I read a lot, though when I’m writing I like to leave my head free of other’s words. Here are books I’ve read recently and my thoughts on them, plus a list of some all-time favourites.
All time favourite books:
Hat tips to:
Peter Pan, by J M Barrie:
Granny had a copy which I kind of adopted as the only person in the family who read it. Loved it, totally fired my imagination. Really enjoyed the recent UK movie version with Jason Isaacs as Captain Hook too (and totally hated the ghastly Hook released in the 80s – should be banned).
The Weirdstone of Brisingamen by Alan Garner:
I first read this when intermediate age, and I think it was the first modern fantasy novel I ever read. I loved the blend of modern and mythic, and the story was vivid, exciting, fast-paced, intimate yet epic, and at times really scary. Probably the most influential book on me as a writer.
The Lord of the Rings, by J R R Tolkein:
Naturally. I read it at a very impressionable age, and re-read the whole trilogy every year of my teenage years. I was thrilled to be an extra in Peter Jackson’s movie trilogy (I don’t make the screen though, damn it!).
The Belgariad, by David Eddings.
Wonderfully funny and wise, with memorable characters and nonstop pace. I never liked the sequel series when all the characters had become seemingly invulnerable, but this felt fresh and new when it came out.
Other name checks:
- Guy Gavriel Kay
- Stephen Donaldson
- C J Cherryh
- Jim Butcher
- R Scott Bakker
- George R R Martin
I’ve been lucky enough to meet a few other New Zealand writers and read their work. I’d like to particularly draw your attention to the award-winning works of:
- Tania Roxborough: Banquo’s Son, Bloodlines et al
- Karen Healey: Guardian of the Dead, The Shattering
- Fleur Beale: Juno of Taris, Fierce September et al
- Mary Victoria: Chronicles of the Tree series