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 Beth, who blogs at plasticrosaries.com.
Beth is a copywriter and has two daughters under four. Given that young children specialise in limited reading time like it’s a sport, you’ll often find her reading at 2am.
She’s been blogging in some guise or another since the early 2000s — plastisrosaries.com was launched in early 2013.
Without further ado, here are Beth’s Triple Choice Tuesday selections:
Like so many people, I adore Daphne Du Maurier. She would have passed me by for much longer if I hadn’t had Rebecca on my final year degree syllabus, but from there I went out and looked for what could be better. I didn’t truly believe she could pull off something better than Rebecca but as far as I’m concerned My Cousin Rachel is that book.
I love My Cousin Rachel because there is so much left for the reader to play with – who really was she? I still don’t know and I don’t know if I’ll ever make up my mind, but I’m pretty sure I could read this novel a dozen more times and have a different theory each time. All Du Maurier’s work is wonderfully written, even the novels I don’t count amongst my favourites, but in My Cousin Rachel it’s taken to a new level — it’s special. I know My Cousin Rachel is often heralded as the next best thing to Rebecca, for those readers who can’t bear the idea that there is no more Manderley, but I think it’s much better than that.
I read Cancer Ward when I was in college completing my A Levels, at a time where I was intentionally (pretentiously?) only reading things by authors that weren’t their ‘big hit.’ For Solzhenitsyn, as I saw it, that would have been The Gulag Archipelago or One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, so I went digging for something else and am still so pleased I did. Cancer Ward was one of the first novels that truly clicked with my brain, adult novels that is. “I won’t forget you” was one of the first things I tangibly remember thinking on finishing it (a decade ago I must add) and though allegorical and, at times, nothing more than a shell through which Solzhenitsyn can get his points across, Oleg Kostoglotov and his suffering have never left my mind.
Solzhenitsyn started something, and though I don’t always go after what I consider to be obscure (and Cancer Ward is hardly that, I know), I felt justified in picking what I wanted to pick rather than what was recommended and I think this has stayed with me permanently.
I found this book really hard to choose — I really have no idea how popular many of the things I read are (save seeing other reviews/general publicity for them). In the end I went for Pocket Notebook because I was disappointed that it didn’t have more rave reviews all over the internet and because it’s brilliant and once you’ve read it you’ll want to read Ugly Bus, which is Thomas’ second novel and another one I regularly recommend.
Pocket Notebook is in the Irvine Welsh school of literature, it’s a no holds barred tale of the spectacular breakdown of a policeman on duty at the absolute extreme. It would probably crudely be categorised at ‘lad-lit’, if that’s still a thing (it shouldn’t be). It is sweary and distasteful and I could not recommend it more. It’s probably not one for everyone but I know many fans of Irvine Welsh are missing out and it also reminded me distinctly of American Psycho in some ways too.
Thanks, Beth, for taking part in my Triple Choice Tuesday!
I’ve not read any of them… so I guess that means my wish list has grown that little bit longer now.
What do you think of Beth’s choices? Have you read any of these books?