Books. They’re an escape. They’re magic. They’re suffering. They’re heartbreak. They’re friendship. They’re love. They’re stories. They’re that feeling when you love a book so much that you clutch it to your chest and wonder: how can people not love reading?
Me, I’m a fiction girl. I’ve been reading since before I can remember doing it. I grew up on Winnie the Pooh and Roald Dahl and The Babysitter’s Club and Jacqueline Wilson. I grew up loving reading, having books read to me when I couldn’t read myself, Kipper and The Very Hungry Caterpillar and We’re Going on a Bear Hunt( a bear hunt, a bear hunt) and every fairy tale under the sun and the sky and the stars.
I was dubbed ‘Best Reader’ at primary school and always received books at Christmas and birthdays (I still do). Reading is integral to my existence, I couldn’t live without reading and I wouldn’t ever want to. And I never know how to put into words how good it is when people say they don’t read. When they said they’ve never read a book in their life or that they’ve never seen Harry Potter (‘They’re books!’ I always retort).
And of course I understand that people love different things. I will never understand the fascination over sport for example. But I feel like saying you don’t read at all is like saying you don’t watch movies at all or watch telly at all. It’s a cornerstone of entertainment, before moving pictures on a screen were even a thing. There has always been stories, fables passed down through generations.
There’s always been magic and make believe and words trussed up together so beautifully that you take a moment to pause over the magnificence of phrasing. And it’s all sitting right there, contained within a few hundred pages, a paper tome of goodness just waiting for your perusal.
There’s just so many to choose from, so many genres, so many talented authors, so many books. You can sink into history or fly into the future, you can stroll through the present or zoom amongst the heavens. You can go to Hogwarts or Narnia or Mordor, or you can be right in your own city, in someone else’s version of the world.
I’ve never been in love but I’ve fallen in love with stories over and over again throughout the years. When people ask me for recommendations I need them to refine, so I can to go through the lexicon I have of the books I’ve read, to even know where to start. But then there are the books which I recommend to whomever I can, the ones that own my heart and stayed around in my memory. I’ve read hundreds of books over the years (for certain over a thousand), you forget the name and plot of most but the majestic, wondrous ones stick around.
So if you’ve not begun yet down the path of reading or you just want something new (for real, ask me for recommendations of anything I have endless lists to throw around), here are just some of the books I love more than most:
This one is a no-brainer. The most popular book series of all time and for good reason. Most people have read this but if you haven’t, go forth and read! Still my most favourite books of all time.
When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
Written by a neurosurgeon who receives the diagnosis of Stage 4 lung cancer, this is beautifully written, thought provoking and heart-wrenching. I wept. A lot.
The One Plus One by JoJo Moyes
Moyes is mostly known for Me Before You(also a magnificent book) but I’ve always preferred it’s successor. The One Plus One is a story of how single mum Jess and her kids go on a road trip to get her daughter to a math’s contest. It’s simple but glorious. It’s so easy to read, in a way that makes you feel like you aren’t reading at all. It’s full of sunshine and gives you hope and I love it.
The Time Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
Just a really really brilliant book. Original and compelling and rich.
The Unfinished Symphony of You and Me by Lucy Robinson
This needs more recognition. A story of Sally, who made a promise to her cousin to pursue her dream of being an opera singer. A great heroine, a marvellous love story with the pinch of allure that music brings.
So there you go, just a selection before I give you a Top 100 best reads of my life. Books, they’re the best, you should read them.