A recent request for my top ten favourite books set me thinking, because I’m not sure that I have a favourite top ten. My favourite book is usually the one I’m reading at the time, but only if it’s good. so my top ten this week is bound to be different from last week’s top ten, or even last month’s or last year’s top ten. An easier task for me would be the top ten authors who impacted on me during my journey through fiction.
1. Enid Blyton who introduced me to the world of children’s fiction. I remember having a Sunny Stories annual that I treasured, and then of course there was her Famous Five series when I was slightly older. Maybe I should explain, I’ve been an avid reader since the age of five.
2. Agatha Christie, my first foray into the world of adult fiction and my introduction to the crime genre which I’ve been addicted to ever since starting to read her at the age of fourteen.
3. Hank Jansen, the pen name for a horde of British writers including Bob Monkhouse. They wrote pulp fiction featuring American gangsters, gangs and gangsters molls. Definitely not literature, but fascinating to a girl of sixteen. I used to sneak copies of the Jansen books from my father’s hiding place, read them, and return them.
4. Bram Stoker, whose classic novel Dracula was my introduction to the horror genre. I loved the book (not so keen on Frankenstein though) and I think I watched scores of the old Hammer horror films – remember them?
5. Stephen King, I graduated from Stoker to King, as well as James Herbert, Clive Barker and several others. It was King’s horror books I preferred rather than his fantasy quest books.
6. Stephen Koontz, I found him during my horror phase. He writes the most fantastic horror stories, but he also writes nail-biting suspense, and these are the books I now seek out, because of course, I’ve graduated from horror to suspense.
7. John Connolly, an Irish writer who sets his books in Maine, which is also Stephen King’s setting for his books. John writes crime thrillers with an element of fantasy and horror interwoven, and he is a master at creating suspense.
8. Ken Follett, I’ve diverged from suspense and horror here, but I do love his writing, particularly his historical novels which are so huge they could act as doorstops. But you know, I can read one of his books of 900 plus pages just as fast as any shorter book, mainly because the story really pulls you in.
9. Jonathan Kellerman, an American writer who uses a psychologist as the main character. It’s the psychology I love in his books which gives a real insight into why his killers are the people they are, plus he writes a rattling good mystery that keeps you guessing.
10. Jeffery Deaver, I’ve kept the best until last. Deaver writes brilliant mystery novels, and is the master of the multiple twist. I can usually work out whodunnit in most books by following the clues and paying attention to the red herrings, but I can never do it with Deaver. Just as you think you’ve cracked it and know who the killer is, he gives it another twist, and that can happen three or four times before you reach the end of the book.
So there you have it. I’ve taken you on a journey through my reading life, and how it developed over time. But that’s not to say I would still read the writers on the early stages of my journey. For example, Hank Jansen was a teenage phase, and I’ve no doubt I would class those books among my rejects now and wouldn’t even bother opening the pages.
I’ve enjoyed sharing my thoughts with you.