Books I would love to have written

A few years back, I sat down and wrote, unprompted and off the top of my head, in five minutes, the books I wished I had written.   Are these favourites?   They are certainly not perfect, there are cogent criticisms of each of them.  If I had written them, they would have had different faults.  But these were the books that came to mind, without perusing lists of the canon.

  • Northern Lights – (Philip Pullman)
  • A Wizard of Earthsea, and The Left Hand of Darkness – (Ursula K Le Guin)
  • Player of Games – (Iain M Banks)
  • The Handmaid’s Tale – (Margaret Atwood)
  • The Persian Boy, and The King Must Die – (Mary Renault)
  • 1984 and Animal Farm – (George Orwell)
  • Easter – (Michael Arditti)
  • The Sparrow – (Maria Doria Russell)

Revisiting this list recently I added

  • The Girl with all the Gifts – (M R Carey)
  • The Ocean at the End of the Lane – (Neil Gaiman)
  • The Name of the Rose – (Umberto Eco)
  • Binti – Nnedi Okorafor

Commentary on this

  • These immerse you in their world with complete authority
  • Nearly all have great characters you care about.
  • They do tend to address issues however obliquely
  • The only ‘contemporary novel’ is Easter, a satire.  Well, an everything.
  • None of the thrillers, spy fiction, or detective stories make it in.

It is interesting that writers I really rate and recommend do not have a single work that leaps out.

To take some examples, Saki, Borges, Ray Bradbury, Angela Carter I think of as short story writers.  No P G Woodhouse book or story is strikingly better than the next one.

Remember this list is books where I thought, I wish I had written this.  That’s not ‘fave read’ (many are), or ‘most impressed by’.

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