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28 Dec 2011

RTW - My top 5

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.

This Week's Topic:
What were your top five favourite books of 2011?
1) The Woman in Black by Susan Hill
This book is exactly why I want to write about ghosts in the future for YA.  The market needs a book like this - eerie, tense with a terrifying villain who can even scare you with her presence when she's not even around.  There are scenes in the book where Arthur Kipps hears a ghostly carriage and then screaming and crying but he never sees it.  He just hears it close by, hidden by the fog and I found that frightening because it's never seen.  We know the presence is there but where exactly? Is it happening right next to you or far away?
2) Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
This has to be a favourite purely for how much it surprised me.  I'll admit I'm not really a fan of classics.  I've tried to make my way through Austen's books before and others like Wuthering Heights but I've never been able to get into them.  I'm ashamed to say I just gave up on them after a few pages.  Then we had to read Austen as part of our 19th Century module earlier this year when I was at university.  I began reading it and found myself enjoying it.  I appreciated the satire Austen used and I loved Lizzie as a heroine with her sharp, cheeky tongue.  The girl knew how to banter.  Although I still don't see the appeal of Mr Darcy I liked the novel nonetheless.  May give Austen a second chance in the future.  :)
3) Lords and Ladies by Terry Pratchett
The witches are my favourite characters in the Discworld and I liked how he used fairy folklore with A Midsummer Night's Dream.  I have a book on the folklore he's used in Discworld and I was reading how he went back to old tales of fairies and elves etc where they weren't mischievous but downright dangerous and threatening.  I'm a sucker for the old stuff so this book only increased my admiration for Pratchett, not just with his humour but with his research and how he used legends and actual texts to create something so original.  Totally in awe of this guy.
4) The Time Machine by HG Wells
Wells also popped up in my 19th Century module and last year during the first semester we had to read The Island of Dr Moreau.  The book actually gave me nightmares.  I wanted to read more of his work so I got The Time Machine to see what that was like.  And I loved seeing what the future had become yet that simple fear of what the night brought had still stuck.  The ending was great even though I wanted more from it.  I won't spoil it but it's left to your imagination to decide what has happened. 
5) The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
I just liked the general silliness of the story sometimes with the answer to the meaning of life and Marvin the depressed robot.  It was fun without feeling like I was reading a hardcore sci-fi book full of terms and slang I didn't really understand.  And I do love the trip to the pub just as the earth is about to be destroyed. When there's a crisis, find the nearest drinking place!
What are your top five books of 2011?


  1. I'm happy to know I'm not the only one that is not a huge fan of the classics. I try. I really do, but it's hard. I might give Pride and Prejudice a chance now. Other than Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy (Which I have on my bookshelf and never read)I haven't heard of the other books. The Woman in Black sounds awesome though. I'll add it to my TBR list.

  2. I read Pride & Prejudice this year too. It was wonderful! Maybe we're just not ready for some books when we're younger, but with more maturity, we know how to appreciate them.

  3. I'm currently reading LORDS AND LADIES. I haven't read PRIDE AND PREJUDICE yet, but intend to. THE TIME MACHINE surprised me by its insight into human nature (definitely a classic worth reading). And Douglas Adams is always a good read. I'm not surprised to see Adams and Pratchett on the same list--they share a similar style, though within different genres.

    Good list!

  4. Oooh, Hitchhikers is on my list too! Great pick!

  5. I think classics are great and should be read, but, as I'm from Brazil, I've read Brazilian classics lol I should get to some American/English ones (or ones that are known in the US and England), I guess ...
    Thanks for sharing!

  6. Yay for P&P! That is one of my all-time favorites, and I get so excited when other people discover the amazingness that is Austen. My absolute favorite of hers is PERSUASION--it was her last book and I think the themes are a bit more mature than in her previous books. I highly recommend it :)

  7. Theresa, The Woman in Black is incredible! I have my top 5 books of 2011 but that is THE best book I've read this year. I definitely recommend it along with the others.

    @Karen, I feel that'S the case with some people too. When I was a teenager I wouldn't have been able to get through it. I wouldn't have seen and appreciated the humour of it. Reading it in university and discussing the satire in class really showed me what it was all about. I'm glad I gave it a chance. :)

    @Colin: Reading Adams and Pratchett makes me want to see more of their style in YA. I think the market could do with some good parodies! Must read more of the Hitchhiker's series next year!

    @SLH, thanks! I'll come to see what you thought of the book!

    @Juliana, after P&P I want to give classics a second chance. I think I was at the wrong age when I read them.

    And Crystal, thanks for the recommendation! I think I'm ready to give her another go now!

    Sorry I can't reply directly to anyone's post. I can't seem to figure out where to change the comments so I can have a reply option.

  8. Great list here! Some older and more modern classic reads.

  9. I adore Hitchhiker's Guide. It may be the most hilarious book I've ever read (and informative too, what with the towel carrying tips and the answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything). I highly recommend the rest of the series if you haven't read it, and the "radio plays" on CD are fantastic as well.

    I enjoyed your choices #2 and #4 as well, and now I'll have to check out #1 and #3. Thanks for sharing!

  10. I greatly enjoy Austen, have you tried to read Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë? I now have to totally check out your number 1 and number 3. They sound like novels I could dive into :-)

  11. Jillian, they're on my list for next year. So far I have The Restaurant at the End of the Universe and Life, the Universe and Everything. The hunt is on for the others!

    CG, I haven't. I've seen a film adaptation of it and I quite liked it. I'm sure somebody gave me the book years ago. Just need to rummage through my book collection.

  12. I read Pride and Prejudice in high school, on a summer vacation, and I didn't understand the fuss at all. But when I read it again in college, I appreciated it so much more. (In the book I loved Mr. Darcy - for some reason brooding heroes in books just get to me - but in real life, I'd totally stay clear. I'm definitely drawn more to the Mr. Bingley types in real life.)