Sunday, September 01, 2013

Amanda Rutter's Bookshelf Requirements

Today I am very happy and honoured to have Amanda Rutter, the lovely editor for Strange Chemistry on the blog today talking about some of her favourite books and why these books are important to her. I love the range of books coming out of Strange Chemistry and I think Amanda has amazing taste in books. Please do let us both know what you think of her choices.

And if you'd like to know more about Amanda or Strange Chemistry, follow the links below:

About Me

I am the editor of Strange Chemistry Books. I have been reading since I was a young girl, and I love all flavours of fiction. I started out on pony books (for which I still have a very nostalgic regard), moved to fantasy, and, from there, tried just about anything. I have an enduring love for fantasy which, combined with my more recent predilection for YA novels, suits my job perfectly.

The Books I Will Never Get Rid Of

1) First of all, let’s get this one out of the way – my favourite book of all time. I used to think it was difficult to name just one book, but there is only one novel that I have read more than eight times. When you factor in that it is over 1,000 pages long, that is a fair commitment to make! No, it isn’t The Lord of the Rings, as you’d maybe expect from a fantasy fan. It is, rather, The Sunne in Splendour by Sharon Kay Penman. This is a historical fantasy detailing the life of Richard III, and part of the War of the Roses. It is fascinating, epic, sprawling (in a good way) and just a stunning way of learning some of our English history. I love it to itty bitty pieces – in fact, I’m starting to think I’m due another re-read soon…

2) My Charles de Lint shelf. The grand-daddy of urban fantasy, the creator of rich worlds and the writer of beautiful prose. I first discovered him when I was sixteen, by randomly borrowing The Little Country from the library, and there began an enduring love affair that continues to this day. He hasn’t been published much in the UK, which means either importing his novels or buying them when I visit the States – an expensive collection, to be sure! I still have at least twenty of his novels to try and pick up, although those are the very rare ones…

3) Next up are my two (so far) Steven Erikson special editions of his Malazan novels. I have Gardens of the Moon and Deadhouse Gates at the moment. The other eight will gradually be released. They cost something like $160 dollars, have different artwork on the cover and internal illustrations as well – released by Subterranean Press. They are so pretty and strokable and rare and my only true book indulgence.

4) Diane Duane’s Wizard series, starting with So You Want to be a Wizard. I read the first few of these when I was in my early teens and just adored them. I remember reading the whole of the first one in the library while waiting for my dad to finish some Open University research, and then requesting all the others immediately. I didn’t buy them until I found the whole series re-issued in Forbidden Planet, and snapped them up – including a couple I hadn’t read before. Diane Duane never writes down to her audience. These books are complicated, emotional and incredibly entertaining.

5) Jacqueline Carey Kushiel series. These six novels (she has written more, but the Kushiel ones are my absolute favourites) have been permanent books on my shelf since I read the first one – Kushiel’s Dart. I think these are some of the best fantasy ever written, although they do get a bit sexy at times, considering the main character is a very beautiful and talented courtesan and spy.

6) The ‘Samaria’ angel trilogy by Sharon Shinn. Similar stories as the above really – the author has written more, but it’s these three books that I always return to. I borrowed the first from the library on a whim because the cover was utterly stunning, and then bought all three immediately. I had to wait and buy these from the States at a much higher cost (things like Amazon and The Book Depository weren’t around then – in fact, the Internet itself was only just kicking off at the time) but they were well worth it.

7) The Last Unicorn by Peter S Beagle. When I was a young girl, my parents got me a VHS video called The last Unicorn. The animation was so gorgeous, and I fell in love with the story. I didn’t realise it had been based on a book until I was in my teens. I immediately went out and bought myself a copy, and fell even more in love with the book. I also have a graphic novel version of the story. It’s the ultimate fairytale and so beautifully written.

Those are my keepers! Please let me know yours!

1 comment:

  1. This is such a great Bookshelf Requirements post! I have been trying to track down more Charles de Lint books for years and have only managed to read one, though I have another on my library ebook wishlist. I read So You Want to be a Wizard a few years ago and loved it, but have yet to get around to reading the sequel.


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