This post was carried over here from my original post at my other blog site.
The whole year of 2006, I can safely say that I’ve only read about 23 books (not inclusive of manga and graphic novels, since I am actually looking/admiring/ogling at the pictures more than the corny dialogue), half of that number were James Lee’s Mr Midnight series of children’s horror/thriller/fantasy storybooks which I got free from interviewing him.
I have also read two of Neil Gaiman‘s books – Neverwhere and American Gods, both of which moved me very much, made me ponder hard about certain questions about life and simply affected me. His books has certainly influenced the style of my writing as well and made me want to attempt my own brand of fantasy storytelling.
Gaiman is certainly one of my current top five biggest modern-day literary idols whom I admire and considered as my writing influence. The rest includes J.K. Rowling who needs no introduction, Frank Peretti – the master storyteller of supernatural Christian fiction, Anthony Horowitz – the hardworking British author of the Alex Rider series and Stephen King, the horror fiction maestro.
However, I realise there’s a great need for me to read more extensively beyond my favoured genres (fantasy, supernatural, children & young adult) if I ever want to be a better writer than I am good now. As Samuel Johnson, one of England’s greatest literary figures, says:
“The greatest part of a writer’s time is spent in reading, in order to write; a man will turn over half a library to make one book.”
I will certainly take Johnson’s words to heart and start, on 2007 onwards, to read as much as I could. I have decided to set a target of a minimum of 30 books to finish reading by the end of the year 2007. I don’t think that this is a lofty taget, this is pretty much achievable and considering that I am avid reader, it shouldn’t be a problem for me.
This list of 30 books was pretty much inspired by the challenge which I read over at Bibliobibuli. The challenge was originally put forth by MizB of the Literary Cache blog and the number of books was supposed to be 12 for the year 2007, one book per month. I decided to personally up the ante by setting my personal target of 30.
The list that I have put forth below may be subject to change, though I would most likely try my best to refrain from doing so. I have thought over the books that I want to read carefully and had did a quick research on each of them on Amazon.com.
Some of the books on the list have attracted my attention for quite a bit but I had not worked up the courage to pick up any of them because the genre was not my cup of tea. This would be the chic-lit and romance novels, genres which I normally would do anything to get far away from. However, for the purposes of self-enrichment and self-exploration, I’ll give two books from this genre a try. I resolve to also read about two books or more per genre, including my favourite genres. Without much further ado, I present to you my list of 30 books to be read by 31st December 2007, 11:59pm :-
1. Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman (an Antholgy of Fantasy Short Stories)
2. His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik (Fantasy) READ
3. Confessions of an Old Boy: The Dato’ Hamid Adventures by Kam Raslan (Novel/Satire) READ
4. The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad (Classic Action)
5. Lucas by (Young Adult/Children’s Fiction)
6. The Book of Names by Jill Gregory & Karen Tintori (Suspense Thriller/Historical Religious Fiction) READ
7. Speak of the Devil by Richard Hawke (Crime Thriller Fiction)
8. If You Could See Me Now Cecelia Ahern (Novel)
9. Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha by Roddy Doyle (Novel)
10. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card (Sci-Fi Novel)
11. Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card (Sci-Fi Novel)
12. Stardust by Neil Gaiman (Fantasy Novel)
13. Lord of the Flies by William Golding (Allegorical Novel)
14. A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving (Novel)
15. Mansfield Park by Jane Austen (Romance Novel, Classic)
16. This Present Darkness by Frank Peretti (Christian Fiction) READ
17. Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin (Classic Fiction)
18. State of Fear by Michael Crichton (Sci-Fi Techno Thriller)
19. Millions by Frank Cottrell Boyce (Dramatic Novel)
20. Eragon by Christopher Paolini (Young Adult/Children’s Fantasy Adventure Novel)
21. Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding (Comedy Fiction)
22. Castaways of the Flying Dutchman by Brian Jacques (Young Adult Historical Fiction with supernatural elements) READ
23. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (Novel)
24. Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt (Memoir)
25. Good Omens by Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett (Comedy/Fantasy)
26. In the Country of Men by Hisham Matar (Literary Fiction)
27. Honk if You’re Malaysian by Lydia Teh (Local Interest – a collection of stories on Malaysian life) READ
28. Needful Things by Stephen King (Horror Fiction)
29. Come to Me – a collection of love stories by Amy Bloom (Fiction Anthology)
30. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling (Young Adult Fantasy Adventure Novel) READ