It will come as no surprise to you dear reader, that I harbor a serious addiction to books, I come from a long line of bookworms, my children have inherited the gene. Tis no bad thing.I love, love,love to read, I devour the written word as though it were Manna sent from the Gods, I was raised on a diet of Enid Blyton who allowed me to retreat into a world so far removed from my own, that as a shy and introverted child, I longed to linger in this fictional world where children actually had friends, wore gingham dresses, fairisle jumpers and went on the most amazing adventures on their bikes.I longed to be riding alongside them, wind blowing through my flaxen curly locks, to smugglers cave armed only with a super picnic of heaps of lettuce, bags of tomatoes, cooks ginger cake and lashings of ginger beer.Sadly it was a mere fantasy, I had straight dark brown hair, never had a bike and spent my days being picked on at the local comprehensive.Hey ho, I guess it was character building.Anyway! I digress! The point of this post is of course about my love of reading, one day recently I discovered that Simon Mayo on radio two hosts a ‘ desert Island books’ slot, as opposed to desert Island discs.He invited celebs to choose their favorite books and to chat a bit about them, so interesting! and I thought about some of my favorites and thus decided to do a blog post! ingenious mais oui?
So in no particular order, I present a section of my all time favorite reads, I must stress this is a very small selection, I could go on forever, but I have chosen the books that have stood out and I wont or cant part with! I am discovering new books every day, new authors who captivate me and make me laugh or cry, Oh the mighty power of the word! so here we go;
If I were on a Desert Island, my chosen books would be, in no particular order;
1.The secret diary of Adrian Mole aged 13 3/4 by Sue Townsend.
Written in 1982 in the midst of Thatchers Britain, this Diary was surely the forerunner for many others written in this format such as our beloved Bridget Jones, Sue Townsend was a magnificent writer, I have read all of her books Adrians diaries continued for many years each time giving a humorous yet poignant view of life through the eyes of a young man and his journey through life.This book was one of the first books that mad em e laugh out loud whilst reading, on reflection it is a brutally honest history book.Adrian Mole has a permanent place in my heart.
2.Cold comfort farm.By Stella Gibbons.
I read this book so long ago and it remains a joy to read,first published in 1932, in my opinion way ahead of its time ,it is the story of Flora Poste a young woman sadly orphaned, who goes to live with her much poorer relatives on cold comfort farm, Of course the family are mad as a box of frogs! from Great Aunt Ada Doom who saw something nasty in the woodshed, to Amos who found religion and who can forget the cousins of Flora, Seth and Ruebin, smoldering with sexuality! it is so funny! of course our heroine Flora arrives just in time to restore order at cold comfort farm.
3.The country girls, by Edna O’Brien.
Be still my beating heart.I read this as a very young woman, Edna O’Brien very quickly became a favorite author, this beautiful story of young girls Kate and Baba growing up in Dublin, of first love and of loss, friendship and naivety, in parts this story absolutely broke my heart, I felt the pain of Kates envy of the beautiful Baba, her unrequited love for the narcissistic Mr Gentleman, the girls story continued into ‘the girl with green eyes’ and ‘girls in their married bliss’ but for me this first book remains a favorite.
4.Heartburn by Nora Ephron.
Nora Ephron was the screen writer behind the likes of ‘when Harry met Sally’ and ‘sleepless in Seattle’ She was an amazing writer and very funny, I do have a few of her books which are very funny, but this one I love because basically it is Noras own story.Published in 1983 it tells the story of a high profile couple Rachel and Mark, who are going through a marriage break up, it is actually autobiographical and tells of the break up of Nora’s own marriage to Carl Bernstein, his affair with Margaret Jay features largely in the story. Although Nora makes the story amusing, her pain to me is almost palpable, the book was made into a movie with Meryl Streep and Jack Nicholson eventually. The book is at once funny and sad, only Nora Ephron could find the humor in the darkest of times.
5.Nella Lasts war.
In 1939 as part of a mass observation project by the government, housewife nella Last began a diary that lasted thirty years, she lived in Barrow in Furness and although originally the purpose of the diary was to chronicle the effect of war on the average person, Nella found a kind of respite in her writing, her writing is as relevant today as it was then, Women then faced the same challenges we do now, although much has changed for women of course, I felt a sense of nothing changes fundamentally, it is fascinating and I became extremely fond of Nella. This book was also made into a movie featuring our beloved Victoria Wood, called housewife 49, I could not imagine anyone else in the role.
6.Behind the scenes at the museum by Kate Atkinson.
This is one book I can happily read over and over again, the prose is just beautiful, it is ultimately a story of a family narrated in the first person by Ruby Lennox, it is a tale of love and of losss of family life, Ruby’s Mother Bunty is permanently dissatisfied with life in a flat above the pet shop in Museum gardens with husband George and their children, she would much rather be Vivien Leigh, there is both laughter in tears in this novel and a massive twist in the tail which we should have seen coming but I for one didn’t!
7.Eat, pray,love by Elizabeth Gilbert.
Who doesn’t love this one! This book has become like a bible to so many, Liz Gilbert was a woman in her thirties living the seemingly perfect life, great husband, fabulous home, but not happy, after a bitter divorce she sets off on a journey to find out what is missing in her life.She takes us to Italy, India and finally Bali where she meets a toothless medicine man who reveals a new road for her. Every page is just a delight, again I can re read this one again and again! Elizabeth Gilbert is a very wise woman and her words resonate with me on so many levels.
So there you have it! my list could go on forever! I have so many favorite books this is really just the tip of the iceberg! I would love to hear what your desert Island books are, all I need now is a desert Island, well a girl can dream!