I am the biggest bookworm. I’ve been reading books ever since I can remember and I get so excited when I meet another fellow bookworm so we can talk for days about our favourite books. I have no idea how many books I own. It’s definitely more than the pairs of shoes I have, which, even after my pre-departure cull, is a lot.
For one of my birthdays (can’t remember which one now!), my mum got me a Kobo e-reader, which is possibly one of the best birthday gifts I have ever received.
This blog is dedicated to my favourite books forever and ever. Do you think I’ve missed a book? If so, leave me a comment at the end of this blog with the name of the book and author, and I promise I will read it!
My favourite books forever and ever (in no particular order of favouritism):
- The Outsiders by SE Hinton
Ah, this book gives me all the feels. I first read this when I was 11 or 12 (really cannot remember) and I was not only struck by Ms Hinton’s fabulous literary ways, but by how this book tackled major young adult issues, many of which are very relevant today. Told from the point-of-view of Ponyboy Curtis, whom you can’t help but develop a crush on (as well as Dallas Winston, the ultimate bad boy for good girls), he tells the struggles between the Greasers (the ne’er-do-wells, which Ponyboy belongs to) and the Socs (the Serenas and Blairs of the world) in surburban America. It’s just so wonderfully written and what makes this my favourite book is that when you read it at different times in your life, you understand it in a different way each time. Stay gold, Ponyboy.
- The Harry Potter series by JK Rowling
Of course this had to make the list! How could this not be part of any ‘favourites’ list?! I was introduced to Harry Potter by a friend of mine when I was 11. At first I was sceptical – the front cover illustration suggested it was a very childish book, and at the wise age of 11, I was past reading that sort of stuff. But, I am not one to ever say no to a book, so I dived in and oh, what a glorious moment! Admittedly, I started with the Chamber of Secrets, but who cares? Harry read in any order is wonderful. I remember when I was in uni and Goblet of Fire was coming out. I rang my mum and begged her to buy me a copy in Port Hedland and mail it to me because I was adamant that all the copies would be sold out in Perth by the time I had finished all my classes and hit the bookstore (I was very wrong). Such is the life of a Potternerd. If you haven’t read it, WHAT ARE YOU DOING?! Clear your calendar for the weekend, go to your library and check all seven books out STAT!
- Matilda by Roald Dahl
The original bookworm who inspired me to read. I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who’s read Matilda and said they hated it. A book for both children and adults, it tells the story of what happens when you neglect and underestimate children, with a little bit of magic and chocolate cake – who said revenge wasn’t sweet? This book is just so perfect in its storytelling, characters and plot. Which child hasn’t fantasised about taking out their frustrations on their family members with a clever prank after reading Matilda? AND Roald Dahl made spelling so much easier for everyone; by the end of this book, there wasn’t a child (or adult) who didn’t know how to spell ‘difficulty’. A heroine for the ages, Matilda will never grow old.
- The Gabriel Allon series by Daniel Silva
This is a series I started reading a couple of years ago and I wish I had known about it sooner! I only started reading this because I was looking for a new book to read, and with a highly limited selection at Kmart in Port Hedland, I went for the one with the most mysterious title and was on sale: ‘Moscow Rules’ at a cheap and cheerful $8. Best $8 I’ve ever spent! Since then, I’ve read all the books that have followed (the latest is The English Spy), and a few prior to this but finding ones before Moscow Rules is super difficult. The series is a New York Times bestseller and is about part-time legendary art restorer and equally legendary Israeli spy Gabriel Allon, and the little adventures he and his posse (named Barak, which is Hebrew for ‘lightning’) get up to, defeating terrorists and other bad guys. Loosely based on real life events, Silva’s books are well-researched and give an interesting insight into counter-terrorism and the Middle East. I highly recommend this, especially if you love politics and spy thrillers. I re-read his books all the time as they’re so well-written and easy to digest.
- The Sherlock Holmes books by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
Yes, I will admit it – I only started reading these because of the BBC series Sherlock (ok, and Benedict Cumberbatch). Like the Gabriel Allon series, I wish I’d read them sooner because who doesn’t love a nerd who can deduct your activities in the past 24 hours based on the colour of your socks? Mmhmm, no one. However, there is a bit of a thrill reading the books after watching the Sherlock series due to the ‘aha’ moment, when you go ‘oh, that’s the story that inspired that episode!’. Surprisingly easy to read, and exceptionally well-written with very well-rounded characters, you too will fall in love with Sherlock Holmes and Dr John H. Watson and their misadventures. Start with ‘A Study in Scarlet’ then read the others in whatever order you fancy!
- The Murder of Roger Ackroyd and Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
Yes, another detective series I love, and let’s face it – Agatha pretty much just stole Sir Conan Doyle’s lead characters (Sherlock and Dr Watson) and gave them alternate personalities (Poirot and Colonel Hastings). Regardless, Agatha’s stories are vastly different to Sir Conan Doyle’s and just as enjoyable. These two are my favourites, mainly because of the wicked twist at the end which you would never predict in a million years. Murder on the Orient Express was my first Agatha Christie book featuring Hercule Poirot and I’ve been hooked ever since. I won’t even tell you what the books are about; they’re so good you MUST read them for yourselves! I would also suggest buying the books in hard copy because they look so fabulous sitting on your bookshelf.
- A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
Some may disagree and say The Kite Runner was his best work, but I love A Thousand Splendid Suns because it’s a story about the importance of feminism and equality in our modern world. All of Khaled Hosseini’s books are set against the backdrop of war-torn Afghanistan, and all are equally emotionally intelligent. This book is the story of two women married to the same man – the first wife is a lowly village girl with very little formal education and even less self-esteem, while the second wife is at least 20 years her junior and is beautiful, middle-class and highly intelligent. At first, the two loathe each other but slowly form the strongest relationship you can have between two women: that of mother and daughter. Together, they face their brute of a husband and escape Afghanistan for a better life. I dare you not to cry while reading this, and not to count your blessings by the end of this book.
- Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
No brainer, this is one of the best books of all time, and one I attribute to helping improve my writing. I won’t go into why I love this book because for those who have read it, it’s pretty obvious; and for those who haven’t, you can Google why it’s a timeless classic. I bought an abridged version of this at a book sale somewhere and was enthralled by the exciting and at times, scandalous lives of the Bennetts. I bought the full version not long after, and have always come back to it whenever I need a literary break (it happens). On a side note, I do love Emma too which is equally as funny and witty as Pride and Prejudice.
- The Rowan of Rin series by Emily Rodda
Another childhood favourite, this was read to us during class (I suspect to keep us quiet and because the teachers couldn’t be bothered doing anything else) and I loved it so much, I bought my own copies. Originally there were four books in the series, and in 2003 another was released (which I haven’t read yet, only finding this out while writing this!). The stories all centre on the key protagonist, Rowan of the Bukshah, a gentle, timid boy who the villagers of Rin tend to leave alone because he doesn’t fit in (how rude). Throughout the series, Rowan shows his village that just because he doesn’t like to climb mountains for fun, doesn’t mean he’s weak – he’s actually stronger than all of them because he’s not afraid to face his fears. The Rowan of Rin series is something all children should read, and I know I will make my yet-to-be-born children read this too, because it’s a story of courage through adversity and tells us that even the strongest amongst us have a weakness that must be faced.
10. The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran
Another classic that is loved by all, The Prophet is the meaning of life. Legit. Your life will not be the same after reading this book. How do you explain something that blows your mind? The main character of this book, the prophet of a tiny island, is about to depart but before he does, his fellow island residents ask him for advice on a range of life issues such as love, crime and punishment, children, beauty, freedom, pleasure and death. There some topics, like houses, buying and selling and work, which you’ll be tempted to skip but don’t; what Gibran has to say is so fascinating, I promise you’ll want to re-read it the minute you finish it. It’s shorter than you think so is a great book to read on a rainy day (again and again). I also find it’s nice to read when you’ve reached that proverbial fork in the road, and need a moment of reflection. My favourite quote in the entire book is this one: “Beauty is eternity gazing at itself in a mirror; but you are eternity and you are the mirror” – meaning the beauty really is in the eye of the beholder and you need to realise that to others you are beautiful the way you are. *cue breathless sigh of adoration*