Wednesday, January 4, 2012

5 books our followers thought were disturbing, entertaining and powerful

List by followers on our Auckland Libraries tweetstream

"Twitter lets me hear from a lot of people in a very short period of time."
- Robert Scoble

On Tuesday of Christmas weekend I read a bunch of books. Two in particular stayed with me long after for a few very simple reasons: They were disturbing, complicated, moving, exceptionally well-written, entertaining and powerful beyond words. One was Margo Lanagan's Tender morsels (teen, fantasy fiction), and the other was What I did (adult, general fiction). My most recent post on the Rodney blog covers the top 5 reasons why 'What I did' by Christopher Wakling is the most disturbing book I've read all year. I struggled with writing the post. Not out of disinterest, but out of a fear that I wouldn't be able to do it justice, or that I would miss something out altogether or, even worse again, that it would run away from me and that people would liken this UK story to section 59 of our Crimes Act (what NZers call the 'anti-smacking' bill) when that was not my intent. I didn't want it to find any way to become about that. Not for this post. I guess, in short, I didn't want THIS BOOK to become about THAT ISSUE. The last time I had this exact same challenge was when I wrote 5 books or films you may not have known were banned or challenged in New Zealand, June 2011. What I did made me ponder, out loud on our tweetstream, "Ever read a book that disturbed, entertained and was full of such power at one and the same time?" We received a few answers, all of which make up this post: 5 books our followers thought were disturbing, entertaining and powerful. Feel free to share your own suggestion.

P.S. It's 2012! Happy new year :) I wish you all wonderful friends, great opportunities, much happiness and fantastic (thought-provoking, life-changing, challenging and, yes, light-hearted) books.

@Auckland_Libs Skallagrigg, by William Horwood 1 day ago via web · powered by @socialditto

@Auckland_Libs the girl with the dragon tattoo along with the rest of the trilogy is a must! 1 day ago via web · powered by @socialditto

@Auckland_Libs Water for Elephants. Was a great one for that. 1 day ago via YoruFukurou · powered by @socialditto

@Auckland_Libs the uncles story by witi ihimeara made me cry so much I had to take a day off work 1 day ago via HootSuite · powered by @socialditto

@Auckland_Libs The Sparrow & sequel Children of God by Mary Doria Russell. Some of the most gut-wrenching story arcs I've ever read. 1 day ago via Seesmic · powered by @socialditto


Danielle said...

Oh, The Sparrow, yes, totally agree! I read it a few year's back after my mum recommended it, and it's really stuck in my mind. Chilling - haunting - very powerful.

Morgan said...

Blame, by Michelle Huneven really struck a cord. It focusses on this alcoholic who runs over a mother and her daughter, killing them, but we are asked to see her as the protagonist. Tough stuff! And anything by Thomas Harris terrifies me because its horrific, but so realistic at the same time.

SMacQ said...

Wow.. have to agree with those. To Skallagrigg I would add Elizabeth Moon's " The Speed of Dark". "The Sparrow" is an amazing story , so completely unique. I would have to also put in my list "The Book of Lost Things" by John Connolly which is a fairytale , definitely not meant for children.

Danielle said...

I just remembered Emma Donoghue's Room, which was just amazing and such a tale of courage.

kowhai reader said...

The one that got me was the Blue Notebook by James Levine. I think when I reviewed it is said brutal but beautiful (or beautiful but brutal).