a sucker for writers who plot and weave a narrative that can wander off up fantastic alleyways (like A. S. Byatt or the playwright Stephen Poliakoff) — and this is one of the best.
The protagonist is young ofﬁcer called Alphonse. He is travelling (by the shortest route) to Madrid, where he hopes to join his regiment. He ﬁnds himself delayed by a motley crew of thieves and gypsies, noblemen and beautiful women who tell him their strange life stories, which he faithfully documents. You can dip in and out of the stories in no particular order and still be fabulously entertained…give it a whirl!
Thanks, Tracey, for taking part in my Triple Choice Tuesday!
Three Men in a Boat has been on my wishlist for a few years, but I’ve not gotten around to reading it. And I do like the sound of The Manuscript Found in Saragossa — especially the bit about reading it while drinking hot chocolate!
What do you think of Tracey’s choices? Have you read any of these books?