Happy World Book Day! 2017 is an extra special year, as it’s the 20th anniversary of the day dedicated to the excitement of reading.
I’ve always loved books. I was that child who was constantly reading. At night, I used to wait until Mum and Dad went downstairs then sit by my door so I could read from the light in the hall (sorry if this is a surprise but I’m sure I wasn’t as sly as I thought I was). I read anything and everything. Some of my earliest memories are going to the library with my granda and him taking books out on his card for me. Now, whilst I don’t have as much time for reading as I would like I rarely go anywhere without my kindle and try to squeeze reading time in whenever I can.
I love World Book Day and that it exists, because reading has been such a huge and formative part of my life and it’s wonderful to see its importance being celebrated! I thought I’d share a few of my favourite books to mark the occasion. Here they are, in no particular order at all.
Anne of Green Gables, L. M. Montgomery
I first read this when I was 11 and we were on holiday in Canada. I can remember the bookshop in Niagara on the Lake where I bought it. It absolutely enchanted me. I loved Anne because as well as being clever and kind, she is very honest and a bit of a dreamer.
Memoirs of a Geisha, Arthur Nolan
It’s been a while since I’ve read this, and I know this has been challenged for the historical accuracy of its portrayal of geisha life. I read this over and over again as a teenager. Whilst the author has definitely taken some dramatic liberties, it’s a look into a totally different and very intriguing culture.
The Book Thief, Markus Zusak
Oh my goodness, if you only read one book this year this is the one to pick. I can remember finishing this for the first time on holiday and just thinking ‘well what do I read now?’. It’s narrated by Death but it’s not grim, it’s clever and it’s absolutely beautiful. I really don’t want to give too much away if you haven’t read it so I’ll just tell you that it is well worth your time. Also, I would recommend having the tissues handy for the ending- it absolutely broke my heart.
The Help, Kathryn Stockett
This story is about black maids in 1960s Mississippi and is told through the voices of three female protagonists. It’s one of my favourites because of how Kathryn Stockett develops the relationships between the women. It’s a serious and often heavy subject matter, but somehow it still manages to be funny and warm.
A Thousand Splendid Suns, Khaled Hosseini
This took me a few tries to get into, but it’s one of the best books I’ve ever read and one that has really stuck with me. Set in Kabul, it follows the protagonist from the 1960s to early 2000s. It’s can be quite brutal, but it’s ultimately about the human spirit, mothers and daughters and love. Again, I don’t want to spoil anything but this book made me learn and question and that’s always a good thing. I think Khaled Hosseini writes so well and I am always left shocked by the turn of events. I suppose it’s one of my favourites for the same reason I reread Memoirs of a Geisha over and over again, and the same reason I love The Help- it’s about women, their position societally and their relationships with each other. It’s one that I read then immediately wanted to discuss too!
11.22.63, Stephen King
This book was recommended by my friend Becca (who always gives wonderful book recommendations!) and it is very long, but very exciting! When I finished it I actually immediately bought copies for my dad and my boyfriend to try to make them read it too. It explores the possibility of someone going back in time to stop the assassination of JFK. It really makes you think about time and the consequences of every little decision you make. What if I had waited ten more minutes? What if I hadn’t been there at that exact moment in time? It’s brilliant.
The Red Notebook, Antoine Laurain
You know when you finish a book and it just feels special? I think The Red Notebook was a recommendation from my mum. It’s set in Paris and (quite literally) follows a bookshop owner who finds a woman’s handbag and tries to find out who the owner is from the notes and drawings in her red moleskine notebook. There’s a little bit of mystery, a little bit of romance. It’s quite unique, short, uplifting and makes me smile.
Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling
Well, I couldn’t not include Harry Potter. I was absolutely obsessed when I was younger (and to be honest I still am, there’s just less new content for me to obsess over!). I can recite the first lines of the Philosopher’s Stone, I’ve read and reread the series multiple times, I’ve even joined an online Harry Potter themed running club! I starting reading the series when I was 7 and I think that they not only made me a better reader but fuelled my love of reading, as they did for so many others. They also helped me through a lot, in my multiple rereadings. I used to have a Dumbledore quote up on my wall, “Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” I still think about that particular quote quite often actually, when I’m particularly anxious, to remind myself that I have a choice in how I feel. The books are just simply magical and I feel very lucky to have grown up with them!
What are your favourite books? Do you love any of my favourites too? Let me know, and happy reading!