A lifetime of books

A while ago there was a Facebook challenge going around requiring friends to nominate each other to list their top 10 favourite books. I fully embraced this, having always loved reading, therefore having to amend it slightly heavily so that I could categorise series by their author and also include all the extra books that have remained in my memory without having to study my bookshelves or consult “the world’s top 100 books” for reference.

I have tried to cover as much of my life as possible, not just focusing on the few classics that will pretentiously make me look like I’m well read (because realistically, I really enjoyed teenage fiction as a teenager and whereas then I would have all the time in the world to read and it would take me 2 days to finish a book, now it takes me 2 months!)

In no particular order (though obviously HP has to be #1):

1 – J.K. Rowling – The Harry Potter Series

They have accompanied me in all aspects of life since I was five and are still the series I would turn to above all others, whether taking the Deathly Hallows as my only book to India for 6 weeks, falling asleep to the sound of Stephen Fry or begging Mum or Dad to read us another chapter before we were old enough to squabble over the single family copy, I still find them a necessity for long journeys, chilled weekends, or simply when I can’t sleep. Though recently also reading ‘A casual vacancy’ was equally entrancing and gave an interesting insight into the seemingly mundane rural village life

2- Ian McEwan 

I had to study Enduring Love at A Level and, well, endured it. However, it not only gained me top marks, but also made me think a lot about the frustrating writing style and twisting plot line. On Chesil Beach encompassed a lot that I love about the sea – but also shocked my innocent eyes with the graphic *coughs* love scene. On a similar line, Atonement brought the abrupt introduction of the “C” word into what is seemingly a high society manor house. Of all the films made from novels, this has got to be one of the closest followed that I have seen and made me think about it for days afterwards

3 – Jodi Picoult 

With so many that I have read to date, (though particularly focusing on My Sister’s Keeper, The Pact and A Change of Heart)  I love the way she researches her discussion topics so thoroughly, and writes heart wrenching true to life stories about difficult and controversial topics that you would originally assume few would want to read.

4 – Jacqueline Wilson

 Tracy Beaker, The Illustrated Mum, Glubbslyme, Double Act, How to Survive Summer Camp, The Lottie Project, Girls in Love Series…filling the book bags, rucksacks and tape players of my childhood. Getting the latest JW book was a must and I can probably still recite some chapters off by heart.

5- Shirley Hughes 

Alfie and Annie Rose. If you don’t know what I’m on about, you missed out. Big Time.

6 – Malorie Blackman

Some of the best books I’ve ever read, Noughts and Crosses still makes me weep like a baby. Supposedly teen fiction, but unbelievably gripping storylines and really hard hitting racist themes.

7 – Roald Dahl

I don’t think there is one RD book I have not read and enjoyed (Although for some reason James and The Giant Peach used to freak me out!). Favourites are definitely George’s Marvellous Medicine, The Witches, and The BFG (funny how everyone always forgets about Esio Trot though). Plus, Quentin Blake absolutely made these books what they are, as a pair, they were unstoppable!

8 – Michael Morpurgo

Kensukes Kingdom, The Butterfly Lion, Out of the Ashes, Private Peaceful…the list goes on and they still pretty much all make me cry, all disguised as children’s books but ones I’d read over and over again as an adult too.

9 – John Green

A Recent boom seems to have shattered fiction and everyone is going mad for John Green! I first read Will Grayson Will Grayson (is it sad that I bought the book because I really liked one of the quotes from tumblr about 5 years ago?!) and have since read a few more. He is frustratingly brilliant and I can see the hype, but I have still been more obsessed about other authors.

10a – Louise Rennison

The Confessions of Georgia Nicholson  – I was definitely at the right age when this series emerged and found each one of these books hilariously lovable and just about as rudely truthful as a young teenage girl could hope for.

10b – Meg Cabot

It was a major toss up for number 10 and some credit must also go to The Princess Diaries which I loved and would probably still love, because who didn’t dream of a life so utterly different and crazy to their own?!

(X) Cate Tiernan

The Wicca Series. They haven’t completely stuck in my memory like some books have, but I was obsessed with them and used to borrow three at a time from Sophie Jefferies just so I would have enough to last me the next week. They really didn’t seem to be a huge hit, but the series was definitely one I couldn’t put down as a teenager.

A mention should definitely also go to the following books which shocked, enthralled, wowed, excited, and sparked my curiosity,  making me think about them for days, weeks and years after I’d finished them:

Once in a House on Fire – Andrea Ashworth

Journey to the River Sea – Eva Ibbotson

Lord of the Flies – William Golding

Perks of Being a Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky

Junk – Melvin Burgess

One Day – David Nicholls

Holes – Louis Sachar

The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night time – Mark Haddam

The Time Travellers Wife – Audrey Niffeneger

Skelig – David Almond

Goodnight Mister Tom – Michelle Magorian

Looking for JJ – Anne Cassidy

How I Live Now – Meg Rosoff

The Secret Life of Bees – Sue Monk Kidd

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly – Jean-Dominique Bauby

The Pearl – John Steinbeck

Half of a Yellow Sun – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

I know most of these are young fiction, but the majority of my life where I have had time to devote a lot of it to reading books has been as a teenager. I’ve never been a huge fan of conventional classics and love a good story. So there you go. Definitely forgotten some, have barely included any classics or books I had to read at school and the main thing this has proved is that I simply want to go away and read them all again.

What would be included in your list?