Inspired by BBC2’s programme from March this year, I would like you all to define your life in books.
As a tie-in to World Book Night, BBC2 showed ‘My Life In Books’ for a fortnight where 2 celebrities chose 5 books that they feel have changed their life. One should be a book from childhood, another one which is a guilty pleasure and then three others. If you want to join in, please comment on this post.
- Childhood book: ‘Fantastic Mr Fox’ by Roald Dahl. I have read this book throughout my childhood and even now, at the ripe old age of 27, I still find it funny and moving. As with most of Dahl’s books, the characters are beautifully described and I am sure that I will still be reading it on my deathbed.
- ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ by Harper Lee. I had to read this book for my English GCSE and I really railed against it. I found the frequent analysis boring and was desperate to finish the book. However, revisiting the book for pleasure made me realise how utterly moving and important the themes of the book are. Obviously, it is a story about civil rights but it is also about standing up for your beliefs and what it’s like to be an outsider.
- ‘A Thousand Splendid Suns’ by Khaled Hosseini. After reading ‘The Kite Runner’, I was astounded to hear people say this novel was even better so I had to give it a whirl. It is one of the most moving novels I have ever read. Not only does Hosseini describe Afghanistan beautifully but I also felt I learnt a lot by reading this book. For years, we have all been bombarded with images of Afghanistan through the Western world’s news reporting but this book helped me see the culture and place through totally new eyes. It is a wonderful portrayal of female friendship as well as brutally honest accounts of domestic violence and war.
- ‘The Help’ by Kathryn Stockett. This novel is infused with humour alongside very serious issues of segregation and civil rights. The characters are so well written that they leap off the page. Written partly in dialect, this book is an absolute gem.
- Guilty pleasure: ‘House Rules’ by Jodi Picoult. I avoided Jodi for as long as I could, mistakenly thinking all of her books are about medical dilemmas. It was only after going to a writer event where I was given this book that I realised Jodi deals with moral dilemmas, not necessarily medical. Most of the books I’ve since read by Ms Picoult feature a detective and a court case but the subjects are wide-ranging. ‘House Rules’ centres on a boy with Asperger’s Syndrome who is accused of murder. If you were to read a lot of Picoult’s books, I would recommend you space other things between them as they can seem formulaic but easy reads nonetheless.