Thursday, 30 September 2010


I just recover from answering one meme (the one asking me to list my frequently watched movies) when, knock me down with a feather, along comes another one: this time courtesy of my friend SCB at Where there are Meadowlarks...

Here are THE RULES (for there must always be RULES) as laid down by SCB:

1. Go through the alphabet, and for each letter, think of a book you've read that starts with that letter (A, An, and The do not count).

2. You must write down the FIRST book you think of for any given letter. This may make for some odd choices, but them's the breaks.

3. You must have actually READ the book. (I thought of lots that started with some letters, but I hadn't read them.)

4. If you think of a more impressive-sounding book for a particular letter, but you've already written your first thought down, you CANNOT change to the more impressive-sounding book. As an example, you have to leave "Fifty Famous Fairy Tales" (the Whitman Publishing pink and white one) on the list, even if you come up with fifty more impressive books afterwards.

5. If you can think of a book for X, you win... my lasting admiration (I can't afford real prizes!)

6. You can then tag as many people as you like. The more the merrier.

So, here's the list I drew up...

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll

Brave New World – Aldous Huxley

A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens

Doctor Dolittle – Hugh Lofting

The Exploits of Moominpappa – Tove Jansson

Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury

Gormenghast – Mervyn Peake

The Hobbit – J R R Tolkien

It's Too Late Now – A A Milne
(The autobiography of Pooh's creator)

Just So Stories – Rudyard Kipling

A Kid for Two Farthings – Wolf Mankowitz

The Lord of the Rings – J R R Tolkien

Mary Poppins – P L Travers

Noddy in Toyland – Enid Blyton
(Nostromo by Joseph Conrad would have sounded better, but there it is!)

The Once and Future King – T H White

Peter and Wendy – J M Barrie

Quentin Durwood – Sir Walter Scott

Ring of Bright Water – Gavin Maxwell

Something Wicked This Way Comes – Ray Bradbury

Treasure Island – Robert Louis Stevenson

Utopia - Thomas More

The Voyage of the 'Dawn Treader' – C S Lewis

The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Graham

EXterminator! – William S Burroughs (Oh, well, it was worth a try!)

Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories – Dr Seuss

Zen in the Art of Writing – Ray Bradbury

I suppose it's not too surprising that there are two titles by Tolkien and three by Bradbury – plus, of course, Carroll, Milne and Peake – but the preponderance of children's books suggests that I have already entered my second childhood which is, I guess, pretty accurate!

I hesitate to tag anyone, but (if they'd like to do it and have the time) then I'll tag Gill, Sheila, Sharon, Suzanne and anyone else who fancies having a go...


Suzanne said...

Thanks for that Brian! I shall try and comply, and try to avoid the same titles as you! How long have I got?
backto..... my bookshelves!!

Sheila said...

Thanks, Brian, I'll give it a go. But I'll have to try and get your list out of my head first!

Brian Sibley said...

Best of luck, Suzanne and Sheila! No precise time-limit – sometime within the reach of human memory would be good! ;)

SharonM said...

Will have a go later as well.

Sheila said...

This was more difficult than I expected. An analyst might find the emphasis on Victorian fiction of interest, but I think it's because once you've thought of one (like A Christmas Carol, the genre is in your subconscious). Anyway, here goes:

Alice in Wonderland Lewis Carroll
Brideshead Revisted Evelyn Waugh
(A) Christmas Carol Charles Dickens
David Copperfield Charles Dickens
Espresso Tales Alexander McCall Smith
Far From the Madding Crowd Thomas Hardy
Gone with the Windsors Laurie Graham
How Green was My Valley Richard Llewellyn
I Capture the Castle Dodie Smith
Jane Eyre Charlotte Bronte
Kim Rudyard Kipling
London Belongs to Me Norman Collins
Mansfield Park Jane Austen
Naught for your Comfort Trevor Huddleston If it should only be fiction, then
(The) Nine Taylors Dorothy L Sayers
Orlando the Marmalade Cat Kathleen Hale
Polo Jilly Cooper
(The) Quiet Gentleman Georgette Heyer
Rebecca Daphne du Maurier
Silas Marner George Eliot
(A) Town Like Alice Nevil Shute
Under Milk Wood Dylan Thomas Not sure if this will be allowed
Venetia Georgette Heyer
Wolf Hall Hilary Mantel
(E)xcel for Dummies !!!
(The) Yellow Book – (annual list of gardens open to the public) If it should only be fiction, then I’m stumped
(Dr) Zhivago Boris Pasternak

Thanks for the invitation - it was an enjoyable diversion!

Brian Sibley said...

Look forward to your list, Sharon; and thanks so much for your's, Sheila, which contains several books I've never read and several others that I have read but that refused to take the bait when I was fishing around in my memory for titles!

scb said...

Thank you so much for playing along, Brian! I was delighted (but not surprised) when many of your choices were books I'd actually read. (Unlike the books listed by my American friends. Interesting, that.) As for your attempt at an "X" book -- I could have been sneaky and put a vowel in front of the X, too! I chortled at the inclusion of Noddy in Toyland -- and yes, that's one of the titles on your list that I've read!

Sheila -- your list also had many familiar titles, and I prevaricated for quite some time about using Under Milk Wood, which is what occurred to me first for "U", and finally went with Helene Hanff's "Underfoot in Show Business". But since you chose it, I (who made up the rules) now feel justified in having nearly chosen it. Thanks for participating!

SharonM said...

A couple of gaps, I'm afraid, but here goes:

Angelique - Sergeanne Golon

Blott on the Landscape - Tom Sharpe

Coralena - Michael Mail

Deadly Deception - Margaret Thomson Davis

Exposure - Micahel Mail

Foreign Affairs - Alison Lurie

Gormenghast - Mervyn Peake

House of Cards - Michael Dobbs

Indecent Exposure - Tom Sharpe

Jian - Eric Van Lustbader

Kon Tiki Expedition - Thor Heyerdahl

Lord of the Flies - William Golding

Middlesex - Jeffrey Eugenides

Nineteen Eighty-Four - George Orwell

Old Curiosity Shop - Charles Dickens

Porterhouse Blue - Tom Sharpe

Riotous Assembly - Tom Sharpe

Shogun - James Clavell

Thornbirds - Colleen McCulloch

Under Milkwood - Thomas Hardy

Valley of Fear - Arthur Conan Doyle

Woman in White - Wilkie Collins

Yearling - Marjorie K Rawlings

Zero - Eric Van Lustbader

Suzanne said...

That was quite fun, actually, apart from a couple of letters that had me completely stypied! So here goes:
The Amber Spyglass – Philip Pullman
Bleak House – Charles Dickens
The Cider House Rules – John Irving
David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
East of Eden - John Steinbeck
Far from the Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
Gormenghast – Mervyn Peake
Heartstone – C.J. Sansom
The Invisible Man – H.G. Wells
Jamaica Inn – Daphne du Maurier
To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee (does that count?)
Lady Chatterley’s Lover – D.H. Laurence
Mistral’s Daughter – Judith Krantz
Neropolis – Hubert
Of Human Bondage – W. Somerset Maugham
Pride & Prejudice – Jane Austen
Q – whatever !
Rebecca – Daphne du Maurier
Shogun – James Clavell
Trinity – Leon Uris
Until I find you – John Irving
Villette – Charlotte Bronte
The War of the Worlds – H.G. Wells
eXodus – Leon Uris (Yes I know but stuck!)
A Year in Provence – Peter Mayle
The Prisoner of Zenda – Anthony Hope

Brian Sibley said...

Sharon and Suzanne – Two more fascinating lists and many more books I know by name but have never read. Must get around to some Tom Sharpe sometime (I only know his books through the TV versions) and I must re-read To Kill a Mockingbird and re-watch Gregory Peck in the brilliant movie version.

Suzanne said...

To Kill a Mockingbird is one of my alltime favourites. When the BBC did their "Top 100 books", I did my own Top 10 and Harper Lee was way up there! I'm glad you accepted my "K"!

Brian Sibley said...

Ah, yes... Probably shouldn't have, I guess: don't think 'To' is quite the same as 'The' or 'An'... Hmmm...

I'll leave SCB to adjudicate on that one, but you really can't get away with The Prisoner of Zenda for 'Z'!!! :)

Steven Hartley said...

That's some list of books you've read Brian, I've read some books but not enough to name the alphabet - although I have read Alice's Adventures in Wonderland - although one of my favourite books of all time is Animal Farm.

Brian Sibley said...

Well, Steven, since Animal Farm begins with an 'A' (and is a truly great book) that's a pretty good beginning to any literary alphabet! :)

Good Dog said...

Had a go over on the blog. Tagged Stephen Gallagher, who stepped up to the plate and even found a book starting with X.

Brian Sibley said...

Two more excellent literary ABCs from Good Dog and Stephen Gallagher. Oh, dear! So many books ––– so little time...

Brian Sibley said...

Far too late for inclusion, but I belatedly remembered a genuine X-title: my late friend, Antony Miall's The Xenophobe's Guide to the English!