What books would be in your top ten? I have to admit that deciding on my ten favourite books is not an easy task. I love so many different books. The books on the list below are the first ten books that come to mind when I think of my favourites. I’ve limited myself to one book per author in the list. Otherwise, I suspect my top ten would be limited to two or three of my favourite authors! Many of my favourites are well-remembered classics from my childhood. It was a family joke that I became oblivious to everything going on around me the minute I started reading. These days I don’t have as much time to read but I still love to get lost in a book.
1. The Bible
I think this really has to be top of my list. I don’t read it as often as I should though. It might be the only book which lives on my bedside table on a fairly permanent basis, but it does seem to gather dust a lot of the time. Still, although it may gather dust at times, the words inside have been a source of strength and comfort, hope and encouragement. They are a reminder that God is in control and He is always there throughout the good times and the bad. Here are a few of the verses which have helped me:
“I can do everything through him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13)
“Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)
“The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17)
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:11-13)
2. Anne of Green Gables – L.M. Montgomery
L.M. Montgomery is one of my all-time favourite writers. I have all her books and as many of her short stories as I have been able to find. The character of Anne resonates with me in many ways. I had such a vivid imagination as a child (I wish I had managed to retain it!) and I had a spark of temper which could get me into trouble at times (and still does). Anne is an optimist, someone who approaches life full of the joy of living. L.M. Montgomery’s books are beautifully written. They describe a world which has now disappeared, but the key element of being true to oneself is timeless.
3. Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
I read this book long before I ever saw the BBC series so I can’t blame Colin Firth for sparking my interest in Mr Darcy! I love the characterisation in this book. Elizabeth Bennet is such a spirited heroine, Mrs Bennet so garrulous and gauche, Lydia so supremely selfish and Mr Darcy so aloof and repressed. I’ve read a few of Jane Austen’s books and this is my favourite. I have to confess though I haven’t enjoyed all her books. I gave up on Emma partway through as I found her such an irritating character.
4. Katherine – Anya Seton
This is the book that first ignited my love of history, and medieval royal history in particular. Katherine Swynford was the mistress of John of Gaunt and the ancestress of the House of Tudor through her Beaufort children. After reading this book, I found myself wanting to know more about the historical figures mentioned. It led me to read many more books as a result. Some were historical novels, like this one, mixing the facts with a more fictionalised retelling of the story. Others were more ‘dry’ accounts of historical figures and events. Historical fiction is still a favourite genre of mine.
5. Matilda – Roald Dahl
Roald Dahl was one of my favourite authors when I was a child. This was my favourite Roald Dahl book. I loved the story of a super-intelligent little girl who manages to outwit some very nasty adults around her in order to create a happy ending for herself and her school teacher Miss Honey. Roald Dahl’s characters are all so vivid and larger-than-life, and the illustrations by Quentin Blake are just superb. I spent many happy hours with my nose buried deep in a Roald Dahl book.
6. Guess How Much I Love You – Sam McBratney
Now that I’m a mummy, I’m hoping to pass on my love of books to my beautiful daughters. Bedtime can be such a lovely time of day. My two little girls snuggle up close whilst we share a bedtime story. Guess How Much I Love You is one of my favourite bedtime stories to read to them. I love the story of Little Nutbrown Hare and Big Nutbrown Hare each coming up with bigger ways to describe how much they love each other. Little Nutbrown Hare starts by stretching his arms out wide. This was my favourite way to show people how much I loved them as a child – my dad’s response was always “twice round!” Just like my dad, Big Nutbrown Hare manages to have the last word! Telling my girls how much I love them is something I do every day and this book helps to reinforce that.
7. The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkien
I remember choosing this book as a prize for something I did at school. It might have been for something Maths related but I can’t quite remember. I love all the vivid imagery in Tolkien’s books and the fantasy world of Middle Earth – hobbits, elves, dwarves and wizards. The Lord of the Rings trilogy were also amongst my favourites. I haven’t read them for a very long time though (finding time these days for reading epic novels is not quite so easy!)
8. Goodnight Mister Tom – Michelle Magorian
Another one of my favourite books from my childhood. Goodnight Mister Tom tells the story of a young boy, abused by his mother, who is evacuated to the country during World War II and sent to live with the grouchy ‘Mister’ Tom. I love the way the two main characters both blossom and grow as a result of their relationship with each other. It is a beautifully written story and one I have read many times.
9. The White Queen – Philippa Gregory
Another historical novel – this one focuses on the story of Elizabeth Woodville, the queen of King Edward IV. Elizabeth Woodville was a commoner and a widow when she married Edward IV. Their marriage had an impact on many of the events during the Wars of the Roses. This novel is one of many set during ‘the Cousins’ War’ and is the first one I read from this series. It’s another book which sparked my interest in a particular period of English history and led me to read more about that particular era.
10. What Katy Did – Susan Coolidge
Katy is one of my favourite characters. Heedless, impulsive and prone to getting into scrapes – definitely a character I could identify with! After an accident leaves her unable to walk, she learns to become more gentle and patient although the process of doing so is not easy! Katy’s character after her accident was one I think I aspired to be more like as a child. However, patience is a virtue that I don’t think I possess in any great quantity! I love this book partly because it is beautifully written, but also because self-improvement is something that we all strive for.We can identify with Katy’s journey in this respect although perhaps she is a little too ‘good’ at the end of the book.
Linking in with mumturnedmom for The Prompt – ‘books’