Triple Choice Tuesday: The Sleepless Reader

Triple-Choice-TuesdayWelcome 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 Alex from The Sleepless Reader.

Alex is Portuguese but currently lives in Brussels, Belgium. Until recently she worked for a big consultancy, but then decided to save the world, so she now manages the communications of an nongovernmental organisation that works in renewable energies and international development.

In between reading, blogging and working, Alex likes to travel. She especially loves to visit cities and tracking the food specialities of each new place. "I'm a proud foodie, but don't really cook", she says.

Without further ado, here are Alex's Triple Choice Tuesday selections:

84-charing-cross-roadA favorite book: 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff

This is a book that seems to have been written just for me. It’s a 20-year collection of a real letter exchange between a New York writer and the employees of a used bookshop in London. Hanff becomes intimately involved in their lives, sending them food during the post-war shortages and sharing details of her Manhattan life. It’s the type of book that makes you think: aren't people interesting? Aren't the connections they make extraordinary? Isn't the world a great place? It’s less than 100 pages, but packed full of clever wit and satisfying literary references.

Lord-of-the-ringsA book that changed my world: The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

Apart from being an amazing story by an amazing author, for me The Lord of the Rings was a book of firsts. It was the first time:

  • I'd read a novel in English with 100-plus pages — it proved that reading in the original makes a different, and I haven’t stopped since. It also contributed to my ongoing love story with the English language and my Anglophilia;
  • I'd read high-fantasy, which is still one of my favorite genres. I’m always on the lookout for the book that’ll have the same impact;
  • I thought “I’m going to miss these characters” (I know exactly when it happened: in the plains of Rohan). And miss them I did;
  • I had a literary crush — Faramir; and
  • I realised how I looked for (and needed) strong female characters in literature. I realised this because I identified with Éowyn and, unexplainably, Tolkien favoured beautiful-but-dull Arwen.

A-short-history-of-a-small-placeA book that deserves a wider audience: A Short History of a Small Place by T. R. Pearson

I have a soft spot for Southern Literature, and this novel has all the right elements: a small town, eccentric characters, smart jokes and the bittersweet feeling of coming-of-age. Still, I’ve never met (online or in person) anyone who's ever heard of A Short History of a Small Place.

The story is set in the mid-60s, in the fictional town of Nelly, NC. Our young narrator, Louis Benfield, recounts the tragic last days of old Miss Myra Angelique Pettigrew, a former town belle. After years of seclusion, Miss Pettigrew returns flamboyantly to public view to sing her swan song. Although Louis tells the story, in a way we see it from the perspective of the entire town. These are the stories told over and over at the kitchen table, in the supermarket line, in the beauty salon and after Sunday service so often they become the stuff of legend.

Thanks, Alex, for taking part in my Triple Choice Tuesday!

I have fond memories of reading 84, Charing Cross Road when I first moved to London. And I love the sound of A Short History of a Small Place.

What do you think of Alex's choices? Have you read any of these books?

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10 thoughts on “Triple Choice Tuesday: The Sleepless Reader

  1. As you might expect, Alex, I totally agree with 84CCR. LOTR has always been too daunting for me but I might just have to try it, and I’ve never even heard of the last choice but it sounds excellent so I will have to hunt it down!

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  2. LOTR was my first grown-up fantasy book too:) I’ve got 84CCR on my wishlist as I’ve heard many good things about it (and now I really want to read it!) but I haven’t heard of A Short History of a Small Place before. It sounds very intriguing and will put it on my wishlist pronto!

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  3. I have read T. R. Pearson’s, ‘A Short History of a Small Place’. As I remember (It has been has been many years since I read it), it was gently humorous, and I enjoyed it very much. I see from wikipedia that Pearson has written many many novels.

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  4. As a writer, I like the classic flavor of this list.
    Was Charing Cross made into a movie? I think perhaps it had the excellent Anne Bancroft, but I could be wrong.

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  5. I just read 84 CHaring Cross Road a few weeks ago and thoroughly enjoyed it!
    Yes Shelley, it was made into a movie with Anne Bancroft. I am hoping to watch it in the next week or so!

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  6. I put 84, CCR on my wishlist just now. I had heard of the book but your recommendation is great!
    I once read part 2 of LOTR (someone gave it to me as a present when I was a teenager) and didn’t realise I should read the first part first. So, I stopped half-way and never looked back…

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  7. @Yvann: for shame Yvann, you’ve never read LOTR! My advice: it’s slow-going at first, but just hang-on until you pass Tom Bombadil.
    @Tony: I’m always surprised how he’s not more popular. I have several of his other on the wish-list.
    @Parrish: I’m afraid of re-reading it exactly because of that 😛 I was a student before and could afford to stat in bed… not anymore.
    @Shelley: Yes, with her and Anthony Hopkins. I felt it was tru to the book.
    @Marg: Planning to read the sequels? Not as good, but still enjoyable.
    @Judith: Was it a Dutch translation? maybe you should try again in the original – it does make a difference!

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  8. 84, CCR is one of my favourites of all times.
    I also liked LOTR, I think it was also my first fantasy book.
    As to A Short History of a Small Place, it definitely goes to my wish list 🙂

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  9. I loved A Short History of a Small Place, but being from near the author’s hometown may have caused me to be biased! I also loved LOTR, which I read in college in TR Pearson’s home town 🙂

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