Day 5: Favourite books
“What’s your favourite book?” is a question guaranteed to freak most bookworms. How to pick just one? There are so many brilliant books out there!
Well, there are. The thing is, I’ve read so many brilliant books, but hardly any of them I would class as ‘favourites’. For me, favourite books are ones high in re-readability. This picture sums it up for me:
Favourite books are like a pair of comfy old shoes. Which means that, although I love Dickens, for example, he’s not a favourite. It takes effort to read his novels, so, even if they are wonderful (which they are), they’re never going to be the books I pick up when I’m down or bored. So, that said, what are my favourite books?
As a child, I loved Enid Blyton- in particular the Five Find-outers and Dog, and the Famous Five. I remember buying them from WH Smiths, or borrowing them from the library and being absolutely engrossed in tales of Fatty’s ventriloquism and clever detective work, and laughing at Mr Goon. I remember loving George in the Famous Five, and overlooking boring Anne. I read the Wishing Chair and Faraway Tree stories as well, though it still annoys me that the publishers changed the kids’ names in the Faraway Tree to make them more “modern”- a tad confusing when some of your copies are older and the same characters have different names! I can still remember most of the various series’ adventures!
Another series I loved as a child and still love is, of course, Harry Potter. The whole story is so intricate and clever- though I wish JK Rowling would just keep writing them so we learn everything about Harry’s world. I identified so much with bookish clever Hermione and weird Luna, and Snape’s dry wit made him another firm favourite character. It was great when I discovered fan-fiction aged about 13 because it meant I could explore other people’s visions of the story, and chase up the stories of minor characters. And, of course, read fiction about “non-cannon” relationships that totally should’ve been in the book. I think the whole series has so many wonderful messages, from friendship to loyalty and courage. It was so exciting every time a new book came out- I just wished I didn’t have to wait until my granddad had read it to get my paws on a copy!
Frances Hodgson Burnett was another favourite. Once I would have said I preferred A Little Princess, but now I can say The Secret Garden is my favourite. I have a gorgeous copy on my shelves- though this is just a picture of the internet because I’m lazy! I really enjoyed watching sullen Mary Lennox discover and fall in love with the secret garden, and befriend Dickon and Colin. The scene when Mr Craven sees his son’s recovery thanks to Dickon and Mary’s efforts is one of my favourite scenes in any book.
I only read Jane Eyre for the first time last summer, and I completely fell in love with it and Charlotte Brontë’s writing. I adore Jane, who I strongly identify with, and I respect her so much for saying no to living with Mr Rochester and keeping his wife a secret, because she wasn’t willing to compromise her morals. Mr Rochester is easily my favourite romantic hero, and even re-reading the novel I love watching his relationship with Jane pan out. I’m really glad I didn’t watch the film before I read it, because I would have spoiled the story for myself. I remember finishing the novel on my Kindle when my grandparents, brother and I were stuck in traffic on a day out in the summer, and having to hold back all the emotions Jane and Mr Rochester’s reunion incited! All in all, it is my favourite book, which I can (and have, since summer) read over and over again, and it is, for me, the best (angsty!) romance novel ever written.
That’s me. What are your favourite books? Are there any you remember particularly fondly from childhood?