Tuesday 21 February 2012

Top of the books

Don’t you just love compiling top ten lists? It’s definitely one of my top ten favourite ways to while away an hour (well, while it away in my head, anyway – there are any number of menial or not-so-menial tasks I could be doing at the same time).

So I thought it was very cool when one of my top ten favourite book club members (of whom there are ten) came up with a list of her favourite books as it stands at the moment.

I’ve put the list here. Put yours in a comment box – go on, as a total book geek, I love this information. I’ll post my own shortly, just as soon as I’ve perfected the final draft. I can do that while I reroute the electrics.....

Anna’s current top 10 books, in no particular order:

The Shadow of the Wind: Carlos Ruiz Zafon
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks: Rebecca Skloot
Firefly Summer: Maeve Binchy
Terms of Endearment: Larry McMurtry
The Darling Buds of May: HE Bates

The Pillars of the Earth: Ken Follett
When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit: Judith Kerr 
Little Women: Louisa May Alcott
The Stand: Stephen King
Like Water for Chocolate: Laura Esquivel

NB: This reminds me a bit of High Fidelity by Nick Hornby....(Have you ever read it? Does it make your top ten?)


  1. Right, I will have forgotten something obvious but here it is, my top ten books in no particular order:

    Rebecca: Daphne du Maurier
    The Snapper: Roddy Doyle
    The Child in Time: Ian McEwan
    Wise Children: Angela Carter
    Behind the Scenes at the Museum: Kate Atkinson
    Bridget Jones's Diary: Helen Fielding
    Porno: Irvine Welsh
    Brideshead Revisited: Evelyn Waugh
    The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: Stieg Larsson
    Adrian Mole and the Weapons of Mass Destruction: Sue Townsend

  2. Wow, choosing ten absolute faves is harder than I thought. But, these areon my list because they're books I've read on my travels and lost myself in for days. I threw in the Puddle Lane books because a) I couldn't think of a tenth adult book and b) I freaking loved them!

    The Shadow of the wind – Carlos Shadow of the Wind
    My Sister’s Keeper – Jodie Picoult
    Water For Elephants – Sara Gruen
    Wuthering heights – Emily Bronte
    Tell it to the skies – Erica james
    Innocence – Kathleen tessaro
    Captain Correli’s Mandolin- Louis de Bernieres
    Any Way You Want Me – Lucy Diamond
    East of the Sun – Julia Gregson
    Puddle Lane Books (purple cover series)

  3. Hello! That's a really interesting list, thank you! I know exactly what you mean about them being the ones you lose yourself in. That was pretty much my criteria too....they are the books that I remember enjoying the most, like I have a kind of nostalgia for them.

  4. I spend more time reading to my little boy than I have time to read for myself. I'm not sure whether these are his favourites, or ones I push his way as I enjoy (or can stand) them. Some are for day, some specifically aimed at bedtime. And of course you’ll spot the one his daddy reads every night to him. Not in any particular order and a few more than 10 – well I am an accountant and can’t be expected to stick to trivial number detail!

    For Anytime:
    Stick Man by Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler;
    Blast Off by Malachy Doyle & Gill McLean;
    Fix it Duck by Jez Alborough;
    What the Lady bird heard by Julia Donaldson
    Charlie Cook’s Favourite Book by Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler;
    Shark in the Dark by Peter Bently
    Giraffes can’t dance by Giles Andrede & Gut Parker-Rees;

    For Bedtime:
    Peepo by Janet & Allan Ahlberg (a recent find that was given to us when his baby brother was born);
    Hairy Maclary series – specifically Hairy Maclary & Zackery Quack/Hairy Maclary Shoo by Lynley Dodd;
    My Dream cup Final – adapted for the latest team/manager by Daddy;
    Little Beaver & the Echo – Amy MacDonald;
    I forgot to say I Love you by Miriam Moss & Anna Currey

  5. Thanks Janet, that's really got me thinking and there are a couple of Julia Donaldson ones in there I've never heard of and must look into.

    At the moment The Tickle Book by Ian Whynbrow and Axel Scheffler is going down a treat.

    There are quite a few books that I remember as favourites from childhood, which I've tried to get my little one enthused about....such as The Lighthouse Keeper's Lunch, to no avail.
    But the one book that was on my top 10 as a tot, and which my son now loves too is The Tiger Who Came to Tea. He particularly likes pointing out where mummy was naughty and drew one the first page on my original copy!

  6. Ideally I would have a separate top 10 for childhood books: the ones I read until they were battered in my childhood, and the ones my own children had me read to them over and over again. I can still recite most of "Postman Pat and the Christmas Puddings" which my eldest wanted every night after recovering from meningitis. It gave me hope as he had loved it before becoming ill.

    Here goes:

    Persuasion - Jane Austen
    A Traveller In Time - Alison Uttley (I was totally in love with Francis in the book, and 3 years ago discovered that the house in the book was based on Manor Farm in Dethick, Derbyshire...... fab B & B which hubby and I now go to often.)
    Ballet Shoes - Noel Streatfield (took this with me when I ran away aged 9!)
    Cazalet Chronicles - Elizabeth Jane Howard (bit of a cheat as this is 4 books)
    The House of Mirth - Edith Wharton
    Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
    Invitation To The Waltz - Rosamond Lehamann
    The Glass Room - Simon Mawer
    Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
    A Thousand Acres - Jane Smiley

    This was hard as there are so many other contenders! I have a little black book in which I have kept a list of all the books I have read since 1993.

  7. Hi Ruth,
    That's a fantastic list, thank you! Yes, I'm ashamed that there isn't any Jane Austen in mine. The terrible truth is I've only read the one that is a spoof of Gothic horror and P & P....the rest I feel I know so well from TV & film adaptations....
    That's very moving about your son with the Postman Pat book. Very special indeed.
    Ballet Shoes! Had forgotten about that! LOVED it, and also The Swish of The Curtain and various sequels by Pamela Brown.
    Keeping a little black book is a very good idea. Used to use my own bookshelves as a record but borrowing/lending and Kindle makes this a bit inefficient.
    So chuffed you commented.....thanks again.

  8. Was very hard to get 10 as I tend to like series rather than individual books.
    1) Flood by Richard Doyle (though wasn't impressed by the film based on it!)
    2) Evening Class by Maeve Binchy
    3) Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon
    4) Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
    5) Dune by Frank Herbert
    6) Blue Nowhere by Jeffery Deaver
    7) Decipher by Stel Pavlou
    8) Harry Potter and Philosopher's Stone by JKRowling
    9) Down Under by Bill Bryson
    and finally a triology because I couldn't pick my favourite 10)What to expect when you're expecting / the first year / toddler years

  9. Hi Claire,

    "Lehamann" should be "Lehmann"..... typo on my part. I started the black book when I joined a book club founded by a group of mums from my eldest's nursery school. Most of us had just had our second child and were feeling pretty bogged down by some aspects of motherhood. Especially living in north London in flats that were too small and without gardens. We spent most fine days at the park, and felt we had not read anything other than pulp or magazines since the babies came along. The book club gave us back the thrill of reading as well as forging some brilliant friendships, and giving us a definite night out once a month! Despite moving locations several times I've always managed to find (or found) a book club, and my current one has been going since 2005. We're always open to new members and have a cross section of ages and backgrounds (but NO men which is a whole other topic of discussion. I once tried it and the man in question was a big mistake!!!) I love it when we have vehemently expressed opposing opinions of the book! Obviously we do talk about myriads of other things, and have supported each other through various trials and tribulations.

    My black book is of the books I have read, but I keep a computerised record of the book club books, and who chose them, which I e mail out to the members every so often. It gives people a sense of achievement and also is good to send to someone who is thinking of joining so they get an idea of the range of genres we have covered. (When someone suggested we tackle erotica and selected "In Bed With...." by Jessica Adams, Kathy Lette et al we had a lot of problems with various members' small daughters making a beeline for it due to the Barbie pink cover with knickers on it!).

    I love your blog. Happy reading!