Ten Random Books

Today Simon at Stuck in a Book published a post called 10 random books to tell us about yourself inviting us to do just that—select ten books at random from our bookshelves as a way of getting to know fellow bloggers from their bookshelves.

So, I followed Simon’s approach and used my GoodReads shelves and an online random number generator to see what popped up. The books include everything, fiction, non-fiction, books that have been read, unread books, books I’ll probably never get to read, comics, plays, poetry etc. etc. Here’s the results:

1. ‘Travels with My Aunt’ by Graham Greene
I had a bit of a Graham Greene session a few years ago, having not read anything by him up to then, but never got round to reading this one. I’ve read several reviews by other bloggers and it really appeals—it will probably be my next Greene book.

2. The Literary Detective: 100 Puzzles in Classic Fiction’ by John Sutherland
I can see why I added this to my GoodReads TBR shelf but to be honest I doubt if I’ll ever get round to reading it. I’m sure it would be a fun read though.

3. ‘Varney the Vampire Or the Feast of Blood’ by Thomas Peckett Prest & James Malcolm Rymer
I added this to my TBR as it was a group read for the Gothic Literature GoodReads group. I didn’t get round to reading it but it looks like it would be a fun book. It was a serialised Victorian gothic horror ‘penny dreadful’ first published between 1845-7. It’s not going to be top-notch literature but looks interesting enough and must be one of the first vampire stories.

4. ‘The Quarry’ by Iain Banks
This was published just days after Iain Banks’ death on 9th June 2013. I read it a few months later, along with a re-read of my favourite Banks novel The Wasp Factory, as a commemoration of Iain Banks life and works. I enjoyed it and found it somewhat similar to The Wasp Factory.

5. ‘The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling’
by Henry Fielding

This is one of those classics that I keep forgetting about. I’m sure I’d like it though I will probably want an edition with some notes. I saw the 1960s film years ago.

6. ‘Betty Blue’ by Philippe Djian
Ok, so I saw and loved the film when it came out in the late eighties but have never read the book, or anything else by Djian. I’ve read a couple of reviews recently (here and here) of Elle, which has also been made into a film starring Isabelle Hupert. I should see about reading something by Djian.

7. ‘Rowlf’ by Richard Corben
Richard Corben was a comic book artist/illustrator who produced work in the underground comics of the late 1960s and moved into the mainstream, contributing to magazines such as Heavy Metal. His work could very often be categorised as horror, sci-fi or fantasy but he had his very own distinctive style. I have a copy of this buried away somewhere along with many others; one day they will be allowed out in the sunlight again.

8. ‘King Solomon’s Mines’ by H. Rider Haggard
Basically a late Victorian adventure story. I read this in 2010 and remember being surprised at just how good it was though I was in just the right frame of mind when I read it. It’s probably incredibly poitically incorrect and I can imagine some people getting in a rage over it. Personally, I’m not shocked when Victorians don’t have the views of twenty-first century Western intellectuals.

9. ‘Up Above the World’ by Paul Bowles
I’ve read a few books by Paul Bowles but nothing recently. I first discovered his work when I first got into ‘The Beats’; I soon realised that I generally preferred those authors that inspired the Beats rather than the Beats themselves. Every now and then I get the urge to re-read Let It Come Down and then remember that I got rid of my copy. Up Above the World looks as if it will be similar to his other works, involving travellers adrift in an alien and hostile environment. Sort of like a nastier Graham Greene and with more drugs.

10. ‘Identity’ by Milan Kundera
I’m pretty sure I’ve read this one but I can’t remember a damn thing about it. I think I was a bit disappointed with it at the time but I’d be interested to see what I’d make of it now. I had half-planned to read/re-read Kundera’s later works (i.e. post-Immortality) but haven’t got round to it yet. However I have a copy of this one and as I’m trying to read as many books from my physical TBR pile this year this one could well get read soon.

All the book cover images were taken from GoodReads.

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25 Comments

Filed under Fiction

25 responses to “Ten Random Books

  1. An interesting selection – and I’m glad I’m not the only one who can’t remember whether they’ve read a book or not… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jonathan

      I read Breakfast at Tiffany’s the other week which has three stories includd as well. The other day I was trying to remember the stories but could only remember one of them. Saturday I had to pick up the book in the library to remind myself what they were about. My memory is shocking.

      Mind you blogging about a book forces one to go over the book again and helps in remembering details.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Lovely post and a very ecclectic 10 books.

    Thanks for the link to my review of Elle. Philippe Djian is truly an excellent writer, worth discovering.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jonathan

      Yes, I did wonder what books would pop up as I shelve all sorts on GR. I’ll have to try some Djian. I’m limited to what’s available in English though. I really should learn French.

      Like

  3. I really enjoyed Travels with my Aunt when I read it, but it’s been a long time. Not sure what I’d feel about it now. Also on the subject of Tom Jones, I’m not that fond of the picaresque novel.
    Thanks for the mention.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Rather nice books – and I am surprised that I seem to have read quite a few of them: Travels with My Aunt is good fun, Betty Blue is a classic (we were all pretending to be like her when we were in high school, although more based on the film I suppose). I don’t think that’s one of the best Kunderas though. I thought King Solomon’s Mines was very Boys’ Own adventure, but so was Tom Jones and I rather enjoyed that…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jonathan

      When I read King Solomon’s MInes I was in the mood for a ‘ripping yarn’ and that was what it reminded me of.

      I don’t think any of the ‘French’ Kundera books are as good as what came before but they’re still an interesting read. I read The Festival of Insignificance a year or so ago and found it ok. He’s getting on a bit now.

      Like

  5. An interesting random selection of books

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I read Varney the Vampire several years ago. It was a fun book although I thought it fell off a bit toward the end – or maybe I was just getting tired of it since it’s quite long.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Vice dipped into a few of those Sunderland literary puzzle essays and they’re fun but also well researched and argued. One I remember most asks how many children does Lady Macbeth have. There was also another good one about whether Heathcliff was a murderer

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jonathan

      That’s good to hear you’ve read it. I think the problem I’d have is that I probably haven’t read enough of the books in question.

      Like

  8. A nice selection, Jonathan. I went through a Graham Greene phase in my younger days., including Travels with my Aunt. It’s a great book – hope you enjoy it.

    Like you, I’ve been tempted by those reviews of Philippe Djian. I didn’t realise that he’d also written Betty Blue – what a seminal film!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jonathan

      I think my sister had the book kicking about when we were younger but I never read it. I loved the film. The director’s cut was issued a few years ago but I’m not sure if I’ve seen it.

      Like

  9. Thanks for taking part – always so interesting to see what comes up in these randomising exercises! I had wondered if H Ryder H was readable, so pleased to hear that he is – and I have also read Identity and remember very little about it! But I think reading Kundera is more an experience than throwing up any plot that one could remember.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jonathan

      HRH was good fun. I thought it was going to be a bit silly but it was a good story told well.

      Kundera is one of my favourite authors and ‘Immortality’ is one of my favourote books of his but even that one I’d struggle to say what it’s about. He’s a very intelligent author and always makes the reader think about things.

      Like

  10. I may try this myself. Interesting selection.

    Travels with my Aunt is marvellous, and I also loved Tom Jones when I read it many years back. The Bowles sounds interesting – I don’t know him well as an author though I know of him of course.

    Varney the Vampire though! I’m terribly jealous. I must track down a copy. Great looking cover too. I suspect it’ll be pretty bad but it is a piece of history.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jonathan

      If you have the time then give it a go. It’ll be interesting to see what pops up. I was going to do it just on books I’ve read but I think it’s more fun to include all books.

      Tom Jones and Vanity Fair are books I really should read.

      Like

  11. Great idea! You have an eclectic taste – as do I. I’ll follow your example and try the 10 Random books for a later post on
    Thebooksmithblog.wordpress.com Thanks for the inspiration.

    Liked by 1 person

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