Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. Each Tuesday, a new list is posted.
Today’s list is jobs I wish I had. I’ve gone more for jobs I find interesting or are in some way integral to the plot.
- Complicity – Iain Banks (1993) – Job: Journalist. How far would you go to get the scoop of a lifetime? How responsible is a journalist for the trouble caused by the stories he writes? This twisty thriller analyses these questions. (See also Quite Ugly One Morning – Christopher Brookmyre)
- The Noise of Time – Julian Barnes (2016) – Job: Musician. An unconventional fictionalised biography of the musician, Dmitri Shostakovich set around three key events in his life. It looks at the effects of totalitarianism on creativity and is one of my favourites of Barnes’ novels. (See also Espedair Street by Iain Banks)
- Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? – Henry Farrell (1960) – Job: Actor. A bit of a potboiler, this one but great nonetheless. It’s impossible to read without imagining Bette Davis and Joan Crawford but it’s none the worse for that. Ridiculously enjoyable. (see also – The Understudy by David Nicholls)
- A Disaffection – James Kelman (1989) – Job: teacher. Okay so this is my job so not especially interesting as such but it does sum up nicely some of the issues with the educational process. It also contains one of my favourite openings – ‘Patrick Doyle was a teacher. Gradually he had become sickened by it.’ (See also – The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Sparks)
- The Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern (2011) Job: Magician. I love a bit of magic realism and this book of two duelling magicians supplies it in spades. It’s not fast paced by any stretch but beautifully written and compelling just the same. (See also Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susannah Clarke)
- Mort and Reaper Man – Terry Pratchett (1987 and 1991) Job: Death. Not an obvious job maybe but Mort is death’s apprentice and in Reaper Man Death is sort of retired so it would seem to count. Also, Death is easily my favourite Pratchett character with his attempts to understand humanity and his horse called Binky. (See also – The Book Thief by Markus Zusak)
- Rebus Series – Ian Rankin 1978-date) Job: Policeman. I love John Rebus. He is a policeman who does not see the harm in breaking the rules if necessary. He has his own personal morality that often does not match that of his superiors. Definitely my favourite cop series. (See also Shetland books by Ann Cleeves, Jackson Brodie series by Kate Atkinson.)
- The Interpretation of Murder – Jed Rubenfeld (2006) Job: psychoanalyst. Based around Freud’s first trip to America in 1909, this is a murder mystery with a psychoanalyst for a detective. Lots of Freudian analysis obviously. Clever and satisfying.
- Perfume: The Story of a Murderer – Patrick Suskind (1985) Job: perfumer. Baptiste Grenouille is born with an astonishing sense of smell. He is apprenticed to a perfumer and learns the tricks of the trade but he wants more than that and starts to try to pin down the smells of everyday Paris. This builds to one of the most dramatic conclusions of any novel I’ve read.
- Barracuda – Christos Tsiolkas (2013) Job: Swimmer. Daniel Kelly is training to be on Australia’s national swimming team. He is very good but his sense of shame at being working class and being gay cause him to lose the thing he wants the most.