My favourite books
Nothing beats the warm familiarity of your favourite books. The covers are worn down and there are several tea/biscuit stains from multiple visits to these pages. People will wildly disagree when it comes to favourites but it's okay, the world would be a boring place if we all liked the same things. Our cherished tomes are ours and ours alone. Be it the location of your first reading, the characters or style of writing sometimes something just clicks and my god does it feel great when it does.
One of my favourite books is a favourite for two reasons - I was in Bali when I consumed it. This book went with me everywhere, once I was hooked. My companions had to remind me that I was in Bali and no you can’t drive a scooter and read at the same time and we were going to dinner at this amazing local restaurant etc etc so truthfully it was when I wasn’t required to be sociable it didn’t leave my hands. The magic is kept alive as when I reminisce, it is as much about the holiday as it is the book.
Secondly I just bloody love Joël Ducker's writing style. I was over the moon when the prequel/sequel The Baltimore Boys came out/was translated (He's Swiss), because I knew it was going to be good. The construction of story, in the Quebert Affair, reminds me of a good old fashioned murder mystery, the scattering of major key facts and a wonderfully whole and satisfying conclusion makes for a happy read. There are good story tellers in the world and Ducker is one of the best. It also has a strong momentum that I appreciate in novels. The internal deadline within the story - the main character is writing a book - keeps you turning those pages.
They are just such readable stories, you want to know what happened, you’re in so deep it almost feels real and the shattering climax has you wide eyed and open mouthed. Just like a good film or tv show when you don’t see the end coming it’s all the more satisfying. And all that added up for me at least signifies a great writer. Gosh can’t you tell that I realllly love this book?
This is one of the most witty and relatable books I've ever come across. Though I’m neither living in the country (at the mo) or a mother running a home, with lines such as ‘bought the dress despite overdraft’ I think any lady would struggle not to smile knowingly. I also adore this version of the book, just look at that cover. It’s part of the Virago Modern Classic Designer Covers Collection that I’ve been banging on about recently and has a foreword by one of my favourite authors Jilly Cooper. It’s a wonderful read that will have you laughing out loud. Once you’ve read it as many times as I have, you can happily dip in and out, reading a few pages from the middle with breakfast or whenever the mood takes. It’s the sort of book you gift female friends that you know will get as much of a kick out it as you do.
The Cazalet Chronicles, Elizabeth Jane Howard
Now this is technically a cheat as The Cazalet Chronicles consist of five books, so really it is a favourite series but let's not get picky. Historical Novels set between the 1920's and 1950's are my number one weakness. I could consume books of this era endlessly. I loved Downton Abbey and subsequently most period dramas ever made. But back to the Cazalets. The first book, The Light Years, starts in 1937 and through the eyes of three generations of family we witness the beauty of sun-drenched summers in the countryside. Picnics, trips to the seaside, love affairs, family meals, all glorious and familiar. Though the shadow of war soon creeps in. The rest of the series follows the family adjusting to this new reality and life after. Elizabeth Jane Howard captures the pains of growing up and the pains of being a grown up with equal skill. She too can tell a brilliant story.
These are the books for which you put on your favourite knitted jumper, make yourself a large pot of tea, settle into your preferred corner of the sofa and blissfully forget the rest of the world exists...