Neil Gaiman said: “Picking five favourite books is like picking
the five body parts you’d most like not to lose.”
But go on…pick yours and then tell me in the comments below…
I’ll tell you mine:
I adore anything written by Garth Nix, from his surreal fantasy ‘Keys to the Kingdom’ series to the futuristic urban wasteland of ‘Shade’s Children’ and then to the most enchanting and lyrical ‘Old Kingdom’ series. ‘Lirael’ is the second book in the latter. I was hooked by ‘Sabriel’ and then completely fell in love with ‘Lirael’. Just recently Nix added a fourth book to the ‘Abhorsen’ set with ‘Clariel’ and I can’t wait to have some spare time to settle and immerse myself back within the Old Kingdom. Absolutely beautifully drawn characters in a quite bewitching world…
‘The Lord of the Rings’
‘The Hobbit’ has always been one of my favourite childhood books, but if I had to pick it would be ‘The Lord of the Rings’, including all the appendices! I’m a bit of a Tolkien nerd, relishing ‘Roverandom’ and ‘Tree and Leaf’. If I could find the entire Tolkien set within one compendium, or at least ‘The Silmarillion’, ‘The Hobbit’ and ‘The Lord of the Rings’, I’d take the lot to my mountain retreat! I always fancied myself as Eowyn, and her love story with Faramir ‘…and he took her in his arms and kissed her under the sunlit sky and he cared not that they stood high upon the walls in the sight of many.’ just feeds the romance of my soul. Yes, I could disappear into the mountains of Rivendell…
‘The Dark is Rising Sequence’
This set of books by Susan Cooper was introduced by my middle school teacher, Mr Ian Lawrence, who read us ‘Over Sea, Under Stone’ and I loved the mystery and magical tones of Arthurian legend. A few years later I rediscovered the book and read the entire series of interlocking adventures set in both Cornwall and Wales and the Thames Valley. You’ll find ‘Over Sea, Under Stone’, ‘The Dark is Rising’, ‘Greenwitch’, ‘The Grey King’ and ‘Silver on the Tree’ in the sequence. If you want to read one of the most absorbing fantasies out there, give this a go (but don’t bother watching the movie…so disappointing). This is one of the books that encouraged me to write, and when you have an inspiring teacher like I did (and Mr Jeremy Dale in High School) you can’t go wrong.
A few years ago I read ‘Stargirl’ a book by Jerry Spinelli which was so unusual and curious I bought ‘Loser’ on the back of it. ‘Loser’ is one of those short and sweet books, but ultimately so beautiful you’ll want to go back to it. I read this in one sitting and I didn’t want it to end. Spinelli’s writing is honest, simple and a thing of beauty. It’s all about how not fitting in is fine, in fact more than fine it might just lead to something spectacular! It’s a book about heroes. Zinkoff doesn’t recognise failure, it’s just not in his vocabulary and he lives his life with wonder. When you finally read about that winter night, you’ll shiver and weep, but you’ll come out a better person.
This book was on my TBR list for years before I picked it up on my Kindle to read for a bookclub. I was blown away by a dystopian world and a twist so cleverly written that I read it from cover to cover in two days. Finding myself greatly affected by its sheer beauty I immediately read the entire quartet ‘The Giver’, ‘Gathering Blue’, ‘Messenger’ and ‘Son’. Lowry’s worlds were disturbing, but so beautifully written that I was lost amongst her words and later the devastating consequences within the books. I loved that the series of books dealt with small things, and although larger issues are behind everything, the stories are small, individual and triumphant. It echoes the small glories we see in our own lives. I unreservedly loved these books.
So, I may have cheated a little with some books that have been published within a single volume, but that’s a good thing, so much more to take with me and read!
And, as promised in this blog post title, I give you a sixth…and for me it’s ‘What I Was’.
Meg Rosoff’s ‘What I Was’, again, has a killer twist and is one that threw me right off track. The emotion hits you right from the start and you are drawn into a tale from which you cannot escape, exactly like its protagonist when he meets Finn…
So, tell me…what would you choose?
What books do it for you?
And what books would you take to your mountain retreat?
C’mon, it’s not like I’m asking which body part you’d most like not to lose…