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Category: Library

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

After a short break from reading, I’m thrilled to return to my Library series today and to one of the most compelling novels of all time. A perfect way to start reading again, thanks to its short yet intense burst of genius, A Clockwork Orange is an unparalleled masterpiece. A Clockwork Orange was the first, and to date only, novel I’ve read in a single sitting. I can’t remember why, but I was staying at my grandparents’ house for a…

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The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan

The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan

My first introduction to The Thirty-Nine Steps was through the 1935 Hitchcock thriller, The 39 Steps, starring Robert Donat and Madeleine Carroll. It’s one of my Dad’s favourite films and I remember the excitement of Richard Hannay escaping north from London, evading capture at the Forth Bridge and trekking across the Scottish landscape to meet the man with the missing fingertip. The book never interested me until I found the paperback when staying at my Grandparents’ house. I read the…

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Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

It seems strange that I have never read Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland before, in fact I had always thought the title to be Alice in Wonderland as most films based on the novel are. The short book feels like a childhood memory, yet to my knowledge I have never read it before, or had it read to me. Like many, it’s the 1951 Disney film that means the most to me in the canon of Alice adaptations. Reading the original…

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The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Alongside The Big Sleep and Wuthering Heights, I was introduced to The Great Gatsby in high school. I wrote an essay about the themes of illusion and reality in both Gatsby and a novel called The Last Resort, which I thoroughly detested. Part of that may have been the incredibly disparity in my instant affection for the former and tedious acceptance of the latter. Since the first few pages, The Great Gatsby has captivated me like no other novel. It’s…

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The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

More years ago than I like to think about, my dad bought me a complete Sherlock Holmes collection from a bookshop in Newark marketplace. I’ve still got the same book today and return to it every few years, unable to do anything but read each mystery in order. The cover has come off and the font is tiny, but it includes illustrations by Sidney Paget and mimics layouts from The Strand. The volume seems so dense that it’s countless passages of…

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Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons

Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons

I can’t remember when or why I first picked up my copy of Watchmen other than it being some time before the 2009 film adaptation. I don’t say that to make myself out to be a more worthy fan of the book, it’s simply my only point of reference. Watchmen seems to be a novel that, once read, can never again be separate from your life. Though I know I didn’t, I feel like I grew up with the characters…

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For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway

For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway is one of a small class of writers, along with names like Dickens, Austen, and Proust, who can simultaneously terrify and excite a reader. Perhaps most like Jane Austen, we’re often judged not by which of their books we’ve read but whether we’ve read something by them. It’s the mark of a truly great author that one can’t choose a single piece of work, like we might with a Fitzgerald or Salinger. For me, Hemingway has always been…

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Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by JK Rowling

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by JK Rowling

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is without doubt the most important book I’ve ever read. The act of reading this novel has unquestionably changed who I am. To understand what I mean, I need to take you back many years to 1997. In June, Bloomsbury publish Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. In September, I start Secondary School. There’s a huge buzz around the book but it feels too young for me and I never get round to reading…

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The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler

The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler

Much like my introduction to Tintin, I was first passed a copy of The Big Sleep by a favourite teacher. This time is was well into Secondary School, either GCSE or A Level years and it was my English teacher, Mr Dawson. Beyond my family, he was most responsible for both my love of reading and long-standing dream of writing my own stories. Following a class reading of The Adventure of the Speckled Band, which I’d read before and was…

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The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

It’s almost impossible having now read The Little Prince, but I seem to remember a time before I knew about it. I certainly only read it for the first time recently, but the image of the cover seems to have been with me since before my memories begin. Like many books, I picked this copy up for next to nothing at a book fair. I’d promised myself one novel from my long list and, despite finding several options, I returned…

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