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 Marg from The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader.
Marg, who lives in Melbourne, Australia, started her blog nearly eight years ago because she was desperate to talk about books. She mostly reads genre books — historical fiction, romance, crime, fantasy — as well as literary fiction.
She works full time and is a single mum.
Without further ado, here are Marg’s Triple Choice Tuesday selections.
Five years ago I read a book that I never thought would leave the impact that it did. After all, this was a book that had no words — that’s right, none at all. It was a picture book, the colours and tones were all in black, white and sepia and the art was all done using only pencil. So, what is it that makes this book a favourite?
It really is the story. Even without words, the story is clearly conveyed through the amazing art and it is a story that resonates, one that is familiar to people all over the world. It is a simple story. A man seeks a better life for his family and so he leaves them behind to settle in a new land. This is a land where the language is different, the food and the culture are very different and he must learn this new way to live, all the while missing his family and friends.
In some ways the fact that there are no words is a strength. I remember giving this book to my then 9-year-old son and asking him to tell me the story. While some of the details were different, the story that he could see was fundamentally the same as the story I could see. Given that boy is now a teenager who will not read, this is a book-related memory that I need to treasure!
In a way it feels a little odd to choose Glitter Rose by Marianne de Pierres. While I very much enjoyed this short story collection in its own right, the main reason why I have chosen this book is because it is really the first collection I read which made me realise that I could enjoy short stories.
By opening myself up to this format I have been introduced to fabulous short story collections by authors such as Margo Lanagan, Deb Biancotti, Tansy Rayner Roberts, Narrelle Harris and more. Most of these authors write speculative fiction, which for me seems to work quite well in the short story format, and most of the collections have been published through independent small presses.
I think I prefer collections by the same author as opposed to anthologies, and I think I like linked short story collections rather than individual stories. Either way though, I love the way that a short story can draw you in and then change the world within just a few short pages.
Earlier this year I read Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth and loved it! There are so many elements to this book it is hard to know where to start. I think I will start with the fact that this is a big book, both in size and scope, but I would suggest that readers should not be intimidated by either of those aspects. What makes this book interesting is that it is both historical fiction and a retelling of the fairy tale Rapunzel. There is a witch and a tower. There is a handsome suitor and of course there is the hair (I shuddered when I read the explanation for the hair).
In addition, this is also the story of Charlotte-Rose de la Force who is a cousin to King Louis XIV who is banished to a convent after a series of scandalous love affairs. There she meets a nun who tells her the story of a witch who captures a young girl and imprisons her in a tower in Renaissance Venice.
It is in turn surprising, emotional, earthy and fascinating. Part fairy tale retelling, part historical fiction, set in both Venice and France, and a wholly fantastic read. I have subsequently read The Wild Girls which tells the story of Wilhelm Grimm’s friendship with his eventual wife Dortchen Wild, as well as the long and difficult road to success for the Grimm brothers whose name is now so strongly associated with fairy tales. It was another fantastic historical fiction novel, albeit very different to Bitter Greens.
Thanks, Marg, for taking part in my Triple Choice Tuesday!
This is a wonderful selection of books — if you haven’t clocked, they are all by Australian writers in honour of Australian Literature Month — and all of them are titles that are new to me. I particularly like the sound of the Kate Forsyth novel — and I’m happy to see it’s available in the UK, and published in a more attractive cover, I might add.
What do you think of Marg’s choices? Have you read any of these books?