Reading for Writing

how-to-eat-an-elephantYOU CAN’T EAT an elephant in one bite. But you can eat it one bite at a time.

So begins my quest to complete BBC’s Big Read Top 100 Novels list. The list is a little dated now, publicised in 2003 to find Britain’s best loved book.

The top 21 are presented on this page, as well as the other 79 that prop them up.

I had a couple of reasons for starting this journey.

  1. I miss books. I really REALLY miss reading books, especially the classics which I would devour when I was a hopeless, unhappy and socially awkward teen looking for an escape to another world. Tolstoy, Tolkien and Cervantes gave me that passage, and I loved them for it.
  2. We all know the expression – you are what you eat. I think the same could be applied to literature especially for budding writers like myself. You write what you read. I’m tired of the crap, throwaway wafer thin characters that have stolen my time in the last few years. Like a Happy Meal, they’ve done the job and satisfied a certain hunger but afterwards, I regret having made the easy choice. Reconnecting with the best books of our (and the previous) generation, I’m exposed to new language, new ideas, compelling characters and riveting narrative that can positively influence my own work.

Some of the books on the list, I read a long time ago but will revisit to document them for posterity on this blog.

So far, I’m on Book 4 (Animal Farm) which is a long way to go. But my reasoning is, life’s too short to be wasting your time on the next money spinning addition of a copy-paste, ‘join-the-dots’ detective chase.

Hopefully I can provide some interesting insights as I go through the list!

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