Favourite Fiction Book
I’m including 2 days in one again because I find Day 27’s favourite fiction book obsolete. If your favourite book ever, happens to be a novel like Hound of the Baskervilles, then it stands to reason that it would also be your favourite fiction book.
DAY 26 – Favourite Non-fiction book
Now here’s something you might not know about me. There was a stage in my life when I barely read any fictional novels. It wasn’t out of choice, I just seemed to be drawn to non-fiction books. Any book dealing with unsolved mysteries, history and legends was my weakness. I still have this inclination but it’s only in the last 3 years, ever since I started writing, that I rediscovered the joys of fiction books. I still prowl the history and esoteric sections of the library and bookstores however, so therefore choosing a favourite work of non-fiction is a bit of a challenge for me.
Holy Blood and Holy Grail by Baigent, Lincoln and Leigh is a book I quite enjoyed but it is somewhat erudite and tedious and I sometimes found it difficult to follow the authors’ arguments. I absolutely loved The Ghost Map by Steven Johnson. It’s about the cholera epidemic in London in 1854 and is a very exciting and well-written book.
There are many others I enjoyed, including all those Reader’s Digest’s coffee table-type books- Facts and Fallacies, Great Mysteries of the Past etc. But if I am absolutely forced to choose a winner here, then I’m going with The Complete Jack the Ripper by Donald Rumbelow. I base my choice on my belief that it is the book with the least flaws in terms of dispensing of information.
It seems pretty evident that nobody knows more about the famous murders than Rumbelow. Every single person ever considered as a suspect (and there were many of them) is mentioned in his book and each suspect’s case is carefully considered and argued brilliantly. Ironically the one problem with Rumbelow’s work happens to be the one thing that also sets it apart from the other Ripper books. He makes no real effort to provide his take on the mystery whereas all the other books always seem in favour of at least one suspect. He keeps absolutely mum about his own suspicions which can be a difficult thing to do for a non-fiction writer. He lays out the suspects before you as if in a line-up (he does however place slightly more emphasis on the more popular candidates) and traces each one’s movements during the time of each killing.
Rumbelow’s aim is clearly for you to make up your own mind but in the end you are left more confused as to the Ripper’s identity than ever before. Maybe the brilliance of this book lies in this fact, which is probably why I love it so much. Too often you find the thoughts and opinions of an author filtering through what is supposed to be an objective piece of work.
There is another reason I love this book. If you’re a fan of Victorian Literature like me (especially Dickens), you will find Rumbelow’s mouthwatering depiction of London in 1888 to die for! Trust me, if you read it, you’ll be tempted to write a Victorian murder mystery. Sometimes the best stories for inspiration really are the true life ones!