If you’ve read any of my previous posts you’ll probably have already deduced that I am a HUGE bookworm! A perfect day for me would be sitting on top of a hill in the lake district, on a picnic blanket with homemade lemonade and chocolate covered strawberries reading a good book.
Books for me are insanely special. Firstly, they remind me so much of my childhood, which I shared with a mother who has loved literature since she was young. Secondly, I think books help with imagination, as from my love of books has come my love of creative writing. Thirdly, I think books are immortal, stories and authors become immortal through their words being read for generations to come. Look at Shakespeare: his words are spoken everyday in theatres, film sets and schools. Books to me connote comfort and safety, they are something you can revisit and re-read the stories and characters you love.
So here are my top 10 recommended books!
- Ballet Shoes – So this is probably my favourite book! I just love the story – it’s one I could read over and over again! The book centers around 3 sisters Pauline, Petrova and Posy Fossil who all have gifts and talents. Pauline as an actress, the youngest Posy as a ballet dancer and Petrova doesn’t really fit into the world of performance, and in her more tomboyish tendencies, she wants to fly an aeroplane. The book is a coming of age story about how the three girls achieve their dreams and the problems they encounter along the way. This book reminds me of my childhood, and that’s why I love it so much.
“It was all very well to be ambitious, but ambition should not kill the nice qualities in you.”
- Animal Farm – This short novel by George Orwell is clever and engaging. George Orwell challenges social morals and institutions through storytelling with a clever parallel between a farm and the Russian revolution. In short, it is a story about communism and social responsibility. Sounds boring right? But using the metaphor of the farm, the story feels light and entertaining even though it has an intellectual undercurrent. I’ve read this book about five times ranging from when I was about 10 to last year, when I was 10 it was merely a story about a dictatorial pig but the political meaning behind the book became more of a forefront as I got older. That’s why I love this book each time I read it I notice something new.
“All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”
- Little Women – So this is a classic, for me this book is an incredible story and (SPOILER ALERT) you must be heartless if you don’t cry your eyes out when Beth dies! This book is also one of the few times I will say that the film does the book justice. Winona Ryder as Joe is hands down her best role! The thing I love about this book is the ending, it’s the perfect ending, everyone sort of gets what they need/want, and the good people find morals and the life that’s best for them.
“You don’t need scores of suitors. You need only one… if he’s the right one.”
- Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen, need I say anything more. The book is a work of art, that is going to continue to be read for hundreds of generations. The love story between Mr Darcy and Lizzie Bennett is one that has stood the test of time and has to be maybe the most acclaimed love story of all time. This book for me is a happy childhood memory as me and my mum spent hours of watching Colin Firth in the BBC 8-hour adaption of the book.
“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.”
- Alice in Wonderland – A childhood favourite and amazing story. I love this book as it’s a real childhood classic which takes me back to the days when I’d read under the covers with a torch. Alice in wonderland is a fantasy novel set in a make believe world called wonderland with classic characters like the white rabbit, mad hatter and red queen. I also love the 2010 movie which stars Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham carter.
“Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
- To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee’s masterpiece set in the Deep South challenges racism. The book follows the life of Scout, a lawyer’s daughter. The story centers around a rape trial where a black man is accused of raping a white woman, and Scout’s dad, Atticus, is representing the black defendant. The story is told through Scout’s child eyes as she sees the injustice surrounding her and her family’s lives.
“Mockingbirds don’t do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corncribs, they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.”
- Everything, Everything – This is a very recent book only being published in 2015, with a movie being brought out in 2017 featuring the gorgeous Nick Robinson as Olly. The book centres around Maddy who is unable to leave her house due to an illness that means she’s basically allergic to everything. Then she falls for the boy next door. I’m not going to spoil this one, but I am going to say I watched the film then read the book and I was shocked because the endings were totally DIFFERENT! If you’ve seen the film you HAVE to read the book because I nearly had a meltdown at the original ending.
“Maybe we can’t predict everything, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster”
- 13 reasons why – Ok so again, like Everything, Everything, I watched the Netflix series before reading the book which is a big mistake! Always read the book first! Anyway I read the book because I got insanely hooked on the Netflix series and full-on binge watched it for three days straight, especially the last couple of episodes. All I’ve got to say is it’s such an important message and I think is a pretty eye opening story and an important one. For me the book is a must read as an addendum to the series.
“I hope you’re ready, because I’m about to tell you the story of my life. More specifically, why my life ended. And if you’re listening to these tapes, you’re one of the reasons why.”
- The Secret Garden – Ok, so another childhood favourite. This book for me is beautiful, as an unloved child is sent away to her uncle after her parents died. She finds love in a garden which brings her peace and shows her how to care and love. The girl influences and changes the lives of everyone around her bringing love back to a dying Misselthwaite Manor.
“And the secret garden bloomed and bloomed and every morning revealed new miracles.”
- The Longest Ride – Had to get Nicholas Sparks on the list! I love his books and by now I’ve read the majority, but I have to probably say The Longest Ride is my favourite. And again, I’ve seen the film, and I’m sorry, but it has nothing on the book. I cried like a child throughout this book. The story parallels two couple one in present day and one during (and after) the Second World War. The story throughout the war is stunning and Ira has an unending love for his wife which Nicholas Sparks illustrates beautifully. Sophie and Luke, the modern day couple, are young people from different worlds just trying to be together with the help of Ira’s love stories of his deceased wife.
“If we’d never met, I think I would have known my life wasn’t complete. And I would have wandered the world in search of you, even if I didn’t know who I was looking for.”
Currently reading – Anna Karenina
So currently I am in the middle of an incredible book, Anna Karenina, set in Russia, it’s the story of a married woman in an affair with a dashing officer. This book centres around the crème da la crème of Russian society and how Anna deals with being at the centre of it with other longings for Count Vronsky. I have not yet finished but everything seems to have gone a bit wrong and it’s all very dramatic but already without reaching the end, which I’m hoping will be unbearably tragic, I’d recommend this book without hesitation.
“He stepped down, trying not to look long at her, as if she were the sun, yet he saw her, like the sun, even without looking.”
On my list
I’ve still got to read these so I’m not going to give a synopsis but leave you with a few quotes to hopefully get you hooked and excited to read them like me.
- Vanity fair – “Revenge may be wicked, but it’s natural.”
- Breakfast at Tiffany’s – “What I found does the most good is just to get into a taxi and go to Tiffany’s. It calms me down right away, the quietness and the proud look of it; nothing very bad could happen to you there.”
- The Chronicles of Narnia – “They call him Aslan in That Place,” said Eustace.
- The Picture of Dorian Grey – “Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.”
- The Divergent series – “Becoming fearless isn’t the point. That’s impossible. It’s learning how to control your fear, and how to be free from it.”
- The Book Thief – “Like most misery, it started with apparent happiness.”
- A Wrinkle in Time – “We can’t take any credit for our talents. It’s how we use them that counts.”
- Madame Bovary – “Love, she thought, must come suddenly, with great outbursts and lightnings, –a hurricane of the skies, which falls upon life, revolutionises it, roots up the will like a leaf, and sweeps the whole heart into the abyss.”
- The Count of Monte Cristo – “It’s necessary to have wished for death in order to know how good it is to live.”
- The Other Boleyn girl – You can smile when your heart is breaking because you’re a woman.”
So I hope I’ve interested you in reading either a book I’ve recommended or one I need to read myself. I’m going to get back to reading now!