Ailurophile? Nope. More of a dog person. Vampires? Sneer accompanied by eye roll. Religious? I read the Bible many years ago as a New Year’s resolution. Does that count? A person really starts to question how well they know themselves when putting a list like this together. But that’s what a good book does. It surprises.
My Favourite Reads: Donna Horvath
Donna Horvath is Head of Systems and SEO at The National
The Cat in the Hat by Dr Seuss (1957)
This is one of the first books I remember reading. The one that sparked my desire to pick up the next book and the next. Seuss’s last book was Oh, the Places You’ll Go! These children’s classics, of which there are more than 40, thrust a girl from the Canadian prairies farther and farther into the world, literally and figuratively, including my current home in Abu Dhabi. Thank you, Dr Seuss.
Not Wanted on the Voyage by Timothy Findley (1984)
Findley irreverently reimagines the Bible story of Noah and the Great Flood. The tale is narrated by a beleaguered cat. Beyond the expected animal pairings, the ship’s manifest also includes a she-devil named Lucy, a unicorn, an ovine choir and a nascent suffragette movement The pious and prudes need not come aboard.
The Passage Trilogy by Justin Cronin (2010, 2012, 2016)
I couldn’t find words befitting this dystopian masterpiece, so I leave it to someone who knows a bit about the genre, Stephen King: “One of the great achievements in American fantasy fiction.” There is an apocalypse and there are vampires. There are The Twelve and a saviour named Amy. It’s about love and survival in a dangerous time. Let’s say a few millennia.
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (2014)
Doerr sidesteps the battlefields and brings the depredations of the Second World War to life through the eyes of a blind French girl and a German orphan conscripted into Hitler’s army. If the essence of great fiction is uncluttered writing, this Pulitzer Prize winner is a masterclass. Short sentences and short chapters that linger long after the reading.
Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team, and a Dream by H G Bissinger (1990)
Hailed as the best book ever written about American football, it follows the championship season of a high-school team in 1980s small-town Texas. It inspired an award-winning TV series that ran for five years. The boom and bust of oil, racism and the elusive American Dream are backdrops to the central story.