Thursday, August 4, 2011

Top ten books to read aloud

Mal Peet is an author of young adult fiction. His second novel, Tamar, won the Carnegie medal, and his fourth, Exposure, won the Guardian children's fiction prize. His latest novel, Life: An Exploded Diagram, is now available in the UK.

For the Guardian, Peet named a top ten list of books that his children liked to have read to them and he liked reading.

One title on the list:
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

We used the Gollancz edition with the beautiful illustrations – paintings, actually – by NC Wyeth. On the first reading I overdid the "Oooh-arr me hearties" piratical voice, on the grounds that if you can't camp things up reading to your children at bedtime there's no point going on. Then I realised that Long John was much more sinister, or sinisterly sympathetic, if you tone him down; if you make him almost kindly. This is another classic that has become overfamiliar in other media; the original is rather rich in moral ambiguities, and sometimes discussions of these took us dangerously close to the Ten O'Clock News.
Read about the other books on the list.

Treasure Island also appears on John Mullan's list of ten of the best pirates in fiction and among Philip Pullman's six best books and Eoin Colfer's six favorite books.

--Marshal Zeringue