The Book List

Today, I thought I’d do something a little different. I don’t talk a lot about myself, as you all know, but thought I’d list some of the books that have made me who I am.

My whole life has been formed around the books, (and comics, as I’ve loved them since it was definitely not cool to do so) that I’ve read. Long before I wrote, I read. I was and still am a prolific reader who enjoyed receiving a book or comic as a present more than I would a car or a house (I’m still the same now.) The biggest single thrill of my young life was going into the city (York, England) and choosing a new book with my own saved money.

Here is a list that I think represents me from childhood right up to the present day. These books are not necessarily my favourites, though some are, but they are a fair representation of my reading history and what it has taught me.

I have listed the books as I have progressed in life from young to old-er. (that’s right – old-er!)

I hope you enjoy.

Richard

The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe

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If ever a story made me who I am it was this. As a child, I longed to visit a world so wonderful and believable as Lewis’s creation. The Narnia books were the first I bought and devoured. I still can’t help looking in wardrobes to see if there’s snow there.

The Forest of Doom

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The Fighting Fantasy books taught me that a story could not just be set on one definite path but be both versatile and exciting. These books were new, different and most of all fantastical.

The Rats

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One prerequisite of a teenage boy is that he suddenly likes rock music, leather and horror. The Rats delivered, and for the first time in my life I felt a bit of a rebel.

STORMBRINGER

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Stormbringer and Michael Moorcock himself quite literally changed my life. I was blown away by his anti-hero Elric. The weakling King with a sword that fed him souls, quite often of those he loved, was genius. Moorcock created Elric as an opposite of the Conan character and reading this book inspired me more than any other to become a writer. I will never be as good as my literary hero, but even a fraction would suffice.

The Silmarillion

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The Silmarillion is the single most convincing work of how Fantasy can be made legend. If this book was dug up two million years from now, the people of that time would consider it  their Bible and that Elves etcetera DID exist.

The Inferno

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And thus a love affair with poetry was born. Dante Alighieri could have written about a bin liner and made it sound poetic. Outstanding!

Death At La Fenice

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I went through a period of reading stories about places I would love to visit. I’m lucky I’ve gotten to most, but Venice still haunts me. One day.

Norwegian Wood

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After Moorcock, Murakami affected me most. Murakami has the skill to write about anything and make it surreal, dreamlike and utterly compelling. Some of his stories lose you, others don’t, but either way, you HAVE to finish them and move straight on to the next.

Of Mice and Men

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Steinbeck taught me that a story does not have to be hundreds of pages long, nor of a subject matter so intense as to fry your brain. Simplicity and innocence are the key here. I dare anyone not to have tears in their eyes.

To Kill A Mockingbird

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I have an inbuilt resistance to reading, (or doing) what others do. I like to plough my own furrow, as we say around here. I don’t like being recommended books; I like to discover them. I don’t like being told what to read; I want my own decision to sweep over me. To Kill a Mockingbird was the singular exception to my rule. Thank god I took my Mother-in-law’s advice. Possibly the greatest book ever written, and that’s coming from a lover of Fantasy and Science Fiction.

I hope you enjoyed my selections. It was very difficult to choose them as I love so many. I have over fifty Michael Moorcock books alone just as an example. Everybody will have their favourites, but I don’t think you can look back and truly understand what reading has done for you until you reach a certain age. I have.

As an aside, I found listing my books like this quite therapeutic and would strongly recommend it to anyone else.

Thanks again

Richard.

All images courtesy of Goodreads.com

Richard M. Ankers author of The Eternals trilogy.

Amazon (US)

Amazon (UK)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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90 thoughts on “The Book List

  1. Really interesting post, and a fine way to get to know a writer 🙂

    I have similar memories of Fighting Fantasy books and James Herbert as a 12/13 year old… I loved to read The Rats late at night and terrify myself (a situation made worse by the intermittent presence of mice in the loft above me!)

  2. I’ve heard a lot about Murakami, but never read anything, maybe I should try….but It don’t like many books for adults, especially by male writers….but I do like Magic Realism….😊

      1. I’ll try. I normally get the feel of a book after reading half a page ( for me, language is half the book!), so it doesn’t hurt to try! 😊😊

      1. There were 3 which were my favourites These were The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, The Inferno and Of Men and Mice .. Also Love the works of JRR Tolkien.. Pure Magic in every sense to engage imagination 🙂

  3. Your post inspired me to dig into my past, ouch! Oh, but there is a book that brought me hope to hang on in life. I am off to write! As far as your books, I read one, and have wanted to read Dante. I hear he is good 😂.

    Your books…The Rats intrigues me. Of Mice and Men is a tear jerker. I saw the story as a play as well. 💜it!

    You are one of the blogs I always look forward to read. And no harm to talk, I enjoy getting to know the people behind the blog. Be well. ☺️

      1. You do. 😉🌻and i just downloaded your book, which i meant to do when it was 99cents (american). 😂 now u have $3 extra in your pocket. 🍻or☕️ J

      2. Well, I’m glad you have. Thank you very much. I’ll soon be able to buy new underwear. I’ve been looking forward to it for years. 😉
        PS I hope you like it.

      3. Oh, btw, it was my pleasure to spend $3.99. It is difficult to interpret comments, sometimes. Just in case it came across wrong. 😉🌻

  4. Excellent list! I have to say that there are a few I haven’t read, and will now add to my WTR list. “Of Mice and Men” ALWAYS brought tears to my eyes, and yet I’d read it again & again. This was a wonderful idea, Richard. Thank you for sharing

  5. The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe – those images of the lamp post in the snowy waste and the back of the wardrobe – sheer genius. It lead me to read The Magician’s Nephew (prequel) which ties for that place. Then Jane Eyre – which lead me to read Villette – Villette to be placed top of the list with To Kill a Mocking Bird. Anything by R.K Narayan. Louis McNeice for getting me into poetry at the old age of 16 – we had to “do” him for O-Levels and Jamaican Woman – An Anthology – for opening my eyes to what was then called Commonwealth Literature and the most amazing writers out there. I must also say unashamedly that Enid Blyton and Arthur Ransome are to blame for the passion for reading full stop.

    1. I had to do McNeice for O-levels, he nearly finished me off in combination with Larkin. That gave me the shivers. Brrr!
      You should write that lot up like I did. I bet it would be really interesting for people.

      1. Thank you! Never knew what I thought of Larkin either- he was officially our Librarian at Hull, but he did get all sorts of poets over which was great fun watching them ham it up in the student Union!! Stephen Spender was on that list for O-levels, lines of his stay with me for ever…I’ll write it…!

  6. Great post! I love the power of books on/in our lives!
    I’m a lot like you, on not liking being told what to read. I like the discovery of finding something that is my own without beginning with outside influences directing me.
    I went through my whole 4 years of high-school’s required reading list rebelling against it with 2 exceptions- Of Mice and Men and, To Kill A Mockingbird. Those two books are still two of my favorites today.
    Maybe because we did rebel against them in the beginning, their words created a bigger impact on us than they would have if we had just followed along? Guess we’ll never really know, but this dork is thankful to have found them anyway!

  7. NOTICE how many people responded to this? It’s not just because we’ve all read some of those and love them equally it’s because we like knowing about you! The man who doesn’t put his picture on his book jacket! 😉 I’m in total agreement with all the ones on the list I’ve read EXCEPT The Rats because yes I read that around 15yrs old and it traumatized me sooooo much! I can totally see why a boy would like it but I can’t look at loo rolls the same anymore!!!! Nuff said! You put some classics down here, makes me want to do my own list, and I like that you put covers too because it enriches the conversation and memories. I can definitely see some influences in your writing though you are by no means a copy cat, you’ve just taken onboard the notions of those worlds in preparation for your own flight. I would add to your list Ruth Manning Saunders A Book of Dragons and Grimms Fairy Tales and The Alienist (Caleb Carr) and Forever and As I Sat Down At Grand Central Station and Wept.

      1. Something to read when you’re not writing excellent things? Grimms really traumatized me also (but in a good way if that’s not an oxymoron)

  8. If one can read so many books at one time, that would be great.
    I have to admit I have not yet read the ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ and ‘The Rats’.
    My best friend told me to buy Harper Lee’s book, but I have not done this yet as I had loads of new books on my shelves that are crying out to be read.

    Like you said, if one want to know of you, then they should see your books and perhaps then people might know you. This is a good idea to do a blog like this.

    Thank you for sharing, Richard!

  9. This is such a fabulous post, Richard. Now that I’m reading your book, I can so see the literary influences and how they brought you to where you are. Amazing! What a wonderful time you must have had thinking back and pulling this together.

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