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 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:
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.
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.
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?