Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Bookshelf Snooping - Michela D'Orlando

1. Your childhood favourite
Fairy tales! I still complain about the fact that books for grown-ups don’t have illustrations. The ugly duckling is still my favourite classic fairy tale. Later on, to be honest there was never enough action in books for kids. I liked fights and strong heroines, but all that was available to me as a kid in elementary school were the various Pollyannas and Little Women and I didn’t like those stories at all. But at around 12 I fell in love with Homer, Virgil’s Aeneid and the epic poems of the Renaissance. My favourite reads were all about Greek mythology, legends and heroes.

2. Your current favourite
I really like the wave of gritty heroic/epic fantasy out there, so Clash of Kings by George RR Martin, Best Served Cold by Joe Abercrombie and The Steel Remains by Richard Morgan are among my current favourites. Aside from fantasy, Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk.

3. Your top five authors
I tend to have favourite books more than favourite authors and, except for the first two in the list, they change from time to time, but I’ll try:

Stephen King
Chuck Palahniuk
Joe Abercrombie
Richard Morgan

I want to add some ladies there... so many authors I haven’t read yet, or haven’t read enough and I plan to fill the gap as fast as I can!

4. Book(s) you’re reading now
I’m always reading at least four books at a time, usually more.
At the moment:

Catching Fire, Book 2 in the Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins, on your very welcome recommendation.

Roma Victrix by Russell Whitfield. I have a thing for warrior women, and this novel is about a female gladiator.

Legend by David Gemmell. For when I win the award...

Six Bad Things by Charlie Huston. Pulp-noire, and pulp is fun.

Last but not least, A Feast For Crows by George RR Martin.

5. Book(s) you’ve pretended to read
None since I’ve finished school a long time ago. In school, Pollyanna and Little Women for sure, and Verne’s Journey To The Centre Of The Earth. As any ten year old, I perfectly knew that the centre of the Earth couldn’t look like that. A very bad case of suspension of disbelief not working at all.

6. Book(s) you’ve bought for the cover
I can’t think of any. I get more lured by the story on the back cover and by the tags. I’ll admit, tag your book ‘gritty and bloody violent’ and I’m very likely to at least pick it up and check it out. I do love covers, though. There are so many beautiful ones out there, but I just like them as a form of art in itself. I buy the book only if I’m interested in the story.

7. Book you’re a champion for
If I have to pick one, that’d be the Iliad. If more than one I’ll add The Hobbit and, for more recent fiction, Fight Club.

8. Book that changed your life
Not a novel, but Nietzsche’s works that I read as a teenager. I didn’t embrace any one philosophy, but those readings really got me thinking and all that thinking set in motion some major changes in my life. As fiction goes, I’d say The Crystal Cave from Mary Stewart because it was the first epic fantasy book I read and I found it as exciting and intense as my beloved epic poems. It was about the Arthurian legend, told from Merlin’s point of view. It had swords, fights and magic and it marked the beginning of my love for fantasy books.

9. Book you most want to read again for the first time
The Hobbit

10. Book you turn to for comfort
Any novel that sets off my imagination, since escapism has always been my solace. But when I need comfort because it’s hard to write, I turn to On Writing by Stephen King.

11. Favourite line from a book
I have too many, lines stick in my head a lot!
OK, just two:

In Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk, after beating a handsome guy’s face to a pulp, the narrator says: “I was in a mood to destroy something beautiful.”

And in A Clash Of Kings by George RR Martin, Jamie Lannister has one of my favourite lines ever. When told the world is a bad place because of men like him, he says: “There are no men like me. There’s only me.”

Thanks Dolly for having me, your blog rocks!


  1. Michela,

    Thank you for participating, and giving us a peek into your bookshelf.

    I'm thinking about reading Hunger Games trilogy again sometime this year, just to see how I feel about it, now that initial rush of first reading has gone.

    It's interesting what you said about Jules Vern. I admire him a lot - because even though his book do not match with today's science, the times he wrote in, his imagine exceeded anything that was available.

    I also love Little Women :-)

    I have watched the movie Fight Club once, and I might watch it again to give it another try, but I doubt I could come to love it as you do. But hey, that's why we are all different.

  2. Thank you Dolly,

    I got interested in the Hunger Games books when you posted about them saying they're written in the present tense. Being one of the (few, apparently) fans of this writing style I checked them out and I think they're wonderfully written. I still don't know how the story ends though, as I haven't read the last one yet.

    No offence meant to Jules Verne's great imagination, not at all, it's just that at ten I couldn't place him in a moment in time and understand why so many of his books became classics. I was given the book without any prior introduction to the author and it simply didn't work.

    I've realised that Little Women has way more fans than I ever thought!
    But like you say, that's personal taste, and as long as we can all find something we love to read, I'm not complaining. :)

    As for Fight Club, well the movie is good but of course... The book is better! That said, I have to admit I fall short of good reasons not to re-watch a movie with Brad Pitt... ;)