Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Tagged! The Chocolate Book Challenge

Last month a good friend of this blog - hell, a good friend of mine though we've only met once - the tremendous Sarah Naughton, tagged me on The Chocolate Book Challenge, a neat little meme in which each blogger recommends three books in a chocolately kinda way.

Personally, I don't regard chocolate to even qualify as chocolate unless it's astringent, midnight-black and bitter as Martin Amis in a really shitty mood. But that's not the issue right now.

White Chocolate: Retribution Falls

Lots of frothy laughs. Then after a while, maybe a bit cloying, maybe a bit insubstantial - but man, you want some more.

Imagine a knockabout sci-fi romp in which your protagonist is the twin brother of Han Solo. Then surround him with a quality crew of well-drawn, distinctive crazies; stick them in a battered ship called the Ketty Jay; send them out into the great blue-black yonder, and propel a gang of cops after them. Brilliant stuff. But if you're reading this on the bus, make sure no-one you know has taken the seat behind you. Strictly your secret, right? Until you mention it on a blog.

Milk Chocolate: The Goldfinch

It's on everyone's list, sure. The whole world's doing it. But that don't mean it isn't total quality...

I know a guy - let's call him Argyle for the purposes of this post - who has a problem with D.T. He, like me, is a massive fan of The Secret History. He, like me, thought that second one was just slightly rubbish. But the thing is, he's irked by those passages where she wears her education prominently on her sleeve. "Hey Donna," he says, acting out a conversation I'm pretty damn sure will never happen, "I've got Wikipedia too, you know." I'm here to tell you to ignore him, folks. The Goldfinch is very very good. 

Dark Chocolate: Joyland

This is my stuff. Yeah, it's not to everyone's taste. Some may call it gloomy - dismal even. But it's distinctively dark and magnetic.

I both love and hate amusement parks. Like clowns, they represent two things at once; a child-like joy at innocent idiocy - an adult fear of something distorted, fake and ugly. Joyland enters this hinterland and tells a brilliant, haunting tale that won't go away. King is good at those chilling one-liners that represent the failure of language to cope with the supernatural. In 'IT', Pennywise says, "Everything down here floats." In Duma Key it's, "My father was a skin-diver," a killer line if ever there was one. In Joyland it's a character, choked by terror, who says, "It's the way she held up her hands!" The book is one of his best, and it's got a lovely pulp cover to boot.

Next, a brilliant writer for both children and adults; Dan Smith. (You'll be hearing a lot about Dan in the coming months - some big titles on the way!) Looking forward to your answers, Dan!

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