This week’s topic is – Books I could re-read forever.
I found this monstrously hard, I’ll confess. So I’ve cheated a bit and created two lists. One is made up of those classics that the majority of people reading will have heard of and the other – expanded on a little more – is made up of those books that perhaps say a little more about my personal reading highs. I considered adding a third list of the books that didn’t quite make the first two but decided nobody needed that level of cheating on a Tuesday.
The Classics – these are (somewhat obvious) books that I adore, have read at least twice (in some cases quite a few more times) and will read again
- Jane Austen – Pride and Prejudice
- Daphne du Maurier – Rebecca
- Dodie Smith – I Capture the Castle
- JRR Tolkien – The Hobbit
- Neil Gaiman – Neverwhere
- William Goldman – The Princess Bride
- JK Rowling – The Harry Potters (I’m looking forward to reading these with my daughter)
- C S Lewis – The Narnia Chronicles
- Norton Juster – The Phantom Tollbooth
- LM Montgomery – Anne of Green Gables (and the rest)
The Others – books that are a little less ‘universal’ but meet the criterion of books that I not only love but could (and have) re-read time and time again
- Penelope Lively – Moon Tiger: One of my favourite ever books. Lively is a genius and her exploration of memory, history and time, coupled with one of the most beautiful fictional romances, is the book that keeps on giving.
- Barbara Kingsolver – The Poisonwood Bible: One of the most gripping, murky and atmospheric books I’ve ever read. Domineering evangelical Baptist, Nathan Price, takes his family and mission to the Belgian Congo in 1959. And things gradually fall apart.
- EM Delafield – The Diary of a Provincial Lady: For the humour, the wit and the utter Englishness of it all. Completely wonderful.
- Susanna Clarke – Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell: I wholeheartedly adore books with the ability to blend the world we know and the world of magic and faery in such a way as to make the end result utterly believable. This book does that, while simultaneously creating some of the most memorable characters in fiction. (See also Neverwhere)
- Mary Wesley – The Camomile Lawn: I read this for the first time when I was quite young, perhaps in my very early teens. All of the casual, war-driven bed hopping and f-bombs thrilled me and something about the terribly clipped, stiff-upper-lip Britishness of it all still thrills me a little today. Calypso and Polly were the older sisters I would have liked to have.
- Erin Morgenstern – The Night Circus: For anyone who’s ever thought about running away to join the circus.
- Lucy Wood – Diving Belles: Perfectly-crafted and perfectly-themed short stories that blend Cornish folklore with a touch of magic realism, and then firmly root themselves in the natural world.
- Vikram Seth – An Equal Music: Utterly beautiful and heartbreaking. The world of professional musicians is a fascinating one and Seth writes about a musical life in the most evocative and understanding way. When the summer shifts to autumn, I always get a yearning to re-read this one.
- Hilary Mantel – Beyond Black: A brilliant, dark, thought-provoking and absorbing story about a working clairvoyant and her troublesome spirit guide.
- Jess Kidd – Himself: When I read this for the first time, it socked me right in the gut. It’s bleak, harrowing, wickedly funny, charming and very different to almost anything I’ve read. I’m still a little in love with Mahoney.