Never mind the ice bucket challenge

I’m so relieved that the silly season (the weeks in the summer when there’s no substantial news to report) gimmick, the Ice Bucket Challenge, seems to have died a death.  If I want to give to charity, I’ll do it in an understated way, eg donating when I get a poppy for Remembrance Day.

Anyway, as a bookworm I prefer the Nice Book Challenge.  What are the top ten books that have marked your life?  Here are mine below.

1. A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian, by Marina Lewycka (lots of reasons, but mainly reminds me of my year abroad, and a good mix of bathos and dark humour).

2. Look Who’s Back, by Timur Vermes (a book that made me laugh out loud on the train to Hannover this June, excellent German satire about Hitler coming back to Berlin, ground-breaking and taboo-breaking book).

3. 1984, by George Orwell. Probably the only novel I’ve ever read twice. Gripping from start to finish, and very gritty. Plenty of dark, no humour.

4. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon. Again, more dark than humour. Probably the first fiction book I BOUGHT and could not put down. I even went to bed late to read just one more chapter and then another. A really original book, giving me an insight into Asperger syndrome, so much so, that I even bought a few books by Lorna Wing and Tony Atwood.

5. Gulag Archipelago, by Alexandr Solzhenitsyn. Gripping start. Bit stodgy in the middle, but gripping end. Quite a long book.

6. Pikovaya dama (Queen of Spades), by Alexandr Pushkin. It didn’t change my life per se, but I loved the book and other A-level texts, that it made me want to study Russian at university, and the rest is history…

7. Job-Hunting and Career Change for Dummies All-in-One. This is THE bible for job-hunters. It helped me boost my CV immensely, and I’ve recommended it to lots of friends.

8. The Art of War, by Sun Tzu. Really fascinating book on leadership and organisational skills. One of the books where other people have read it, too, leading to some very animated conversations.

9, Why Men Don’t Listen and Women Can’t Read Maps: How We’re Different and What to Do, by Barbara and Allan Pease. It’s probably not changed my life, but it’s given me a better insight into the psychology of the genders, and it’s been a great “ah, so that’s why my husband/boyfriend/wife/girlfriend does that” book.

10. Business Analysis, by Don Yeates, et al. In as much as it’s marked my life, it was a good book for career reasons and enabled me to move onwards and upwards in job and lifestyle.


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