So here's my challenge: if you're thinking about doing the book meme, stop. Take the time to pick your three or so favourites (or the ones you want to talk about the most). You're welcome to announce that of course you've read more than six too. ;)
Catch-22 // Joseph Heller
This is one of my favourite books ever, although I can't explain why as easily as I can for the other books on my list. I suppose I will just say that the voice is strong and the humour dark. Despite the mildly confusing timeline, Yossarian's goals are obvious and shared by the reader.
The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy // Douglas Adams
Another one of my favourites and quite incredibly British. Endlessly inventive and I can only imagine the kind of planning that Adams needed to get every joke to fit together seamlessly. Love the whole series.
The Wasp Factory // Iain Banks
I read this in my early teens and the (massively spoilery!) ending really appealed to me. It turned out we're all the same after all and I didn't need to worry about my identity any longer. It was reassuring. It proved something. I've no idea how it would hold up to the test of time and I suspect that the writing was a little immature. But then so was I.
Loved the dark, grotesque humour: 'Angus, Frank's father, did occasionally embellish parts of the curriculum - for example, Frank believed for a time that there was a character called Fellatio in "Hamlet".'
Oliver Twist // Charles Dickens
I was forced to read this in university since I had to take a course on Dickens to make up enough credits. As it happens, our seminars were held by one of the key authorities on Dickens. He introduced the idea that Dickens was darkly comic, something which I hadn't known before then. The opening pages of this book are genius.
Sherlock Holmes // Arthur Conan Doyle
It might surprise you, but I LOVE mysteries. Most of the current thrillers and suchlike are extremely "conservative" -- in a recent one I knew whodunnit the minute it was revealed that one of the main character's associates was gay. In another one, a woman showed up who was capable, in charge of her life and unafraid of sex. Although I couldn't see how, I knew she would either be dead by the end or the person responsible for the crime. In fact the epilogue is an icky description of her execution while the murderer walks free. Yeah.
Sherlock Holmes is a collection of quality mysteries and, if you get the stories as they originally appeared, start off with an illustration of a crazy man (or lion) with bulging eyes leaping to attack Holmes and Watson. There's also the issue of Holmes and Watson's extremely close friendship. One of my favourite stories is when Holmes is furious at the villain because he hurt Watson. Or the one where Holmes narrates and expresses his sadness at Watson's "selfish act" that caused him to abandon Holmes for a wife.
CONFESSION: I SHIP IT.
And some stuff that wasn't there...
Trainspotting // Irvine Welsh
Another one for dark humour. Despite the subject matter, this is a beautiful book to read 'aloud' in your head. The rhythm and feel of the words are unmatched. Including Welsh's other works. Shame.
Mary Queen of Scots Got Her Head Chopped Off // Liz Lochhead
Liz Lochhead was one of my creative writing tutors at university and she was amazing. The other students hated her and called her a bitch and worse. You see, she actually told you when your writing sucked. Imagine that! She's simply incredible.
I'm doing this challenge from penknife. Anyone want to join me? I'd love to see anime or Weiss-related meta.