11 May 2013

Book Love #BEDM

Reading is a big part of my life; work and play. And I'm sure many others would agree, reading as a hobby is a form of escapism. Unfortunately, it's something that I go through bouts of doing and well, not doing. I don't make enough time for it; distracted instead by other things.

I'm not usually the kind of person to re-read a book and much prefer to give them away for others to experience, whether that be directly or via charity. There are however some reads that will forever stick in my mind. Following the style of my blog love post, I have chosen five books that deserve a spot in the limelight and come with a Jen recommendation. Hopefully they're not too obvious but I suspect a few might be.

The Hobbit J R R Tolkien

This was one of the first books I read as part of high school English and I fell in love quite quickly. Tolkien's descriptions are notoriously lengthy and detailed but once you get used to his style, it's worth it. Mr Bailey, my English teacher, would set which chapters to read on a weekly basis, as well as related tasks, and each week, I couldn't wait to delve back in. Now, I cannot imagine deliberately stopping myself from reading but I think that actually made it even better. Fantasy isn't a genre I would list as one of my likes anymore but as a young teen, there was just something so enchanting about it.

Lord of the Flies William Golding

This was another high school read. I remember carrying the little yellow book around with quite some pride (this image shows the most resemblance to the version I had) which I have since realised is because not only was I really enjoying it but I also felt it was quite an 'intellectual read' at the time. There is quite a bit to read into in this book where it delves into ideas of human nature, instinct and actions when completely free from supervision and the normal constraints and rules of society and civilisation. It is just a great book. I really have to read this one again.

Memoirs of a Geisha Arthur Golden

This was a book recommended to me by a friend and I wasn't sure what to expect. A gripping and gritty story about determination, suffering, love and heartbreak as it turns out. I was so absorbed by this story, especially since it was a historical time I knew very little about. I realise when I'm searching for a book to read, my choice to read it can greatly depend on whether I find the cover aesthetically pleasing. The cover of this book is particularly striking. The descriptions are also very well executed and you're never left wondering about the visuals of a scene or of the thoughts and feelings of the main character Chiyo. A simply brilliant novel.

The Time Traveler's Wife Audrey Niffenegger

Perhaps a mainstream read but it really does deserve a mention. When I first started reading this one, I really couldn't get into it and could not understand why so many people were raving about it. It was frustrating and confusing, jumping all over the place in time. But then, something changed and I was completely captivated by the events, feelings and words of the characters. Maybe that's why this one was so rewarding. This is one of the only books to have brought me close to tears. Maybe I should give this one another run as well?

Matilda Roald Dahl

This one will probably come under the heading of books that changed my life. I'd always loved reading but the book's namesake and heroine was so captivating and exciting when reading it at the same age that it is one of the books I have enjoyed most. Even now. It just really sucked me in. Dahl's depictions are incredibly realistic and you are just there. It was difficult choosing which Roald Dahl book to include here. I've read so many of his others; The BFG, The Twits, George's Marvellous Medicine, Esio Trot, James and the Giant Peach, The Witches, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. But Matilda also sticks in my mind because of a particular experience I had whilst reading it.

During any family outings or holidays, I would have at least one book in tow and read it at every available opportunity. I was perhaps 9 or 10 years old and we were on a caravan/chalet holiday somewhere in Wales during the height of a British summer. We'd just ordered food at a restaurant, sat out in the early evening sun and, whilst waiting for the food to arrive, I seized the opportunity to get my literary fix. I opened up Matilda and was immediately transported to another world. I was jolted back to reality when a gentleman came over to our table to tell us he hopes we (my parents really) didn't mind but he'd just taken a photo of me reading. He added; "She was just so engrossed in her book, and the look on her face as she was reading, that I couldn't help but take a photo." He explained he was a professional photographer, showed us the photo and offered to delete it should they be unhappy. But my parents had no objections. I know what you might be thinking but really, there was nothing inappropriate about the photo. Being a keen photographer myself, there are some opportunities that just cannot be missed; you feel compelled to capture them. I do wonder if he ever used that photograph anywhere.

Some others I enjoyed just as much; The Green Mile Stephen King, The Other Boleyn Girl Philippa Gregory and, despite the largely amateur writing style The Da Vinci Code Dan Brown. I am also in love with all of the books by Kate Morton. The only reason they didn't appear above is because I couldn't choose between them.

And I've just realised every single one of the books I've mentioned has been turned into a film. Saying something about my taste perhaps? But we all know the books are better. ; )

Any recommendations?

This month, I'm taking part in Blog Every Day in May (BEDM) and this is day 11.


  1. I adore Matilda! It's such a fabulous story, written so well with amazing illustrations.

    If you get a chance, you must go and see the musical in London - it completely brings the story to life and the music will stay in your head, much like the original story does :-) x

    1. Such a good book, isn't it?! I should definitely read it again. And yes, the illustrations were great.

      Oh cool, I shall definitely check it out. Thanks! :D