I’ve discovered a new found love for a ‘Top Ten’ post and so next up are my top ten must-reads.
I was really behind when learning to read and you wouldn’t know that now – when I have the time I can read multiple books A DAY and I used to be that person who took twenty books for a week abroad. Always the bitch lugging a mega heavy suitcase…
I find these days I have to really be in the mood for a good book but I’d take an evening curled up in bed reading than watching a film.
So, my top ten must-reads…
1. Rosamunde Pilcher – Coming Home
I first read this epic saga set in Cornwall when I was 14; after watching the TV mini series staring Joanna Lumley. I’m currently on my fourth copy – I’ve read it so many times they tend not to survive the bath and my handbag… We meet Judith, a young teenager left behind at boarding school in the 1930s while her family move to Ceylon and it follows her life through the Second World War and beyond. The description in this book is phenomenal – you could close your eyes and be laying on a Cornish beach.
2. Jennifer Worth – Call the Midwife
I read this book a few years before the TV programme and loved it; I’m a bit of a history geek and I loved the detail about the post-war East End and the stories of a young midwife called Jenny Lee. I loved the first three books but I wasn’t keen on the last one about death. Well worth a read if you haven’t read them.
3. Julia Gregson – East of the Sun
Another airport buy years ago, East of the Sun tells the story of two girls who arrive in India in the last days of the British Empire and the different paths they follow. I don’t want to give too much away but again the detail in this book is fab and you can totally lose yourself in it.
4. Arthur Ransom – Swallows & Amazons
This was the first ‘big book’ I was bought and I still have the copy I was given that birthday. Swallows & Amazons tells the story of four siblings who sail their boat(the Swallow) to an island in the Lake District one summer and the adventures they have. It is total childhood innocence at it’s best, a proper old school adventure story and I couldn’t have been without this book growing up. I can build a tent using two trees and a tablecloth because of Mr Ransome…
5. Enid Blyton – The Adventurous Four
I couldn’t mention adventure stories without including the wonder Enid Blyton; I’ve read so many of her books and I’ve loved them all my whole life. Age 32 I still read them regularly and along with The Famous Five and The Children of Cherry Tree Farm this book was my absolute favourite.
6. Horrible Histories
I’m not alone in remembering how dreary it was to be dragged around the local garden centre every weekend; I hated the boredom of those places… they started selling books and once a week from £1 my treat was a book from the Horrible Histories series. I learnt so much from these books it’s unbelievable! The one about the Second World War and The Terrible Tudors were my absolute faves. And yes, I still have the copies I got all those years ago!
7. Louise Rennison – Angus, thongs and full frontal snogging
Okay, so it’s hardly Dickens but I’m the proud owner of a First Edition copy which I bought at Gatwick Airport just after this book was released. I found it really funny as a teenager and I still re-read it now.
8. Anne Frank – The Diary of a Young Girl
I’ve read a lot of books about the Holocaust and I don’t think I will ever not be moved by the goings on; the story of Anne Frank and her family is well known and it’s a little known fact that the full unedited version is now available, which includes more personal detail about Anne and her views on puberty and her sexuality. Now this doesn’t have much of a bearing on what happened but these additional details really enhance the story and give a raw and adolescent edge that is an absolute must-read.
9. Pamela Brown – The Swish of the Curtain
Found this in a book shop years ago and was devastated when it fell apart as it was out of print. A few years back this and the other books in the series were reprinted and although old fashioned they are a lovely read. It tells of a group of children who discover an abandoned church and decide to use it as a theatre, and the series of books talks about them as they grow and the paths they take. I believe they were first published in the 1930s so they are very old fashioned but they are a charming read.
10. Victoria Hislop – The Island
Now choosing my favourite from this list is like asking someone to pick their favourite child BUT this book is something else. We went on holiday to Crete when I was 8 years old and took a day trip to a former leper colony called Spinalonga. I won’t spoil it but this book is based around Spinalonga and various people involved with it and it is AMAZING. Even now I can pick it up and visualise the places the author talks of perfectly. For me, a well written book creates the atmosphere and scenery in your mind and takes you there – like you are in the story and this book does just that.
What are your must-reads? Please share, I need some new books to read!