A Book for Every Year…

I got the idea for this post primarily from the brilliant Christa over at A Voluptuous Mind who posed a list earlier in the year of her favourite movies from every year she has been alive.

I got to thinking what my favourite books would be and inspired by the 1951 Club, I thought I would list my choice for the best books of 1971 to 2015! The reason I’m stopping at 2015 is because I didn’t read any notable new releases in 2016 or so far this year given my on-going book ban. Some years were easier than others – 1971 was pretty tough, but I had to debate between several books for 1993! Some were read at the time (although obviously I wasn’t reading John Berger on my first birthday!) and some only recently, but they represent a selection of some of my favourite books!

So, let’s kick off and see if any of your favourites are here too!

1971 – 1980

1971: The Dead Zone by Stephen King

1972: Ways of Seeing by John Berger

1973: Deenie by Judy Blume

1974: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M Pirsig

1975: American Buffalo by David Mamet

1976: Will you Please be Quiet, Please by Raymond Carver

1977: Dispatches by Michael Herr

1978: Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin

1979: The Executioners Song by Norman Mailer

1980: A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

1981 – 1990

1981: Good Behaviour by Molly Keane

1982: The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 ¾ by Sue Townsend

1983: Fool for Love by Sam Sheperd

1984: Money by Martin Amis

1985: Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

1986: Perfume by Patrick Suskind

1987: The New York Trilogy by Paul Auster

1988: Libra by Don DeLillo

1989: A Prayer for Owen Meaney by John Irving

1990: Blonde by Joyce Carol Oates

1991 – 2000

1991: Seeing Things by Seamus Heaney

1992: The Secret History by Donna Tartt

1993: Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha! By Roddy Doyle

1994: The Skriker by Caryl Churchill

1995: Behind the Scenes at the Museum by Kate Atkinson

1996: Reading in the Dark by Seamus Deane

1997: The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy

1998: Birds of America by Lorrie Moore

1999: Plainsong by Kent Haruf

2000: The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood

2001 – 2010

2001: Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

2002: Fingersmith by Sarah Waters

2003: We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver

2004: Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

2005: The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion

2006: The Arrival by Shaun Tan

2007: Remainder by Tom McCarthy

2008: A Fraction of the Whole by Steve Toltz

2009: A Scattering Christopher Reid

2010: A Visit from the Goon Squad – Jennifer Egan

2011 – 2015

2011: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

2012: Wild by Cheryl Strayed

2013: Tenth of December by George Saunders

2014: A Girl is a Half Formed Thing by Eimear McBride

2015: Tender by Belinda McKeon

Any of these take you back to a specific year? Or is anyone else tempted to make a list of their own? I’d quite like to do the same for music and movies, if I can find the time!

In Praise of The Mysteries of Harris Burdick

Choir praise

Sunday Praise is a new feature here at 746 Books where I will be chatting about books and bookish things that I love that are not in the 746, just to give myself (and you all!) a little break from that slow, yet steady, countdown!

I’m kicking off my first Sunday Praise, with my favourite picture book The Mysteries of Harris Burdick by Chris Van Allsburg.

The_Mysteries_of_Harris_Burdick_(Van_Allsburg_book)_cover

The Mysteries of Harris Burdick is no ordinary picture book and it is not necessarily a children’s book either. The mysteries included as are much about the pictures themselves as they are about the nature of the book as a whole. Chris Van Allsburg, writer of the Polar Express and Jumanji, has used his considerable artistic skill to create a spine-tingling series of drawings that unlock the creativity and imagination of the reader. Published in 1984, The Mysteries of Harris Burdick has beguiled and bewitched readers ever since.

This fascinating book opens with an introduction from Van Allsburg himself, relegating himself from author to bystander and setting up the first and most important of the Harris Burdick mysteries. He describes seeing the drawings at the home of a children’s book publisher and asking about the artist.  The publisher, Wenders, explains that a man named Mr Burdick called to his office thirty years previously.

Mr Burdick explained that he had written fourteen stories and had drawn many pictures for each one. He’d brought with him just one drawing from each story, to see if Wenders liked his work.

Fascinated by the images, Wenders asks Burdick to return as soon as possible with the accompanying stories,

The artist agrees to bring the stories the next morning. He left the fourteen drawings with Wenders. But he did not return the next day. Or the day after that. Harris Burdick was never heard from again. Over the years, Wenders had tried to find out who Burdick was and what had happened to him, but he discovered nothing. To this day Harris Burdick remains a complete mystery.

With  this introduction Van Allsburg asks the reader to complete the stores for these fourteen haunting and mesmerising images, each having only  a title and a caption. Each title offers up just enough information to pique the interest and spark the imagination. Each caption is suggestive yet mysterious – a starting point from where you can go almost anywhere. Each image is dreamlike and beautifully rendered.

Archie 2

Archie Smith, Boy Wonder

In ‘ARCHIE SMITH, BOY WONDER’ a small boy lies asleep in bed, while small orbs of light float in his window. The caption reads

 A tiny voice asked, ‘Is he the one’?

In THE SEVEN CHAIRS, two bishops in a cathedral gaze up at a nun, suspended in mid air on a chair, tantalisingly we are told

 The fifth one ended up in France.

Not only do we not know the rest of the stories, but we don’t know where in the stories these images appear. So, in OSCAR AND ALPHONSE, which has an image of a young girl looking sadly at something in her hand, the caption gives us the sense of an ending, but what leads up to this point?

 She knew it was time to send them back. The caterpillars softly wiggled in her hand, spelling out goodbye

Beginning, middle or end, each of these drawings is the compass point for whatever we, the reader, want them to be.

The Seven Chairs

The Seven Chairs

The stories that you imagine to go along with these images will say as much about yourself as they does about the images. The drawings  are fluctuating and captivating, often filled with a sense of malevolence depending on how you chose to interpret them. As a woman brings a knife down on a glowing pumpkin in JUST DESERT, we have to determine the mood for ourselves. Is the light emanating from the pumpkin evil or benevolent? Is the woman scared or mesmerised? Or both? The decision is ours to make. No interpretation is wrong.

Just Desert

Just Desert

There is wistfulness and a sense of melancholy to a lot of the drawings. Van Allsburg is a skilled draughtsman and his particular attention to chiaroscuro creates a sense of both naturalism and otherworldliness combined.

A Strange Day in July

A Strange Day in July

The sunlight dappling on the water in A STRANGE DAY IN JULY is beautifully illustrated and evokes a long summer’s day in childhood spent skimming stones. This is immediately contrasted with the caption that unsettles such a recognisable scene,

 He threw with all his might, but the third stone came skipping back

The House on Maple Street

The House on Maple Street

As a means to encourage children to use their imagination, The Mysteries of Harris Burdick is perfect. But it is not just children who can be inspired. Stephen King has written a short story based on THE HOUSE ON MAPLE STREET, extrapolating a tale from the image of a house raising off the ground like a rocket and the caption that reads

It was a perfect lift off.

Animators and musicians have also been inspired and there is even a website where you can submit your version of one of the fourteen stories. Twenty-five years after the original book appeared, The Chronicles of Harris Burdick was published, containing stories written by well-known children’s authors taking inspiration from the drawings in the original book and introduced by Lemony Snicket.

For me though, my favourite part of The Mysteries of Harris Burdick is imagining the story of Burdick himself. Who was this man who drew wonderful pictures with tantalising stories and who failed to show up when success was within reach? And what of the stories? What tales of adventure, horror, beauty and friendship had he dreamed up to go along with his drawings? Of all Van Allsburg’s creations, his is the one story in the whole book that I like to imagine the most.

Have you read The Mysteries of Harris Burdick? If so, which is your favourite of the fourteen? I’d love to hear from you.

No 698 Joyland By Stephen King

joyland

I’ll clarify from the start that Joyland is the first full length Stephen King book I have read so I wasn’t really sure what to expect. The premise has everything I was looking for: a creepy carnival, a potential serial killer and a haunted fairground ride.

Horror House was a dark ride, but when it was in operation, this stretch was the only completely dark part. It had to be where the girl’s killer had cut her throat and dumped her body… And suppose… just suppose… a young girl’s hand reached out in that darkness and took mine?

The cover design and blurb also hint at grotesque carnival horror, with its’ terrified pneumatic red head asking ‘Who dares enter the Fun House of Fear?’ but the book itself is less American Horror Story and more Scooby-Doo.

Using the same narrative structure as ‘The Body’ (the only other work of Kings that I have read), a writer, Devin Jones, looks back at the summer of 1973 when, working his way through college and trying to get over the loss of his first love, he takes a summer job at the Joyland amusement park. The park, however, boasts its own ghost, Linda Gray, who was murdered in the Horror House and whose killer has never been found. For Devin, the ghost is a source of distraction and intrigue and with the help of his friend Erin – Nancy Drew to his Hardy Boy – they start to look into what happened and try and unmask the killer.

Despite the premise, Joyland reads more like a coming-of-age novel than anything else as Devin remembers the summer where he lost his virginity, discovered himself and learned how painful and short life can be. He seems to be looking back on that summer as if by making sense of what happened then, he can make sense of where his life is now.

When you’re twenty-one, life is a roadmap. It’s only when you get to twenty-five or so that you begin to suspect you’ve been looking at the map upside down, and not until you’re forty are you entirely sure. By the time you’re sixty, take it from me, you’re fucking lost.

There are a few chills for sure, but more in the manner of a ghost story told by kids around a campfire than anything seriously frightening. King seems to be going for tone rather that plot, which is probably a good thing as the plot itself is slight.

This central mystery – the carnival killer who may still be lurking in plain sight – contains the promise of a good old-fashioned crime thriller, but it’s weighed down slightly by a clairvoyant subplot that doesn’t add much to the story other than being a convenient deus ex machina to tie everything neatly up at the end.

A more 'honest' cover?

A more ‘honest’ cover?

What elevates this rather standard thriller fare is King’s obvious affection for the life and language of the old-fashioned carnival. Dev comes to learn that a ride is a ‘spree’ and the visitors are ‘conies’,

I learned the Talk; I learned the geography, both above and below ground; I learned how to run a joint, take over a shy, and award plushies to good looking points.

A lot of the enjoyment of the book is being immersed in this life of old school hucksterism, a life that King seems to be lamenting as the cheap thrills (not unlike those found in pulp fiction) give way to the Disney-fication of family entertainment. There is a real sense of place and nostalgia and King has clearly done his homework. This Joyland is not the terrifying nightmare suggested by the book’s cover, but a warm, familial community that takes our narrator to its worn out heart. The characters are pure pulp though, Devin is bland but good (saving not one life, but two in the course of the book), the women are all beautiful and most characters can be summed up in a couple of words – the quirky landlady, the clairvoyant with a heart and the sweet but terminally ill boy and the heartless ex-girlfriend.

For me, Joyland was a quick read bringing simple pleasures. It wasn’t complicated. I read on simply to find out who killed Linda Grey, the poor ghostly girl in the Horror House. There is the obligatory red herring but King has a great knack for keeping those pages turning. The final showdown on the Ferris Wheel smacks of screenplay (I’m sure at this point it is being made into a movie?) and is indeed dramatic, but any tension was slightly lost due to the fact that we know Devin must survive to narrate the tale.

For me, the book was a little like candy floss you might eat at an amusement park – sweet and fun but not really very substantial. There were no shrieks of horror and no chills, but the process of reading it was pleasant enough. Joyland wouldn’t put me off reading more King (which is good as there are a few more in the 746) but it just left me wanting something more.

lavinia-portraitRIP92751

I read this as part of my RIP IX challenge, which seems a bit of a cheat as it wasn’t a particularly frightening read!

Are you a King fan? Have I been unduly harsh about Joyland? Which King books would you recommend for scares and thrills?

 

Read on: iBooks

Number Read: 49

Number Remaining: 697

Top Ten Tuesday – Books that are hard to read

top ten tuesday
This week’s Top Ten from The Broke and the Bookish is books that are hard to read. At first I tried to think of books I was unable to finish, but then I realised that some books I really, really love are hard to read, so this list is a mix of the two!

1. 2666 by Roberto Bolano
So, you’ve just given birth to twins. You’re looking for something to read between the endless feeds and nappy changes. What better than 2666, a 900 page monster of a novel about the rape and murder of women in Mexico, involving multiple plot digressions, stories within stories, and multiple characters? Was it hard because the book was hard to read? Or was it hard because I was a sleep-deprived, hormone-filled mess while reading it? Who knows? But I’m proud I got through it!

2. Tampa by Alissa Nutting
Anyone who remembers my review of Tampa will know that I am most certainly not a fan of this cold, badly written sensationalist story of a female paedophile. The click bait of books, it was all hype and no substance with sex scenes that were horrible to read. Plus, that cover……

3. The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
Anyone that can get through this elegant meditation on love, grief and survival without having to take a cry break (that’s an official term) every few pages is a stronger reader than me.

4. Happy Like Murderers by Gordon Burn
Gordon Burn is a great journalist/ author and I had loved some of his other work. I am still amazed that I managed to get through this incredibly detailed account of the lives of Fred & Rosemary West and there are some things I read in this book that I wish I could forget. It is not for the faint hearted, but is a true and necessary work for the victims and for an understanding of how monsters are made.

5. Rabbit Run by John Updike
Oh how I had been looking forward to reading John Updike and his classic Rabbit books. I imagined myself reading and loving the whole series, but after ploughing my way through this dull and meandering tale of ‘Rabbit’ Angstrom and his self-obsessed, juvenile inability to commit to his wife and daughter, I’d had enough. A book that I finished but wish I hadn’t.

6. House of Leaves by Mark Z Danielewski
First there is the form of this brilliant and frightening book – multiple typefaces, footnotes, collage, the insertion of photographs, sketches, a page of Braille, an index, hell at one point you need a mirror to read parts of the text. Then there is the story – essentially a haunted house story but unlike anything you have ever imagined. Reading this book takes serious effort, but it is worth it. And oh my, is it scary.

7. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
I got a lot of things out of my degree in English Literature, but a love for Middle English was not one of them. This was a set text in first year and almost made me question my choice of degree. Maybe I should try the translation by Simon Armitage to see if I can salvage something from this dull, incomprehensible poem.

8. Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace
I haven’t read it yet. That’s how hard it is. I’ve started it countless times. I’ve read those first 50 pages over and over, each time thinking, ‘yes, this time I’ll make it through’. But no. Infinite Jest is an elusive epic. I’ll have to try again as it is in the 746, so if anyone out there has made it through and can give me some pointers I will be eternally grateful.

9. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig
I read this when I was 24. I really don’t think there is any other time to read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Essentially the tale of a summer motorcycle trip undertaken by a father and his son, the book turns in to a philosophical odyssey into fundamental questions of how to be. I read about half of it in complete bafflement, then finally it all clicked and fell in to place for me. I can’t remember what clicked, or what fell in to place, but I loved it at the time.

10. It by Stephen King
I was 11. My Mum, Dad and I were going to Dublin for the weekend and staying in a B&B. I had insisted I was old enough for my own room. I brought ‘It’ to read. I ended up sleeping between my parents in their room due to the sheer terror that damn clown induced. I never did finish it and my parents never let me live that down!

So there we have it, my Top Ten books that were hard to read for one reason or another.

Have you read any of these? Loved or hated them more than me?

The R.I.P IX Reading Challenge

I love Autumn; it’s my favourite time of year. I love the back to school feel of it, the nip in the air. I’m too pale to be a summer kind of girl. Maybe that’s why the R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril Challenge over at Stainless Steel Droppings has caught my eye, the notion of welcoming autumn in by reading spooky books certainly appeals to my nature!

PicMonkey Collage

Never mind that I haven’t quite finished the 20 Books of Summer Challenge yet, we’ll get to that later in the week!

So, from 1 September through to 31 October, the challenge is to read books from the following genres:

Mystery
Suspense
Thriller
Dark Fantasy
Gothic
Horror
Supernatural

 

ripnineperilfirst

I’m planning to participate in Peril The First, where I read four books of this nature over the next two months. You can join the challenge at differing levels; you can even just watch spooky movies! Head on over and check it out to see if you’d like to join the fun. Or, more appropriately, join the fear!
I had a look through the remaining books from the 746 and have chosen to read these beauties:

1. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

2. Joyland by Stephen King

3. Your House is On Fire, Your Children All Gone by Stefan Kiesbye

4. The Corn Maiden and Other Nightmares by Joyce Carol Oates

Not exactly a barrel of laughs, right? But I’m really looking forward to getting the fire lit, curling up under a blanket and scaring myself silly!

Has anybody read any of these? Anybody brave enough to join me?!

Top Ten Tuesday – Friendship

 

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Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created over at The Broke and the Bookish and this week the theme is friendship. Once I’d written my list, I quickly realised that I haven’t exactly chosen books about friendships, rather I have chosen books which contain striking friendships. So, rather than do it all again, I hope you’ll indulge me!

 

1. Roseanne McNulty and Dr William Grene
From The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry
Roseanne McNulty, nearing 100 years old has been interred in a mental institution since she was a young woman. With the hospital facing closure, it is up to Dr William Grene to decide where Roseanne should go. In researching what brought her to this place, Dr Grene finds himself becoming more and more attached to his elderly charge and in tracing her unknowable past, shares his own losses and hurts. As they search for their own personal truths in this artfully constructed novel, they find their histories are more intertwined that could have been imagined and their friendship builds to a climax that is both heartrending and moving.

The world is not full of betrayers, it is full of people with decent motives and a full desire to do right by those who know them and love them. This is a little-known truth, but I think it is a truth nonetheless. Empirically, from all the years of my work, I would attest to that. I know it is a miraculous conclusion, but there it is. We like to make strangers of everyone. We are not wolves, but lambs astonished in the margins of the fields by sunlight and summer.

 

2. Owen Meany and John Wheelwright
From A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
During a baseball game in New Hampshire in 1953, one eleven year old boy – Owen Meany, hits a ball that kills his best friend’s mother in a freak accident. But Owen doesn’t believe in accidents and despite being severely undersized, with a voice defect, and tortured by his classmates, maintains a heart-warming and selfless friendship with the friend whose mother he killed and comes to command love, respect and fear before dying his predestined hero’s death.

It makes me ashamed to remember that I was angry with him for taking my armadillo’s claws. God knows, Owen gave me more than he ever took from me—even when you consider that he took my mother.

3. Tyler Durden and Narrator
From Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk
“It’s only after you’ve lost everything,” Tyler says, “that you’re free to do anything.”
What does a good friend do? Allow you to be your true self? Give you courage to make hard decisions? Let you make mistakes without prejudice? Then let’s face it, Tyler Durden is a pretty good friend to our insomniac unnamed Narrator in Fight Club. The imaginary friend writ large, Durden is the perfect creation, everything the narrator is not. Or so he believes….

 

I love everything about Tyler Durden, his courage and his smarts. His nerve. Tyler is funny and charming and forceful and independent, and men look up to him and expect him to change their world. Tyler is capable and free, and I am not.

 

4. Vladimir and Estragon
From Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett

When you think of Waiting for Godot, friendship doesn’t necessarily spring to mind. It’s a play of stagnation. Of waiting for that which won’t come, of the futility of that waiting and of our inability to escape it. But one important thing is, Didi and Gogo and waiting together. Their relationship is one of dependence and intertwinement and it is impossible to imagine these clowns without the other. This is a shared loneliness, and it is their friendship and its stark contrast to the relationship between Pozzo and Lucky that give the play its brief moments of hope, humour and warmth.

Estragon: [on one leg] I’ll never walk again.
Vladimir: [tenderly] I’ll carry you. [Pause.] If necessary

 

PicMonkey Collage

 

5. Emilia and Desdemona
From Othello by William Shakespeare
In Emilia and Desdemona, Shakespeare gives us one of the strongest depictions of a female friendship in all its dimension and death. Emilia is one of my favourite Shakespearean characters. Under the influence of her husband, she unwittingly brings about the downfall of Othello and Desdemona, but her courage and loyalty to her friend in her public unmasking of Iago brings a small measure of hope within the tragedy. Their friendship provides the necessary counterpoint to the hypocrisy and plotting of that between Iago and Othello and she remains a loyal, intelligent and forceful friend to the end, sacrificing her life so that Desdemona’s reputation can be restored.

I durst, my lord, to wager she is honest,
Lay down my soul at stake: if you think other,
Remove your thought; it doth abuse your bosom.
If any wretch have put this in your head,
Let heaven requite it with the serpent’s curse!
For, if she be not honest, chaste, and true,
There’s no man happy; the purest of their wives
Is foul as slander.

 

6. Mouse and Mary Ann
From the Tales of The City series by Armistead Maupin
When thinking about Tales of the City, a series of books that always makes me think of friendship, I considered including Anna Madrigal and any one of her charges. But Anna is the obvious choice. Michael Tolliver and Mary Ann Singleton are the odd couple, with Mary Ann functioning as the straight, uptight foil to the laid back unshakeable community who accepts everyone. Even her. The friendship between Mouse and Mary Ann survives lovers, murder, children, abandonment, stardom, AIDS and finally cancer. There is no question of not being there for one another, regardless of what has passed – what else should friends do?

 

It occurred to Michael, that this was the great perk of being loved: someone to tell you that it will get easier up ahead. … Even when it might not be true.

 

7. Michael Lamb (Fr Sebastian) and Owen Kane
From Lamb by Bernard MacLaverty
It’s hard to imagine that the story of a young disillusioned priest who runs off with a boy from his school would not touch on the theme of child abuse. But Lamb was written in 1981 and this wouldn’t have seemed as odd an omission over 30 years ago. Regardless, it doesn’t feature in this heartbreaking story of Michael Lamb who runs from the school he teaches in and takes with him a 12 year old boy he has befriended who has severe epilepsy in the hope that they can both find better lives. Michael is hoping to save Owen and in doing so, save himself, but the outside world inevitably closes in and Michael’s solution is bleak and uncompromising, but driven solely by his love for Owen.

It was motivated by love. It would be a pure. Of this he was sure.

 

8. Cathy and Heathcliff
From Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

It may seem strange to include Cathy and Heathcliff in this list, given they are often seen as the most romantic of doomed lovers. A lot of that perception has to do with the film versions, which show them as adults. In fact, in the book, they are inseparable friends from the age of 6 and Catherine is a mere 15 when she decides to marry Edgar with the immature request that he allow her and Heathcliff to continue as they have for most of their lives. ‘Well, if I cannot keep Heathcliff for my friend––if Edgar will be mean and jealous, I’ll try to break their hearts by breaking my own’ No one understands them the way they understand each other to the point that Catherine sees them as being one person and that person cannot be denied.

My love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks beneath: a source of little visible delight, but necessary. Nelly, I AM Heathcliff! He’s always, always in my mind: not as a pleasure, any more than I am always a pleasure to myself, but as my own being.

 

9. Richard, Henry, Francis, Charles and Camilla
From The Secret History by Donna Tartt
The Secret History is probably not the best example of friendship as it exists to nurture and create a loving environment. This is the dark side of close friendship, where a lack of boundaries, too much information and a tendency to bully can have far reaching and dangerous consequences. Henry, Richard, Francis, Charles and Camilla support, help and lie for one another, trapped in a cold complicity, Theirs is undoubtedly a friendship, but one with sinister and disturbing ends.

The idea of living there, of not having to go back ever again to asphalt and shopping malls and modular furniture; of living there with Charles and Camilla and Henry and Francis and maybe even Bunny; of no one marrying or going home or getting a job in a town a thousand miles away or doing any of the traitorous things friends do after college; of everything remaining exactly as it was, that instant – the idea was so truly heavenly that I’m not sure I thought, even then, it could ever really happen, but I like to believe I did.

 

10. Chris and Gordie
From The Body by Stephen King
I read The Body after falling in love with the movie version Stand By Me back in the 1980’s. Both seem to capture perfectly that precarious moment between childhood and adulthood when you are trying to hold on to one whilst simultaneously reaching for the other. The boys banter and ribbing give way to a lovely, nurturing friendship where Chris and Gordie buoy each other u and become each other’s support systems in place of family. It’s a friendship told through rose tinted glasses to be sure, but it’s an unforgettable one.

We were clinging to each other in deep water. I’ve explained about Chris, I think: my reasons for clinging to him were less definable. His desire to get away from Castle Rock and out of the mill’s shadow seemed to me to be my best part, and I could not just leave him to sink or swim on his own. If he had drowned, that part of me would have drowned with him, I think.

So, who are your favourite friendships in literature? Any particularly great ones I’ve overlooked? Do let me know what you think.