It has been a long time since I last featured recommendations from a non-blogger, but I do love seeing lists of people’s favourite books and so I am going to try and make this a more regular feature on my blog.
This month I’m featuring Jacqui who lives in a small town in Warwickshire called Southam. She has a fantastic list of favourite books, so I’ll hand you over to her so that she can explain why she loves them so much:
I have read lots and lots of really great books over 50 years – reading is my favourite past time – but these days I tend towards ‘the lighter stuff’ as I haven’t the stamina anymore for ‘difficult’ literature. I’m not ‘old’ or ill, just busy with a demanding full time job and other interests. I love that Jackie asked me to do this, but my list is definitely not high brow! Choosing 10 favourite books was very hard but in the end I decided to go with those that I re-read on a (fairly) regular basis. I think this list is a bit predictable and I am sure many of you will have read most of these but here they are anyway:
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Fabulous writing, love the humour, brilliant characters – it makes me smile every time I read it and every time I get something more from it. I have read all Jane Austen’s novels and enjoyed all of them but only re-read this one.
Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
I think this is on a lot of women’s lists as a favourite. I like the dark Gothic style, I like that the ‘plain’ woman gets the man and I love the whole mysterious plot. I am a big Daphne Du Maurier fan and I sometimes think she is underrated – most of her novels are enjoyable and interesting and she certainly didn’t follow a formula.
The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham
I am not generally a lover of science fiction but this story which I first read as a teenager grabbed form the start. I re-read it quite often and still enjoy the story and the descriptions. I think there are some powerful ‘word pictures’ in this novel and the part where London is described as a crumbling mausoleum a few years after the disaster is just so evocative – to me anyway. Despite not reading a lot of science fiction all of John Wyndham’s novels appeal to me – he is a great story teller.
Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres
A more contemporary book this time – I love the way this is written, the different viewpoints and voices and of course the love story that runs through it all. After reading this I read Louis De Bernieres first three books, The War of Don Emmanuel’s Nether Parts, Senor Vivo and The Coco Lord and The Troublesome Offspring of Cardinal Guzman and heartily recommend these too.
The Time Traveler’sWife by Audrey Niffenegger
What can I say about this book – just gorgeous, clever and I cried buckets the first time and the second time I read it! Hope it makes me cry when I read it again.
The Seduction of Mrs.Pendlebury by Margaret Forster
Margaret Forster is a brilliant writer and I recommend all of her novels (especially the earlier ones) and her non-fiction. This particular story about an elderly lady who likes to keep herself to herself is so sad and so true to life that it takes my breath away with its wonderful observations on ‘the human condition’.
Gentleman And Ladies by Susan Hill
A gentle story but also like the one above, in my opinion, a perfect observation of the vagaries of human nature.
Restoration by Rose Tremain
This is a historical story. Like science fiction I don’t read a great deal of historical fiction although there are a few which nearly made it onto this list e.g. Katherine by Anya Seton. Rose Tremain’s novels are all good but this is the best for me. Very stylish writing.
The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende
Overall Isabel Allende is my favourite author (I think!). House of Spirits is a magical mixture of romance, family life, history, cruelty, hope, despair and triumph. Please read it.
The Devil’s Feather by Minette Walters
So many books could have made this 10th spot including Katherine which I have sneaked in above and those ‘included’ below but if I am sticking to my policy of including books I re-read then I have to include Minette Walters. Crime is my favourite genre and, quite simply, I think she is the best of the best. These are probably not very ‘literary’ but are very well written. For me her books have unbeatable page ‘turnability’, great plots and appealing characters. This is my favourite closely followed by The Ice House and Fox Evil.
I am slightly surprised at the number of female authors here because I don’t consciously choose to read books by women and certainly read a lot of male authors. The first 3 books on the list were teenage reads that left a lasting impression and I have another favourite read from that era (I am a little reluctant to admit to re-reading this occasionally though!). As a teenager I loved school stories and would pick these up at second hand bookshops whenever I could. There is one that I still own and still love! It’s called The Fourth and Fenella and is by Mary Gervaise. The book has a wonderful plot and is the story of a feisty 14 year old who is sent to boarding school by her long suffering older sister and guardian. Once there she is extremely rebellious and her adventures involve Russian Bolsheviks, recovered fortunes and resurrected reputations and romance (for her sister) – wonderful stuff!
I love this list! The Time Traveler’s Wife is one of my favourite books and I loved The Day of the Triffids and Rebecca. I haven’t read any of the others, but almost all are on my TBR pile. The House of Spirits and Restoration are especially appealing.
A big thank you to Jacqui for sharing her favourites!
Do you love any of these books?
Which appeals to you most?