You might have gathered by now that I like to read or, to put it less tactfully, I’m obsessed with reading. Yet whenever I’m asked for my favourite book, I struggle. How can that be?
I could give recommendations of dozens of books I’ve enjoyed, books I think people should read; books that will make you laugh, cry, lock all the doors; books that will make you happy; books that will make you sad. But a favourite book? You’re going to be waiting a long time I’m afraid.
I just can’t pick one and I think the reason for that is precisely because I love books as much as I do. How could I choose just one and exclude all the others? It’s easy for me to name my favourite film because I’m not that into films, ditto my favourite tv show (The Breakfast Club and The Office, if you’re interested.)
So what are my favourite books?
How could I not choose good old Georgie? I had this book memorised at one stage and can still recite a good chunk of it. A story that rhymes, lovely illustrations and a cracking moral: Get in the bath or your Mum will chuck you out and the binmen will take you away!
A little bit trite, and I know everyone chooses this, but this is a sublime novel with so much to say. I read this for GCSE and it started my love affair with the child narrator. I haven’t read it since (I rarely reread fiction) but it is one that I am tempted to come back to, just to check that it’s still as amazing as I remember it. I just love Atticus, no more to be said.
Now this is one that I won’t revisit. I read this through choice when I was something of a disaffected teenager myself and I felt that it really spoke to me. The sense of confusion and hopelessness helped me through I time when I was feeling similar emotions. I have heard people, who have read the book as adults, say that they just find Holden to be whiny and pretentious. I don’t want my illusions shattered so I’m going to leave my reading of this in the past.
I don’t read much non-fiction but I love love love Bill Bryson to the extent I’ve read all his books at least five times and they still make me cry laughing. I would choose this as my favourite purely and simply for the description of Bill’s attempts to get his stolen travellers’ cheques back in Switzerland. I remain gutted that I graduated before Bill Bryson became chancellor of my former university; I would have loved to hear him speak on graduation day.
It’s weird that I don’t really read non-fiction and yet I have two NF books on this list. If you really pushed me and held a gun to my head then this would come close to being my favourite book of all time. Tony Hawks is a comedian and, whilst watching the England football team play Moldova, he makes a bet with a friend that he could beat the Moldovan national football team at tennis. What follows is Tony’s journey to a country most of us know little about and the charming (and sometimes crazy) people he meets along the way; all told in a deadpan fashion which just makes it even more funny.
This book is not about football or tennis, it’s about people and how ultimately we are all the same deep down. If you get the chance, read it!
I’ve just realised how many books I could actually sit here and list and at some point today I do actually need to get up and buy groceries, eat, you know – stuff like that. I’m sure there’ll be a part two to this post at some point!