Cecile’s Top 3 of 2011

2011 was a bad reading year. Not only did I not read as much as I would have liked to, but somehow I managed to choose books that really weren’t that great either – they only looked promising. I think a Top 3 of what not to read might have been easier to write, but I don’t mind a challenge so here’s my top 3 of enjoyable books.

Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wayne Jones

Like Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody, Diana Wynne Jones’ Howl’s Moving Castle is a book that will always have a place in my top 3. It’s one of the few books I love to reread (the first time I finished it, I started over again immediately). I knew Miyazaki’s film and after watching it, I decided that the extras on the DVD might be worthwhile and it was; otherwise, I wouldn’t have known the film was based on a book.

What I really like about it is Jones’ new take on the once-upon-a-time fairy tale. She gave it a twist that made the book both modern and classic. Besides the story I enjoy the witty writing style that makes the book both accessible to children and adults.

The Third Policeman by Flann O’Brien

(Flann O’Brien is a pseudonym of Brian O’Nolan – yes a pseudonym; this man had a different name for almost everything he wrote.)  This story is set in rural Ireland and has countless footnotes referring to a make-believe scholar De Selby of whom the narrator is a great admirer. The story takes a strange turn inviting the reader along on the narrator’s incredible voyage to a police barrack that looks like it’s been drawn by a child; in which people have the tendency to turn into bicycles and where the policemen steal objects only to recover these again themselves. It isn’t exactly an easy read, but luckily things are clarified at the end making it all worthwhile.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

This was a marvellous read. The first surprise I had was the miniscule font size in the edition I owned. (Honestly, every time I looked at it, it felt like I needed a magnifying glass to read it. Although, once I started reading, that feeling faded.)

The Help is set in Jackson Mississippi in the early 60’s, in which the just graduated Skeeter wants to prove herself as a writer and an editor. Her début novel is about the lives of the black maids’ in her village. The story is written in multiple first person points of view, which gives the story an extra dimension and a more intimate voice.

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