My Favourite Books

Today is World Book Day in South Africa! While in our school library we celebrated by decorating the room with photos of students reading in their favourite or unusual places I thought I would share with you my ‘all-time’ favourite books.

I am often asked what my favourite book is. It’s really not easy to pinpoint one favourite book, but I have tried to consider books that have stood the test of time and have chosen to share those books which I still love years later.

My Favourite Children’s Picture Book

 ‘The Cat in the Hat Comes Back’ by Dr Seuss

‘The Cat in the Hat Comes Back’ by Dr SeussThis time, Sally & her brother are stuck shovelling snow: “This was no time for play./This was no time for fun./This was no time for games./There was work to be done.” But the laughing Hat Cat has other ideas, as he lets himself in to eat cake in their tub. He leaves behind “a big long pink cat ring,” which he then handily cleans with “MOTHER’S WHITE DRESS!” — Extract from Goodreads.com

I have always loved Dr Seuss’s humour,  his clever use of rhyme as well as his wacky illustrations. This book has all of that and my favourite part is where the Cat eats cake in the bath – that’s on my bucket list!

I have never lived anywhere where it snows and have only seen snow a couple of times. As a child I was totally captivated by the idea of playing in snow. As for pink snow… it blew my mind!

I read this book every year to our Grade 1’s and it always results in wonder and giggles!

My Favourite Children’s Book

‘The Game’ by Diana Wynne Jones

‘The Game’ by Diana Wynne JonesHayley’s parents disappeared when she was a baby, so she has been brought up by her grandparents. Then one day she is packed off to Ireland to live with her aunts – and a whole host of cousins she never new about! Here she is introduced to “the game” which involves adventures in the forbidden “mythosphere”. And here also is where Hayley discovers the truth about her family. — Extract from Goodreads.com

I LOVE this book and if I had to choose only one favourite book this would be it! ‘The Game’ combines Greek Mythology, action, adventure and complicated family dynamics.

The Game played in the book is a dangerous, exciting type of treasure hunt – the kind I would have loved to play as a child. Who am I kidding – I would still love to play this game!

I reread this book recently just to see if I still feel the same way about it and I got so caught up in the story again that it was like I was reading it for the first time. Don’t be put off by the uninspiring cover, this book is brilliant!

 My Favourite Young Adult (YA) Book 

‘The Catcher in the Rye’ by J.D. Salinger

‘The Catcher in the Rye’ by J.D. SalingerSince his debut in 1951 as The Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield has been synonymous with “cynical adolescent.” Holden narrates the story of a couple of days in his sixteen-year-old life, just after he’s been expelled from prep school, in a slang that sounds edgy even today and keeps this novel on banned book lists. His constant wry observations about what he encounters, from teachers to phonies (the two of course are not mutually exclusive) capture the essence of the eternal teenage experience of alienation — Extract from Goodreads.com

In my experience most people have a strong reaction to this book: they either love it or hate it.

When I first read this book Holden Caulfield’s cynical look at life as a teenager I identified with him so much so that I felt like he was my only friend, but then I was a mixed up, anxious teen who used sarcasm as a defence against anyone who might judge me… and I thought everyone was judging me.

Today I have ‘slightly’ more self confidence and hold back on the sarcasm – or at least I seldom share the sarcastic dialogue in my mind realising it can be more hurtful than funny, but I can’t ignore that it was this book that helped me through a very difficult adolescence.

My Favourite ‘Grown-Up’ Book

I didn’t want to label this category as ‘adult’ book as these days that conjures up images that I don’t want on my blog! But yes, I do read ‘grown-up’ books in-between my insatiable appetite for YA books, but rarely do I find a book I love, so this one is very special!

‘Five Quarters of the Orange’ by Joanne Harris

5 Quarters of an OrangeWhen Framboise Simon returns to a small village on the banks of the Loire, the locals do not recognize her as the daughter of the infamous Mirabelle Dartigen – the woman they still hold responsible for a terrible tragedy that took place during the German occupation decades before. Althrough Framboise hopes for a new beginning. She quickly discovers that past and present are inextricably intertwined. Nowhere is this truth more apparent than in the scrap book of recipes she has inherited from her dead mother. — Extract from Goodreads.com

This is a dark, honest and beautifully written account of relationships, especially between mother and daughter, reflection of childhood decisions and their ultimate affect.

I love France – although I have never been there (sigh…one day…!) and I love reading books set in France, especially during the Second World War where people’s real personalities come to the fore in the choices they make. I have often wondered how I would have handled living in Occupied Europe during this time.  I suspect I would not have been as brave as I would have liked.

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