As part of Booktober, one of the books I’ve been reading is Us by David Nicholls. We asked David the following question: if he were only allowed to own three books, which three would he pick? Here are his choices…
The first would be a Dickens – if not a single volume complete works then ‘Bleak House’, his masterpiece, a great, brilliant, rich and endlessly complex novel that’s also endlessly moving.
The story is told partly by the novel’s heroine, Esther Summerson, and partly by an omniscient narrator. Memorable characters include haughty Lady Honoria Dedlock, the menacing lawyer Tulkinghorn, the realistic John Jarndyce, and the childish and disingenuous Harold Skimpole, as well as the imprudent Richard Carstone. At the novel’s centre is long-running litigation Jarndyce and Jarndyce, which has far-reaching consequences for all involved. This case revolves around a testator who apparently made several wills. Dickens’ satirization of the English judicial system is based in part on his own experiences as a law clerk, and in part on his experiences as a litigant seeking to enforce copyright on his earlier books.
Secondly, I’d probably go for Shakespeare’s complete works, including the sonnets.
Finally, Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy, simply because I’ve never read it and always pretend that I have.
Anna Karenina seems to have everything – beauty, wealth, popularity and an adored son. But she feels that her life is empty until the moment she encounters
the impetuous officer Count Vronsky. Their subsequent affair scandalizes society and family alike, and soon brings jealousy and bitterness in its wake. Contrasting with this tale of love and self-destruction is the vividly observed story of Konstantin Levin, a man striving to find contentment and meaning to his life – and also a self-portrait of Tolstoy himself.
About Us by David Nicholls.
Douglas Petersen understands his wife’s need to ‘rediscover herself’ now that their son is leaving home.
He just thought they’d be doing their rediscovering together.
So when Connie announces that she will be leaving, too, he resolves to make their last family holiday into the trip of a lifetime: one that will draw the three of them closer, and win the respect of his son. One that will make Connie fall in love with him all over again.
The hotels are booked, the tickets bought, the itinerary planned and printed.
What could possibly go wrong?
(US is available to buy now in most major UK bookshops and online where sold.)
For more information about David and his books, visit his website: http://www.davidnichollswriter.com
Novel Kicks is a blog for story tellers and book lovers.