Having read @redgierob’s top ten, and the subsequent replies, this is one challenge I am more than happy to embrace.
1. Enid Blyton’s Faraway Tree stories.
I read a lot of Enid Blyton when I was little, and loved the magic of The Faraway Tree and Mr Pinkwhistle. As I got older I moved on to Malory Towers and St Clare’s, and was desperate to go to boarding school and swim in an outdoor pool.
2. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Berniers.
This was an A-level text for me, though I didn’t fall in love with it until exams were over and it was non-compulsory. Inimitably romantic and featuring a pine marten called Psipsina, with beautiful descriptions of the Cephallonian landscape. Definitely more than a holiday read.
3. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden.
I can’t remember exactly when I read this, probably in my early twenties and around the time I visited Japan. A fascinating glimpse into an unknown culture.
4 . The Adrian Mole books by Sue Townsend.
These books seem to be something of a rite of passage, and justifiably so. Touching, funny and bittersweet, whilst packed with teenage angst to which we can all relate. I didn’t appreciate the more recent ones, though.
5. The Last Algonquin by Theodore L. Kazimroff
I bought this second hand from London, Ontario, during a semester in Canada in 2002. It was part of my research for my Native American identity dissertation. I remember reading it as I travelled around during a very snowy December. I finished it in a sparsely furnished dorm room in Montreal, and cried buckets before my fellow travellers awoke. There’s so much beauty and respect in the values and beliefs of the Native Americans, and this book tells a heartbreaking true story of one man’s journey.
6. Behind the Scenes at the Museum by Kate Atkinson.
Set in York, I read this whilst at university in York, so it was probably around 2000-2001. I also saw the play in York, and Kate Atkinson received an honorary degree at my graduation at York Minster. I’ve read and attempted some of her other books, but this was my favourite. One I should probably re-read as I can’t fully remember it.
7. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate Dicamillo.
I read this in Cornwall, in the summer of 2010, between my PGCE and beginning my NQT year, and planned my first topic around it. A simple story with an ultimate ending that had seemed impossible. The story of a china rabbit on a steep learning curve. Gorgeous illustrations, my class loved it as much as I did.
8. The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey.
These days I don’t get much chance to read for pleasure, but I bought and read this last year. Set in Alaska, (on my bucket list) the story portrays a stark landscape filled with snow and spirits. One that I read quickly, which was definitely worth making the time for.
9. The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan.
Having just checked my bookshelves, I found this missing from my Amy Tan collection, which means I must have lent it out somewhere along the way. All about a Chinese family living in the US. Easy to read and with an interesting mother/daughter dynamic. I first read this in Scotland whilst working at my cousin’s B&B, and have also read and enjoyed her other books.
10. Mervyn Mouse by Sylvia Creche.
I couldn’t not put this in here. Only recently I was reunited with this at a vintage emporium, and I’ve loved rereading it and gazing at the pictures as I must have done when it was read to me when I was small. One of several Ladybird Books I knew and loved, I remember one called something like Signs of Autumn (non-fiction) as well as Goldilocks, and The Elves and the Shoemaker. I don’t remember a set bedtime routine, but I’ve always loved books and I know both my mum and dad used to read to me often.
I’m adding the next bit in just for my own amusement:
Now reading: How to be a Woman by Caitlin Moran. Quite different from anything above, I bought this as a brand new, perfect copy for 25p from a charity shop at the end of the summer holidays. Recommended by a close friend, it’s very funny, very readable and not for the faint hearted. Beside my bed I also have a book about dog training and Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov, which I also began in the summer but haven’t picked up for a while. Part of a boxed set of Banned Books.
I would love to know if you read any of these, or if not, what your top 10 includes. I’m already thinking of more that I could have included. Please either leave your replies as comments below, or link back to your own blogs.
I now nominate: @natmx88, @huthart44, @matt_bellingham, @hannahlous91 and katieboot91 – but I’d love to read any other lists!