'The Picture of Dorian Gray' by Oscar Wilde - This book began my lifelong love affair with Oscar Wilde. I remember picking a copy of this book up in my local library and reading it cover to cover. I didn't return it for ages, renewing it constantly until I forgot and wound up getting a hefty fine from the disgruntled librarian who regarded my behaviour as a capital sin in her holy place. The richness, and depth of Wilde's writing is magnificent, on a subject matter that I feel is very much relevant in this day and age, as much as it ever was at the time of publication. Fella gave me a hardback of this for Christmas, and it means so much to me that he tracked down a beautiful version of one of my favourite tales.
'The Sunne in Splendour' by Sharon Penman - If you've followed this blog or my twitter for a while you will know that I'm pretty keen on Richard III. I had heard a lot about this book, but up until his grave was found this had been out of print for some time. Aside from some ridiculously expensive copies floating around Amazon USA there was nothing until Fella found one and surprised me with it. I was over the moon, and couldn't put it down. I read it cover to cover, and with a slight impending dread towards the end, as we all know what his ultimate fate was. I read it to the point that it started to fall apart, and then the very kind Alison (@eleanorcastile) sent me a copy she had lying around. I treasure it very much.
Penman wove such a beautiful tale that is believable despite the lack of proven facts. It is quite lengthy, but it is easy to read, and challenges the reader to see another side to Richard, beside the child murdering uncle he has so constantly been branded. I like even more so that it begins in Richard's childhood, and the inclusion of his brother Edmund, who fascinates me as one of the great 'what ifs' from history. What if he hadn't met his fate the way he had? Would it have changed anything? If start with any Ricardian novel - let this be the first one. I assure you, you won't be disappointed.
I could write for hours and hours about the books that have touched my life, but the above are the main ones I find myself coming back to again and again. I'm creating another post for a later date about my favourite non-fiction books, which I do hope you will also enjoy.
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What your favourite books were/are and why?