Thursday, 28 January 2010

Competition Time!

Right, are you paying attention? The last time I tried to run a competition it all got rather confusing for some, so I'll try and make this a little clearer.
1. What is your favourite book? Why is it your favourite?
There are no restrictions on genre, age group (if your favourite is the Hungry Caterpillar like George W.Bush, that's fine!). It can even be non-fiction, it really doesn't matter. I've just got to the bit in The Count of Monte Cristo (which was recommended to me by a neighbour) where one of the characters has been kidnapped by a transvestite and realised some books just can't be pigeon-holed, something that's become a bit of a trend of late. So I hope this competition will give me the chance to pick up books from your recommendations, books I would otherwise ignore or not come across.
See this as your chance to pitch your favourite book to the world (or at least the four or five people who visit this blog). Just put it in the comments section of the blog. Shall we say, comp ends end of March? I may have some more goodies by then.
Prizes? Glad you asked.
Well, for now, it'll be the cover of the Dark Goddess (see entry below somewhere), scribbled over with my fair signature. Obviously if you don't want my hand-writing spoiling what is an altogether gorgeous picture, tell me. I will understand.
There are a few random goodies I'll through in, postcards and the like, so we'll keep it fairly open. Those who are on my newsletter will have something EXTRA SPECIAL.
If you have more than one favourite, by all means enter twice! Just we'll draw the line at two, methinks, unless it's a part of a trilogy or something similar.
By the end I'll pick the winner from the book and pitch that appeals to me most of all. I know it's utterly subjective, but it's my competition.
Oh, BTW, you cannot recommend your own book (or mine, for that matter), even if your Phillip Pullman. Okay, I know it's not that likely he reads my blog, but we can dream, can't we?
Oh, if on the chance you ARE reading the blog, Phillip, I just want to say I'm a big fan and WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO WRITE THE BOOK OF DUST?

33 comments:

Kindle said...

When do you want this by? Where do we send it?

SarwatC said...

Just put it here! I've ammended the entry to make that clear.

Kindle said...

As contradictory as this is going to seem, when compared to my general need for action and life peril in literature, my favorite book (of all time) is Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. As a self proclaimed non-conformist I find myself in awe of Austen's ability to not only think outside of "her era's" box but write outside of it. For example, look at Ms. Elizabeth Bennett. While Lizzy is a pleasant looking woman, she is not what you would refer to as a Hollywood starlet, (enter Keira Knightly from the 2005 movie adaptation of the book.) She prefers walking to riding which means that she is constantly covered with mud, she tends to speak her mind, regardless of the appropriateness of the time or whom she is talking to. She often judges people by rumors she hears rather than getting to know them, and lives in an era where it is expected for women to be “accomplished” (i.e.: paint, draw, play the piano,) yet feels no need to bother herself with the structure of those talents regardless of how she is perceived. Lizzy is a women of character flaws and stalwart opinions yet she manages to capture your attention the moment she enters into a room. I have never...in the hundred's of book I have read, ever felt as closely connected to a character as I have to her. She...is a real person. A person who makes mistakes, a person who sometimes has to beg for forgiveness, and a person who...on most days you would just walk right by and never even notice. She is the written words that fuels future creations. She is the open and inviting window encouraging the NEXT great author to forge their own path...she is me.

Bryony Pearce said...

Yay, I'm entering this one! My two favourite books (at the moment because let's face it, things change daily on that front) are Dan Simmons Hyperion Omnibus (technically two books but published as one so I'm sneaking it in) and Terry Pratchett's Jingo.

Hyperion is genius. It's science fiction. The first part is based on the Canterbury Tales, with travellers telling their stories, but holding it all together is a brilliant, disturbing tale of interplanetary war, time travel and mystery. The second part is even better than the first and contains some ideas that actually make you gasp and put the book down to think about them.

I've read Jingo so many times I'm going to have to buy another copy as the pages are falling out! It's clever, funny satire and the characters are wonderful.

Hope you enjoy your new reading list! Its a great idea, I'll be nabbing some tips too.

Bx

The Floating Lush said...

You are CRUEL. How can a person only have one favorite book??? If my house were on fire, and I could only save one book, I would die because I would be unable to choose what to save.

So, my two favorite books that I read last year (and I'm still going to cheat, btw) were Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan and The Millennium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson; ask me again in five minutes and the answer would most likely be something different!

Tender Morsels I loved because I am a sucker for a fairly tale retelling, and this one was magnificent. Yes it was dark and brutal, but it was a retelling of one of my favorite fairy tales ever, and I absolutely loved it. It was perfection.

The Millennium Trilogy are the sort of books I wish were published in English--your average US thriller is nowhere near this intelligent (although they may think they are) and remind me an awful lot of Smilla's Sense of Snow, which is one of my all time favorite books. Ooh, I just sneaked in an extra title there. Bad Lush!

Cari said...

Wow how do I pick just one book and even picking one author is hard. I know you already read Hunger Games so I won't recommend that.

My first recommendation is the Mortal Instruments Series by Cassandra Clare. I really loved the mix of vampires, wolves, faeries, angels, and shadow hunters.

My second recommendation would have to be Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater. The way she writes you feel like you are living in her world. I love all her books. In Shiver Sam is a wolf in the winter and a person in the summer. Wolf Sam saves Grace when she is a little girl and every winter she waits for the wolf who saved her. Such a great story!

Both books have sold the movie rights to Unique Features. I'm crossing my fingers they get made.

Kindle said...

Cari!!!
I LOVED the Mortal Instruments Series!!! It was without a doubt the best series I read in 2009. I even bought all of my relatives copies for Christmas. Fantastic Choice! (Sarwat... If you haven't read these you really need too.) Shiver is also good and in case you didn't know there is a follow-up coming out this year called Linger. Both of these novels are on my Paranormal Bucket List. (well, all 4 anyways.) -Kindle. P.S. Love this... I'm getting new book ideas! Yea!

emmettlover95 said...

Okay I have a lot of bokks that I love but i am only putting two in here. So one of my favorite books are Shiver by Maggie Steifvater. It is a love story between a teenage girl and a wolf-boy. Durning the winter he is a wolf and summer a boy. He changes only until his time runs out, and this year is his last. He finally gets the guts to go talk to this girl. Her name is Grace and his Sam. The book is written sometimes in her point of view and somtimes in his. I love this book because they are willing to do anything for each other. It is a really great book and it keeps you wanting more. I finished in about 2 days.

My other favorite is a series, it is The house of Night Series by P.C. an Kristin Cast. Mother and daughter. It is about a normal teenage girl until she is marked into becoming a vampire. Through all the books it shows her going through death, love and a lot more. There are five books in the series. I love these books becasue you can put yourself in her shoes and know how she is feeling and put it to your own life.

I a lot of the time put myself in the books I read becasue it makes it a lot more fun to read the books. It makes me feel what the character is feeling and get closer to them.

I know we can't put your books down on this but I just had to put it is also one of my favorites.

Ashley Watts

SarwatC said...

All very interesting choices, and I think I've dipped into a few of them (though, to my shame, not actually read any).
Bryony,
I've read so much Prachett I went on a self-imposed ban, may be time to lift said ban.
Shiver, Mortal Instruments and the Night series are of course dominating the YA field with a certain series starting, oh, what are they names? Bella and Edward, I think.
Now I've finsihed my own werewolf tale Shiver's certainly on the 'better find out what they're all raving about' list!

katarinas mama said...

Well, if I had to chose it would be the entire The Mortal Insturments series by Cassandra Clare, but within it...City of Ashes, the second book is my favorite.

If I could add to the answer my second choice would be Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater and third would be CANDOR by Pam Bachorz.

LOL. Thank you for a great contest. And yes, I know you said ONE but I have a thing for THREES. *glances at 3 kids in Profile Pic*

Tam said...

OK, if you must make me narrow it down, my favourite book is Good Omens, by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. It never fails to make me laugh, I can recite chunks of it and the pair of them have been massively influential in my own writing. I definitely owe them both a drink. Banana daiquiris, I think.

Rebecca Herman said...

Oh, this is really too hard to choose! So I am going to talk about my favorite childhood book and my favorite recent book!

My favorite book as a child was Little House on the Prairie. The Little House series actually was what made me love books and history. So I credit a lot of my love of history and books to that one book!!

And my favorite recent read was The Stolen One by Suzanne Crowley. It had a lot of fascinating historical details while telling a story that was truly timeless. If you like historical fiction, I highly recommend it!

I could probably post about 10 more favorites, but I will stop for now!

kathryn evans said...

Too hard, too hard! So I'm going to go on instinct. The first one that comes to mind and stays there...Michael Morpurgo's Private Peaceful.

It's prefect, I didn't read this book, I lived it. the memory of it is scorched into my conscience and one day, when I'm mad as a fruit bat, I will believe it was a breathing part of my life.

The characters dance in you, the story telling is magical, the twist at the end of the story is heartbreaking.

I read it years ago and even thinking about it now is causing my throat to tighten, my heart to swell. Private Peaceful - story perfection.

kathryn evans said...

Too hard, too hard! So I'm going to go on instinct. The first one that comes to mind and stays there...Michael Morpurgo's Private Peaceful.

It's prefect, I didn't read this book, I lived it. the memory of it is scorched into my conscience and one day, when I'm mad as a fruit bat, I will believe it was a breathing part of my life.

The characters dance in you, the story telling is magical, the twist at the end of the story is heartbreaking.

I read it years ago and even thinking about it now is causing my throat to tighten, my heart to swell. Private Peaceful - story perfection.

Ti-Chin said...

First I have to say that I just finished Devil's Kiss a couple days ago and I can't wait until the sequal comes out.

Okay, now that that's out of the way I have to recommend My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult. It is such a wonderful book. It's one of those books that really makes you think about life a bit and opens your mind to how hard it might be to be a parent who has to choose.

My other suggestion is the Percy Jackson series. I don't know if you've read it or not, but it's hilarious and definatly worth reading. If you like Greek Myths then it's even norte worth reading.

Okay so those are the books I have to recommend, though I have five billion more ideas....

Anne said...

As much as I hate the idea of having a single favorite book, I have to pick Einstein's Dreams by Alan Lightman. It is a novel with each chapter featuring a world with a different concept of the relationship between space and time. It sounds super-over-intellectual, I know, but it is really fun. Each chapter makes you look at the world a little differently and think about how time would act in a world of your own making. It is also strangely calming, food for the soul similar to the way your favorite songs can make the world seem like a less stressful place. So, with apologies to my other favorites, I have to put Einstein's Dreams at the top. It is the book I go to time and again, and the one I have gifted to the most friends. Thanks for the ride, Alan!

Rose said...

Well, let me first say that this is an IMPOSSIBLE task. I've read like a 1000 books. Well, of course I loved the Inherritance Cycle, Harry Potter and the Twilight series. As well as Shiver and Sookie Stackhouse. But the book I chose to reccomend is The Changeover by Margaret Mahy. It's about a girl named Laura. One day she and her little brother Jacko walk home from school and they pass this new store. It sells toys but the man who owns the shop, Carmody Brack, is a bit weird. Jacko loves stamps, so Brack puts one on Jacko's hand. The following days Jacko gets sicker and sicker. The doctors can't find what's wrong with him, so Laura starts investigating the matter. Sorensen Carlisle, a boy from her school helps her. And Laura finds out that he is not as normal as she had thought.
I'm sorry it's so long, but I'm not good with text-length-restrictions :)

vanette22 said...

Just like everyone else that commented, I must say that it is way too hard to choose just two books. But here goes....

The whole Gemma Doyle Trilogy by Libba Bray made me want to run the 15 miles to the closest bookstore and buy the next book in the series. It blends Victorian England with supernatural elements into perfection. The characters are as memorable as they come, and each of them are real. Ultimately you're entertained until the very last page when it decides to spit you back out into the real world.

The first actual novel I ever read still remains one of my favorites. Cry of the Icemark by Stuart Hill catches your initial attention by the amazing cover. As you start to read the book, you can't help but get drawn in to the wonderful world he created. Thirrin- the protagonist- is a fiery character who makes you want to get up and defend your country... even if yours isn't getting invaded by a ruthless general and mega-sized army.

GC said...

Sarwat wrote thusly, "So I hope this competition will give me the chance to pick up books from your recommendations, books I would otherwise ignore or not come across". So my plug will be for Espedair Street by Scottish author Ian Banks (who writes sci-fi as Ian M. Banks)

The fictional story is set in Glasgow and makes use of real settings and landscapes that are there, he paints a great backdrop to his story with places that readers can visit and see for themselves later if they ever visit Glasgow, which is kinda nicely done.

The story follows reclusive rock star Dan Weir (Weird) who despite being famous and rich, is depressed and unhappy with his lot. It is a powerful story of a man who should have everything struggling to find himself and begin to live again. From the poor projects of Glasgow to the psychadellic insanity of the heady roller coaster of sex, drugs and rock and roll scene in the 70's, and crashing back down to suicide
, depression and the snorting of aerosole whipped cream, the reader is taken on a compelling journey.

The story is artfully written, there is no magic, no otherworldly creatures, just a basic story of humanity, and one man's challenges on the way.

It's like a great west end show, the million dollar budgets of hollywood blockbusters are absent, the scenery is simple fare but the show is a smash hit for the audience, because even in it's simplicity, the story is crafted well.

Enjoy !!!
Greg Craill.

paperback ISBN 0-349-10214-7

. said...

One of my favorites would be Flowers For Algernon by Daniel Keyes.
I also will admit that I'm a huge Percy Jackson and the Olympians fan.

SarwatC said...

I've almost finished Percy Jackson and the Labyrith which I think is the best so far. It's taken me a while to get into it (frankly I struggled to remember what happened in the previous one and I only read it a month ago) but the pace is steaming now!!

Bryony Pearce said...

... and can I recommend Bitten by Kelley Armstrong. Sexy werewolves. Nuff said.

Iffath♥Ahmed said...

Okay, so I have to say that I agree with The Floating Lush, you are CRUEL! My favourite book changes nearly everytime I read a new book! There is just so much choice out there, and I like to have a variety of genres with me.

So, I'm really enjoying Drawing With Light by Julia Green.
Drawing With Light is a truly outstanding book. Seriously, I could just stop there becuase it was amazing! It was fantastically told, Julia's writing style riveting, convincing and truly magical. Emily's character was fantastic! She was very reserved and quiet, but also so LOUD! And a photographer she was, that's why I felt like I was there with her, looking and capturing all the her beautiful imagery. I loved the whole connection with trees to her Mother, it was just a perfect touch. There was so much passion and depth in this novel, you really have to go out and buy it! A story that will leave you sobbing while displaying a huge cheesy grin on your face :) This is one of my favourite books so far this year!

SarwatC said...

Hello,
Funny all these books get mentioned and lo and behold, someone gives them to me.
1. Tender Morsels. Really looking forward to this one. Twisted fairy tales. They are the future. I reda her Black Juice collection a year ago and thought it was amazing (awesome cover, too).
2. Got the first Sookie Stackhouse book and just finished Series 1 of TrueBlood. LOVED IT. But Tara would make a better lead than Sookie. Who's totally wet. What is it about girls datimg vampires being so wimpy?
3. I met Pam last year at the BEA. We were both queuing for a siging and got chatting. Spook!
4. Read Ian Banks a few years ago (Wasp Factory, Consider Plebeas, Whit and another one). Whit was great and I still laugh about 'back busing'.

Jackie said...

This is so last minute... :D

My favorite book is Kissed by an Angel by Elizabeth Chandler. It's a trilogy that's full of emotions and surprises. It has an interesting plot and a really good love story. Instead of vampires, this book has ANGELS!!

The story starts out with Ivy and Tristan's short lasting relationship when he gets into a car crash. After his death, Ivy no longer believes in angels and becomes really depressed. Tristan becomes and angel and can't move on until he fulfills his mission: to protect Ivy. The car accident was supposedly "accidental" but later Tristan finds out the truth about it and the person behind it.

It's an amazing book and I love it. Usually I'm very picky with books and was not interested in this book in this first place because I thought it would be dull...but I was wrong. It was full of suspense and twists.



Anyways, I just finish Devil's Kiss last night and I was kind of pissed off. Why? Because there's a cliff hanger!!! And I really want to keep reading. So this book was well-written and definitely has a kickass plot. I feel that Billi is kind of a tomboy but there's also a girly side to her that just wants to fall in love with Kay. I really love this book and hope the next one comes out soon. You're an amazing writer. <33
Woot woot, yay for a new fan!
P.S. I hope you do a book tour in the US...specifically Southern California!
;]

SarwatC said...

Dear Jackie,
What do you mean cliff-hanger? The story's all wrapped up to perfection!
Always glad to have a new fan, Billi's pretty important to me, and there's a lot more to come in Dark Goddess.
No news on the US tour, but since it doesn't come out 'till next Jan in the US it'll be a while before any decisions' been made. South Cal would be very cool...

Aali C said...

WOW! It's difficult trying to pick one or even two favourite books, I have so many (Devils Kiss included of course! lol), but if I really had to choose one favourite I would pick Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte.It's a book I've set my standards by. I have a feeling you might have already read it but if you haven't you should because it's a gothic classic. Wuthering Heights isnt just a love story, it's a story of revenge and insanity and Cathy and Heathcliff's love is on a completly different level to 'Edward and Bella's'(:P). It's self distructive and impossible, and a little crazy. But thats what makes it so amazing. It's an intense love story that still manages to capture peoples hearts. It's Romeo and Juliet on the yorkshire moors! I think Heathcliff and Cathy are alive in all of us- their vulnerability, passion, anger, love reflects in us all. I think this is what allows people to relate to the story hundreds of years after it was origanally published. And this is why it's my favourite book of all time. :)

Aali C said...

WOW! It's difficult trying to pick one or even two favourite books, I have so many (Devils Kiss included of course! lol), but if I really had to choose one favourite I would pick Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte.It's a book I've set my standards by. I have a feeling you might have already read it but if you haven't you should because it's a gothic classic. Wuthering Heights isnt just a love story, it's a story of revenge and insanity. Cathy and Heathcliff's love is on a completly different level to 'Edward and Bella's'(:P). It's self distructive and impossible, and a little crazy. But thats what makes it so amazing. It's an intense love story that still manages to capture peoples hearts. It's Romeo and Juliet on the yorkshire moors! I think Heathcliff and Cathy are alive in all of us- their vulnerability, passion, anger, love reflects in us all. I think this is what allows people to relate to the story hundreds of years after it was origanally published. And this is why it's my favourite book of all time. :)

Kaizy said...

My favorite book of all time is Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith, it was originally published as two books, Crown Duel and Court Duel. Here's a brief description of each parts of the book. Part One: Meliara is a wild, bare-foot countess who has grown up hating the evil tyrant king, Galdran. Her father, on his deathbed, makes her and her brother swear to lead a rebellion against Galdran, but it's a feeble attempt with only poor, half-starved peasants against Galdran's fearsome troops and allies. When Meliara is captured and held against her brother, she must be cunning to escape with her head. Half-dead and badly-injured, this admirable character attempts to cross the entire kingdom.
Part Two: After a year of battles, danger, and a certain gray-eyed prince, Meliara has no intention of ever returning to politics, or court. But when she has to go to court for her brother's wedding, she finds herself even more helpless than before. She's been thrown back into the thick of a new war...this one more dangerous than the last.
The thing I love most about this book is the main character, Meliara, She's admirable, strong, and honest, someone to look up to.

Lauryn said...

Throughout the years, there have been many novels that have come into my possession and it is extremley difficult to just pick two of my favorites. However, there have been two that will stick out for me: Gone with the Wind and The Alchemist.

The first, Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell, is the enthralling story of Scarlett O'Hara, a 17 year old girl during the time of the civil war. However, this is not your typical Southern lady. She breaks the norm for women at this time. She is rude, but none of the lads enraptured by her beauty see it. She is spoiled and mean, but it goes unnoticed. As soon as the rising action occurs, the same strength of character and attitude remain, but as a different role and demeanor. As she is hit tragedy, after tragedy during this awful time, she only seems to rise up stronger each and every time. The trials and tribulations that this woman goes through are astounding and it makes the reader want to see more of her attitude and observe what will happen next. This book is my absolute all time favorite simply because this is THE book. Everything is perfect. Right down to the development of the characters to the scenarios they are placed in. The diction and sentence structure is fantastic. The other thing that attracts my attention is the actual plot line. The trials are what someone goes through as a normal person, and what you can accomplish if you go over the boundaries. It represents the hope of a person, of what they aspire to be, but think they never can. This, in essence, creates a hope for the human race.

:))

lmcullenofla said...

Throughout the years, there have been many novels that have come into my possession and it is extremley difficult to just pick two of my favorites. However, there have been two that will stick out for me: Gone with the Wind and The Alchemist.

The first, Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell, is the enthralling story of Scarlett O'Hara, a 17 year old girl during the time of the civil war. However, this is not your typical Southern lady. She breaks the norm for women at this time. She is rude, but none of the lads enraptured by her beauty see it. She is spoiled and mean, but it goes unnoticed. As soon as the rising action occurs, the same strength of character and attitude remain, but as a different role and demeanor. As she is hit tragedy, after tragedy during this awful time, she only seems to rise up stronger each and every time. The trials and tribulations that this woman goes through are astounding and it makes the reader want to see more of her attitude and observe what will happen next. This book is my absolute all time favorite simply because this is THE book. Everything is perfect. Right down to the development of the characters to the scenarios they are placed in. The diction and sentence structure is fantastic. The other thing that attracts my attention is the actual plot line. The trials are what someone goes through as a normal person, and what you can accomplish if you go over the boundaries. It represents the hope of a person, of what they aspire to be, but think they never can. This, in essence, creates a hope for the human race.

:))

Lauryn said...

Throughout the years, there have been many novels that have come into my possession and it is extremley difficult to just pick two of my favorites. However, there have been two that will stick out for me: Gone with the Wind and The Alchemist.

The first, Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell, is the enthralling story of Scarlett O'Hara, a 17 year old girl during the time of the civil war. However, this is not your typical Southern lady. She breaks the norm for women at this time. She is rude, but none of the lads enraptured by her beauty see it. She is spoiled and mean, but it goes unnoticed. As soon as the rising action occurs, the same strength of character and attitude remain, but as a different role and demeanor. As she is hit tragedy, after tragedy during this awful time, she only seems to rise up stronger each and every time. The trials and tribulations that this woman goes through are astounding and it makes the reader want to see more of her attitude and observe what will happen next. This book is my absolute all time favorite simply because this is THE book. Everything is perfect. Right down to the development of the characters to the scenarios they are placed in. The diction and sentence structure is fantastic. The other thing that attracts my attention is the actual plot line. The trials are what someone goes through as a normal person, and what you can accomplish if you go over the boundaries. It represents the hope of a person, of what they aspire to be, but think they never can. This, in essence, creates a hope for the human race.

:))

Lauryn said...

Although a simple and easy read, The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, will provide valuable life lessons for generations. I believe that it is on its way to being one of the most celebrated books of all time. However, the first time I read it, I hated it. The second time, I got so much more out it. THe book follows the boy, Santiago, on his way to follow his Personal Legend. This Personal Legend is what ensures him happiness throughout the rest of his life. As the boy deals with the problems thrown at him, the lessons learned are so simple, that they make it complex. Let me explain. It causes the reader to over analyze the though, causing confusion and wondering if that is a possible meaning or if it literally means what is said in the text. This book will make you laugh, it will make you cry, but most of all, it will make you think about your life, what you are doing, and what you could be doing to live to the fullest potential of the life that has been granted to you.

Cheers. :))