“Let us read, and let us dance;
these two amusements will never do any harm to the world.”

Monday, 21 February 2011

If I have to leave - D.E. Barrell

I made this: Unknown at 7:13 pm 1 comments
Today, I have mostly been trying to remember poetry that I last read in 1998, for my O Levels

Thanks to facebook, I now know that the book we studied was Revival (which I am now scouring the internet for), and have managed to track down my personal favourite from the set, and one that I recited for a school production my final year in Zimbabwe. 

I still love it! 

If I have to leave - D.E. Barrell

If I have to leave,
...I shall take from Africa,
No assegais;
But arrows of laughter in the eyes;
From the Shona women
Sorting washing,
Stitching sheets with me
In a mutual murmer;
The flicker of black hands
Smoothing sheets
And my sons cradled in their shadow.

Laughter in the kitchen,
In the market, in the meeting place;
Shrewd glances over business
Appraising each other's skills.

Black hands helping with sickness;
And that one wet night
As I drove her through darkness:
The awful pain of her childbirth
In my womb.

If I have to leave,
I shall take from Africa this strength,
This strange bond of women.

* * * * *
School Days Over

Thursday, 17 February 2011

If you like it then you should have put a ring on it...

I made this: BookElf at 3:29 pm 3 comments Links to this post
Its been a long time since I wanted to throw a book accross the room, yet I very nearly did on more that one occasion reading The Thorn Birds, by Colleen McCullough.

I chose this book as it is supposedly a modern classic, and was reprinted by Virago Books in 2007 for its thirtieth anniversary addition. Having recently read Gone With The Wind and The Far Pavillions I was keen to add another romantic epic to my Done list... plus the blurb was fantastic.

And it *is* fantastic. Fantastic in scope: fantastic is the way is describes the landscapes of Australia and New Zealand: fantastic in the way is describes the people. I just hated it. And it's all the characters fault.

The story starts in 1915. The Cleary family are poor sheep farmers living in New Zealand. Father Patrick (the only really substatial character I actually empathised with at all) was an Irish immigrant who married into the local definition of aristocracy. Fiona, the mother of the seven Cleary children, is a bitter woman, disappointed in love, who marries Patrick under imense family presure after having a child, Frank, with an older married man.

Together they raise the six boys and their daughter Meggie in poverty, with the proper obedience to the Catholic Church to which they belong. The first part of the book is amazing, and I was immediatly gripped by McCullough's beautiful descriptive writing; this is the perfect example of "show, don't tell", the fundamental rule of writing which she apparently forgets as time goes on.

We are then introduced to Patrick's much older sister, Mary Carson, who is also an immigrant, having married a rich Australian land owner and now living as the spider-like widow in Drogheda, a beyond-massive farm in Western Australia. Mary intends to leave the farm to Patrick and so invites the family to live as sort of farm-managers on the homestead. This is a massive relief for the Clearys, who are living in poverty, and the entire family up sticks and go.

At Drogheda, the family settle in quickly, the men-folk loving the sense of freedom that comes with the Australian landscape, again beautifully described. The women have less of a time of it (naturally) but every seems to plod along nicely enough.

Meggie, who is ten when they move, falls in with the local young priest, Father Ralph, another Irishman who has wound up in Drogheda and has stuck around in order to leach off Mary Carson, who worships him because of his good looks. Its about this point I began to feel the inklings of doubt gnawing at the corners of my brain; why does Father Ralph spend so much of his time and effort on Meggie? Oh, because she's got "innocent eyes". That makes it all alright then doesn't it.

A couple of years go by, with Frank growing all the more resenting towards Patrick, not knowing that he is not actually his father (even though he looks nothing like either of his parents and is compleatly different in every way). This all blows up one evening and Frank runs away to Sydney to become a boxer. Fiona is so wrapped up in herself she has no thought to any of her children, who are all, (apart from Meggie, who's a spoilt little stuck-up thing with nothing on her mind apparently than riding her horse, and innocently wrapping Ralph round her little finger)great and gutted to loose their brother.

More time goes by. Meggie grows into a young woman, working on the farm. Mary Carson has twigged long ago that she ain't getting nothing off the gorgeous Ralph whilst Meggie is around. She has her revenge on him by dying, leaving all her money and the farm to the Catholic Church, with Ralph in charge. The Clearys are kept on, with loadsa money, but only as managers.

This means Ralph now had Loads of Money and Power, which is what he wanted, but is gutted about because he will "lose" Meggie. But he's conflicted about her anyway, because he loves the child not the woman, and now she has a womanly way and he hates her for it and oh how incredibly tragic everything is.

And my first wanting-to-throw-the-book-accross-the-room occured.

I am not a Catholic. I was not raised in a Catholic country and I do not have any experience of how Catholocism really works. I get Ralph is completly torn between the love for his God and his role in the Church, and his love of Power that his role brings him, and his physical love for Meggie. Ralph goes on a bit of a journey himself realising that he is not a God, merely a man with a man's foibles. However. This doesn't stop his from basically pissing about for years, keeping Meggie on a string, pretending that its her oh so bloody innocent spirit that he loves (I should bloody hope so seeing as she's A CHILD) then suddenly telling her to find someone else as soon as she hits womanhood and makes a play for him.

Meggie I hate even more than Ralph because she is a twit. Now I've been lovesick, oh God I've been lovesick, and I've bored my friends with it for *years*. I've loved a man I couldn't have. However. I Haven't Fucked My Entire Life Up On Purpose Just Because I Couldn't Have Him.

Meggie marries Luke, a farm hand, for no reason whatsoever except for he looks a bit like Ralph. Luke is a worker; he works, thats it, thats literally all he is interested in doing. He's also a Massive Bastard to Meggie and drags her to Queensland, where its very hot and nasty, to live as a maid to fortunatly a lovely couple whilst he does the Man thing in the fields.

And again, I nearly threw the book accross the room. Meggie twigs pretty quickly that her and Luke ain't gonna work out. Despite hating everything about her life and longing to go home her stupid pride won't let her; she remains convinced that she must stay with Luke and raise his children (which he doesn't want) because its the only way to get Ralph out of her system.

Now one thing I did like about the book was how it showed the differenced between the men and women's roles. In the books the genders live totally disparate lives, with only two male characters actually ever having a functional relationship with a woman. Meggie is completely oblivious about sex and conception until she marries, because her God-awful mother never spoke to her about it. Luke always uses condoms and when Meggie figures that this is the reason she isn't getting pregnant (because if she had his baby, Luke would settle down, apparently, even though that's clearly bollocks) she seduces him into having unprotected sex. Even though she hates it.

I can't hate Meggie for her ignorance but I was extremely upset by this part of the novel. Meggie has a little girl, Justine, Luke is obviously not bothered at all about either of them And Yet She Carries On Being Married To Him.

And then, THEN, she is REWARDED for it by being given a lovely free holiday on an Island Paradise, where Ralph, who miraculously appears on occasion in his sports car, shows up and they finally Get It On. This of course leads to ridiculous amounts of soul searching and brow beating, but of course Ralph loves his lovely Power (sorry, sorry I mean GOD) and he Can Never Ever Ever Leave...

And OF COURSE Meggie ends up pregnant with Ralph's baby, and she again seduces Luke before leaving him, in order to make sure he thinks the baby is his. She returns to Drogheda and a whole new cycle begins.

Justine and Dane, the new generation of Clearys, are brats from the off. Justine, who again has no sort of functional relationship with her mother because Meggie prefers the son of the man she actually loves (cyclical patterns anyone?), grows up resenting everyone except for her brother, despite living in luxury and being aloud to do whatever she likes, including become an actress and move to Sydney. Ralph makes the one appearance during this time (he's a Cardinal by now). Oh and there's a war, where we actually get to see the family function as a unit.

The children grow up and move to Europe, Justine to act, Dane to train as a priest under Ralph's tutorship. Meggie sends Dane off to Ralph, who never realises Dane is his son until the end, as a punishment for his abadonning her. Even though HE NEVER DID. Meggie KNEW he was a priest. She KNEW he could never marry her. She KNEW all of this, and yet somehow they can't just get on with their lives. Oh no, it has to be unbearably tragic At All Times.

Its like Wuthering Shites but set in Australia, and on a slightly bigger scale.

The book is about reserve and the unsaid and duty and how basic lack of communication ruins people's lives. Every single problem they have would have been solved by a) them having a conversation with each other and b) them getting the fuck over themselves. Ralph and Meggie LOVE each other, he just got into religion too young. Its not like he cheated on her with her best mate, she knew from the off she could never have him. She just fucks up another generation with pining for something that ain't never going to happen.

It is an epic. But it isn't an epic romance. This is Greek Tragedy at its best (a fact that is highlighted several times throughout the book). Its almost Brectian in a way. The last third is dialogue heavy nonsense and the last fifty pages I skim read because I couldn't stand to be in the same room with someone has horrid as Justine.

Would I recommend this book? Well I have to say yes because a) it is fantastically well written for the most part b) it is highly thought provoking and c) I have been in the worst of moods all week so hardly most conducive for appreciating Vainglorious Toss. I might even read it again, in a good few years. But right now, no likey, no lighty. Sorry folks.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Podcast the second - A Valentines Day Special

I made this: Unknown at 12:08 pm 0 comments Links to this post
* * *PODCAST* * *

Valentines Day Podcast Special

'White Linen Shirts a-Plenty'

In this exciting chapter (see what I did there?), we discuss
  • Falling for a Dancer by Deirdre Purcell
  • The BBC 1998 series of Falling for a Dancer
We do better than last time, but once again, at a particular spot, I let the side down. Cue lots of head hanging from me.

We give away the entire plot of the book, and the BBC television series. Then we poke fun at the holes, and get all caught up in the romance at the end. TOTALLY ruinated spoilers wise!

Podcast the second - Falling for a Dancer
Mobile Link Pod 2

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Podcast the First - It's getting Dark in here...

I made this: Unknown at 1:00 pm 2 comments Links to this post
* * *PODCAST* * *

Poddy the first

'Better bring a torch, it's going to get dark'


We look at the following YA series
  • The Chronicles of Ancient Darkness by Michelle Paver
  • His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman
  • The Dark is Rising Sequence by Susan Cooper

- We were doing so well, then about 30 minutes in, it all gets a bit ripe. Apologies, naturally we are deeply ashamed.

- We DISCUSS the books, in detail. To be honest, not expecting spoilers sort of seems to miss the point of the podcast...but, there you go, consider your self warned...

For iPhones, try the following

Podcast the first - It's getting dark in here...
Mobile Link Pod 1

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Booker Challenge - Book 1!

I made this: Unknown at 2:14 pm 0 comments Links to this post

Title:    The White Tiger
Author:   Aravind Adiga
Year Won: 2008
Rating:   8/10

Quick Summary:
Set in modern day India, this book comprises of a series of letters, written by the self made Balram Halwai to the Premier of China. 

Originally from a tiny village in 'the darkness' of rural India, Balram was an intelligent boy, constantly let down by poor familial connections,and subsequent low societal expectations. This is most poignantly described in an incident where a school teacher named him - his own family just using the word 'boy' for him up until that point. 

Despite his enthusiasm and determination to make something of himself, he is hampered by many aspects of Indian society - from the post-colonial political situation to the lasting legacies of a caste system constantly bubbling under the surface, to religious differences.  

It took an act of unusual desperation and depravity to allow him to leave his village, and use his skills to get ahead in the bustling city of New Delhi.

Like it/Love it/Loath it?
- What a fantastic book! Such an insightful look into contemporary India - a country I have never visited, but one that I remain fascinated by. As I noted in the Book Club when we read this book (7), I particularly enjoyed the no-holds barred view of New Delhi - this is no Slumdog Millionaire India (film - the book is far far better). No one is likely to burst spontaneously into song at the end of a dramatic scene (OK, I might be being a little hard on SM here), rather it is a more honest portrayal of a people and a country well aware of the compromises that must be made to ensure healthy survival, and to a certain extent, their attempts to justify these decisions within individual codes of honour, religion and morality. 

- I never really warmed to any of the characters, particularly of those from the 'Master' class, but even the central character was fairly obnoxious at times. It's a credit to the author that the setting that he creates manages to suck this reader in, despite such unfeasibly selfish characters, and pretty feeble plot. As we noted before, I don't think that this could be transposed onto a different environmental setting  - without SERIOUS revisions. For some reason, the very unrealistic nature of the story suits this country still attempting to pull so many of its diverse strands together, in a way that would seem hokey if attempted in other parts of the world.

- I would heartily recommend this book to anyone with itchy feet. It put a longing in me to visit India. Far more than more recent reads, I feel that this is a love story to the country - one that takes into account all the negative realities, but sees the good underneath, and loves despite them. 


Man Booker

Book 3 - Wolf Hall - Hilary Mantel - 2009 - Part 1

Monday, 7 February 2011

Booker Challenge - Book 4!

I made this: Unknown at 7:55 pm 0 comments Links to this post

Title   : The Bone People
Author  :  Keri Hulme
Year Won: 1984
Read for: January 2011
Rating  : 7/10

Quick Summary:
Set in New Zealand, this is a book of two distinct sections. 
The first introduces us to the artist Kerewin, the troubled, and mute 8 year old Simon, and his widower adoptive and alcoholic father, Joe (ahem...not to label or anything...). They are all, to a certain aspect, outsiders - whether by choice, race or situation - yet become a micro-community for a time, learning about one another, and how to live together, despite vastly differing opinions, personalities and personal histories. Kerewin has chosen to remove herself from the 'outside world', until the young Simon invades, and they develop a strange and unexpected harmony. As they bond, Joe becomes involved, by necessity at first, then through a deep longing to connect on a deeper level with people.
Unfortunately, as damaged people, their interactions are often demonstrated by violence, rage and pain.
This results in each separating, with their unique journeys, heartbreaks and experiences comprising the second section of the book.

Like it/Love it/Loath it? 
- All of the above actually.
- The book is structured in a not-as-unusual-now-as-it-must-have-been-then mixture of song, poem and prose. Yes, initially, it was a bit odd, and I did struggle to pull out pertinant pieces here and there, but it's sort of like those 3D puzzles that were all the rage ten years ago - a change of perspective, and you're in business! The Maori aspect - history, culture, preconceptions that affect each of the protagonists differently, were fascinating to me, one so unfamiliar with anything other than the Rugby chant...thingy. 

- While the lyrical prose flowed swiftly and smoothly in some sections, in others it felt discordant with the story - almost as though the author thought 'haven't had any poetry/etherial bits for a while', and promptely stuck some in. So, where this device (and it is a device. It might be linked with a particular culture, or art movement, or country, but it is a device.) worked, it was a thing of beauty and joy. Where it fell flat, I was left tearing my hair out screaming at the interruption to a poignant and heartbreaking story.

- This is *such* a sad story. When all the dialogue and fancy descripters are pulled away, this is the tale of three very unhappy and lonely people. Each has been alienated from family, friendship and love in some form or another. The emotions, or rather, the lack of expected emotions is portrayed so beautifully by the author that at times, when I encountered a sweet or gentle moment in the book, I felt very tempted to abandon ship! Let them have a moment of happiness, rather than the ineviatble misery that seemed to come with each page turn!

- One of the aspects that I really loved about this story was the redemptive nature of the characters in relation to one another. Sure, they each individually do terrible things (ok, more adults than child here, though the trait does seem to be shared between the three), but they impact positively on one another. (It's difficult to think of an example without spoiling the entire ending!) Joe is the most obvious example. Although his approach to raising children is not ideal (by any stretch of the imagination), he does love Simon, and it is through him that Kerewin reaches one of her high points in the story. 

I would heartily recommend this book...to some people. It's a bit heavy duty, and I found myself very ignorant about their way of life, leading to quite a bit of info-searching on the Internet. So, unless I knew the person was that sort of reader, I'd be a bit hesitant. Nevertheless, I enjoyed. 

Though I promptly found myself something soft and squishy to read afterwards!

Found myself listening to a lot of folksy music to this, preferably without lyrics. Some I'd recommend in general would be:
  • Oh Brother, Where are thou soundtrack
  • The UnThanks - any album
  • Imogen Heap - as above!

BookElf's piece on the Leeds Guardian ... with photo!

I made this: Unknown at 11:42 am 3 comments Links to this post
Leeds Central Library protest:

Defending people's right to learnIn the region of 50 people held a sit-down protest in Leeds Central Library against council plans to close up to 20 libraries in Leeds. Guest blogger Jess Haigh was one of them. Here's her take on the day of protest

Protester Jess Haigh takes part in a read-in at Leeds Central Library on Save Our Libraries day. Photograph: Sarah Bradley

It's 11.45am on a very windy Saturday and I'm in the entrance hall to the Leeds Central Library, lugging around four hefty bits of slogan covered wood.
With me are two police officers, a camera crew, a lanyard-wearing member of staff, and a few young women like me, in kitten heels and cardigans. We're trying to figure out where best to sit to read a book, without getting in anyone's way.
The library is already busy; all the computers are full with people scanning international papers online, checking their email and doing their homework: there's a group of parents with their young children in the brightly decorated area, surrounded by tiny shelves full of magic.
There's a queue at the issue desk, staffed by the friendliest people in the world, as people loan books, pay their fines, and make the most diverse of enquiries. One library staff member is helping someone log onto a computer for the first time. The tables are pretty much occupied both by older women and men reading, and a man and his child, sharing a story together.

The police officer is concerned there might be trouble brewing; rumours on the net apparently indicate as much. "How many are you expecting?" they ask us, "we've no idea, about 30?" my fellow skirt-suit wearer replies, "we're just going to read some books".
Protesters at a read-in at Leeds Central Library Photograph: Sarah Bradley In the end, the 50 or so people scattered around Leeds Central Library for the two hours on Saturday were hardly starting a riot. As part of the national Save Libraries day, where members of the public, writers and celebrities came out in force in favour of maintaining library services in the face of the most severe of cuts, we were there to highlight the issue, use the library services available, and show solidarity with the library staff and users.
Twenty branch libraries in Leeds are facing closure in the forthcoming council proposals, with the opening hours of the larger libraries adjusted. Around the country figures vary, however the overall threat to libraries is very real.
It's 12.30pm and I've just loaned out my quota of books. As a member of the Leeds Library, I am entitled to take out twenty items, which I spend a happy half hour choosing from the massive and wide ranging stock available.
There's about 30 of us now, scattered around the floor, and tables, reading, talking and comparing notes and stories. Someone stops to offer her support; as a retired librarian she agrees that fighting the closures is more important now than ever. The camera crew is interviewing a women with her little girl dressed as a cat explaining how she loves books, and how much they would miss the library service.
'Soft targets'

Libraries are a "soft" target. No-one dies if a library shuts down.
Sure, there will be no other safe, quiet, non-judgemental place for teenagers like I used to be to sit, and work. No table and chair for the older people to read their newspaper in the company of their friends, for free.
As one woman puts it: "when you've got your bus pass, you can't afford books". Yes, Amazon sells them for a penny, and everyone reads eBooks now, but £2.75 on postage is a hell of a lot when your living on £70 a week. Try telling someone who does not own a computer they must learn enough English to be able to stay in this country in six months, before they're deported, during which they're living off food stamps, by downloading a book. Soft target, indeed.
By quarter to one there are 40 of us.
There are children and babies, young students, middle-aged protest veterans reading biographies of famous Whigs, and pensioners arguing for better opening hours in their local branch libraries.

We've found David Cameron's biography, and much hilarity ensues. We're reading graphic novels, autobiographies, Mills and Boons, non-fiction tracts, button encyclopaedias.
A protester at Leeds library. Photograph: Sarah Bradley Every new arrival is greeted with smiles and offers of finding a chair, given a questionnaire the Leeds Council have produced on the library consultation. One protester lives in Bingley, can she join in? Of course she can, a visit to the issue desk and she has her own library card, and soon a bag full of Russian Classics she's always meant to read.
From a librarian's blog, to a facebook page, to links to the Twitter campaign started by an ICT lecturer and soon trending worldwide, this issue, like the sale of the nation's forests, has gripped the public's imagination. Sadly, this may have sidelined other incredibly important issues that have come about from the failure of successive governments to tackle the inequalities that result from the current economic systems, and legislation surrounding the distribution of wealth.
Under threat of closure

At half past one we're all still reading, with one little boy asleep peacefully in his pushchair. One young woman tells a journalist how she meets her dad in their local library, under threat of closure in the proposal, every other week. Their entire routine will be shot to pieces if it closes.

Another goes to the issue desk to join up; turns out she was already a member as a child, and still has a book out from 15 years ago. The returns bin is already full; people who want to take their quota to help with the statistics but can't carry home 20 books on the bus issue and return over and over again.
I remember the stack of shelving I have waiting for me in my work library on Monday and wince for the staff, who throughout are friendly and on the whole welcoming, considering how much of a pain having 50 people sitting on the floor of their workplace must be.

Many people have stopped to talk to us. The police stick around, watching us reading. At two we all quietly pack away, put the chairs back at the tables and the Mills and Boons, much derided but often the first things ever read for pleasure, back on the shelves.

A surreal protest?

We all share smiles and promises of future protests. One person later describes the read-in as surreal, others as their "favourite protest so far", illustrating the solidarity these times has brought. I lug the books I couldn't bare to part with home, to add to my to-be-read pile.
We might not have had a famous author doing a reading, or thousands of banner waving militants outside making the police even more nervous.
But we came together, from wherever we were before, and, I think, made our point; libraries are used, are needed, and should not be subject to cuts.

Even if one more person joined their library on Saturday, that is a success. If one person discovered their libraries catalogue online, that is a success. If one person reads just one more book as a result of seeing libraries on their local news that night, that is a success.

We have had free libraries in this country since 1850; by letting go of them now, even piece by piece we are deriding the original principles under which they were founded. We should be standing, or in this case sitting, together now, for libraries, for keeping public services public, for people's rights to live and rights to learn. Without that, how can we possibly be a society, never mind a big one?

* * * * *
Libraries Table of Contents
* * * * *

Friday, 4 February 2011


I made this: BookElf at 11:39 am 0 comments Links to this post
Want to save libraries but live online?
Never fear! You too can be part of Save Libraries Day, tomorrow on the 5th of February.

Despite what the BBC Breakfast might think, library statistics are more than just counting foot-fall. Most library services provide online catalogues that are quite simple to use. You can search for, and reserve items on most, renew any overdue books (naughty) and access any other services your library has to offer.

Here are links to the library services in Yorkshire. Please, add more in the comments. Together, by showing their value and exploiting the fabulous services the public libraries offer, we *can* Save Libraries!

Leeds Library Catalogue
http://prism.talis.com/leeds/ (includes info on the Mobile Library service)

Bradford Library Catalogue
http://prism.talis.com/bradford/index.php (wonderful library service that I use a lot in Keighley, got me Ghost Hunter in less that two days *and* sent me a free text telling me in was available)

Wakefield Library Catalogue
http://libraries.wakefield.gov.uk/ Got our book club members White Woman on the Green Bicycle, for free, when she was otherwise going to spend money.

Kirklees Library Homepage
http://www.kirklees.gov.uk/community/libraries/library-menu.asp (winner of the Libraries Change Lives award, the services Kirklees offer to its community is outstanding and inspirational)

North Yorkshire Libraries Catalogue
http://www.northyorks.gov.uk/index.aspx?articleid=3145 (my home town, Scarborough, has one of the most beautiful libraries I've ever seen and was a refuge in my youth. The children's room alone is worth every penny I pay in Council tax)

East Riding Library Catalogue
https://library.eastriding.gov.uk/ (includes readers guides to fiction authors)

Sheffield Library Catalogue
http://library.sheffield.gov.uk/uhtbin/webcat (Nick Clegg's home town, doesn't make it any less vulnerable to cuts)

Doncaster Library Catalogue
http://library.doncaster.gov.uk/web/arena (includes information about author talks, and various other services)

Any more? Please leave them in the comments...

Thank you,

BookElf xxx

* * * * *
Libraries Table of Contents
* * * * *

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Paper-back to the Future... BookElf's List.

I made this: BookElf at 4:00 pm 3 comments Links to this post

Lists of Books What You Should Have Read are more popular than ever; the Richard and Judy list-of-the-decade has been floating about (see below), as well as the usual '1000 books to read before youd die' that N kindly sent me on a spreadsheet...

Am I the only one who is made to feel incredibly inadequet as a reader by these lists? I've read less than a third of the Richard and Judy one, and am ashamed, I read a lot. Infact I have very little of a life outside of reading.

I got "noted" (is that what the kids are calling it these days?) on a Facebook books-to-read thing the other day and had barely read three quarters of them. I'll say it again I have no life outside of my books.

So I thought balls to this, I'm making my own list! One I'm *gurenteed* to have read the whole lot of. Just to make myself feel better. And If you've not read any on it, they YOU SUCK*

There are 88 of them purely at the suggestion of @MawScrawl, who thought up the title. Props to him. One book per author, otherwise it gets silly.

A Clockwork Orange, Anthony Burgess
A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
A Girl Name Disaster, Nancy Farmer
A Kind of Intimacy, Jenn Ashworth
A Thousand Acres, Jane Smiley
A Thousand Splendid Suns, Khalid Hosseini
After You'd Gone, Maggie O'Farrell
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
Anastasia Krupnik, Lois Lowry
Anne of Green Gables, LMM Montgommery
Bad Girls, Jaqueline Wilson
Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, John Boyne
Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
Burial, Neil Cross
Clan of the Cave Bear, Jean M Auel
Close Relations, Deborah Moggach
Cold Comfort Farm, Stella Gibbons
Crown With Candlelight, Rosemary Hawley Jarman
Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, Mark Haddon
Danny the Champion of the World, Roald Dahl
Diary of Anne Frank, Anne Frank
Down and Out in Paris and London, George Orwell
Dracula, Bram Stoker
Falling for a Dancer, Deirdre Purcell
Far From The Madding Crowd, Thomas Hardy
Flour Babies, Anne Fine
Forever Amber, Katherine Windsor
Frankenstein, Mary Shelley
Gone With The Wind, Margaret Mitchell
Great Expectations, Charles Dickens
Greenwitch, Susan Cooper
I Capture the Castle, Dodie Smith
I Know Why The Cadged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou
Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte
Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, Susanna Clarke
Little Women, Louise Alcott
Lord of the Flies, William Golding
Love in a Cold Climate, Nancy Mitford
Love in a Time of Cholora, Gabriel Gael Marquez
North and South, Mary Gaskell
Noughts and Crosses, Malorie Blackman
Of Mice and Men, John Stienbeck
On The Road, Jack Kerouac
Paradise, Toni Morrison
Pursuasion, Jane Austen
Push, Sapphire
Rebecca, Daphnie DuMourier
Remains of the Day, Kasuo Ishiguro
Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry, Mildred D Taylor
Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4, Sue Townsend
Sovereign, CJ Sansom
Tenent of Wildfell Hall, Anne Bronte
The Cider House Rules, John Irving
The Color Purple, Alice Walker
The Cry of the Go Away Bird, Andrea Eames
The Far Pavillions, MM Kaye
The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest, Stieg Larsson
The Glass Lake, Maeve Binchey
The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood
The Help, Katherine Stockartt
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Addams
The Hobbit, JRR Tolkein
The Hours, Michael Cunningham
The Jungle Book, Rudyard Kipling
The Kitchen God's Wife, Amy Tan
The Little Princess, Francis Hodgeson Burnett
The Long Walk, Slavomir Rawicz
The Name of the Rose, Umberto Eco
The Once and Future King, TH White
The Other Hand, Chris Cleave
The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde
The Secret History, Donna Tartt
The Time Machine, Jules Verne
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, CS Lewis
The White Tiger, Aravind Adiga
The Woman Who Walked Into Doors, Roddy Doyle
The Woman's Room, Maralyn French
Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe
This Charming Man, Marian Keyes
Tipping the Velvet, Sarah Waters
Treasure Island, Robert Lewis Stevenson
Vanity Fair, William Makepeace Thackery
Watership Down, Richard Adams
We Need To Talk About Kevin, Lionel Shriver
Wetlands, Charlotte Roche
Wild Swans, Jung Chang
Wolf Brother, Michelle Paver
Wolf Hall, Hilary Mantell

*you don't actually suck, obvs.

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