Reading is one of the things I really love to do to relax and I’ve enjoyed reading since I was really quite young. So I thought I’d take a trip down memory lane and look at my absolute favourite books from the different stages of my life. I like to think of these as the books responsible for my love of reading.
- Primary school days: The Mystery of the Spiteful Letters, Enid Blyton
If you didn’t read Enid Blyton’s mystery books as a child then you, quite simply, missed out. I loved all of her books, but the mystery ones were my absolute favourites. I loved the romanticised picture of the old days, where petty crime was the only bad thing that happened, where teenagers were cleverer than adults, where everyone drank Ginger Ale and rode bicycles everywhere. And the one book that topped them all? The Mystery of the Spiteful Letters. Who even knew this was a real crime?! It was a great mystery though, and I still remember who did it!
- Early teens: The Boyfriend Club series, Janet Quin Harkin
This is a slightly embarrassing confession. I was clearly becoming interested in boys at this age, and ended up buying most of “The Boyfriend Club” series. I really identified with these four American girls who became friends when they joined a new high school together. They didn’t quite fit in with any other group (certainly not the cool kids), but they were fun and quirky, and although I didn’t do quite as well in the high-school boyfriend stakes as they did, I definitely wanted to believe that I would! I soon moved out of this literary phase, but I still have a soft spot for some cheesy chick lit.
- Late teens: Harry Potter, J K Rowling
Nothing to be embarrassed about here. The Harry Potter series, I’m sure, will be a timeless classic. I think I loved it so much because it reminded me a little of the Enid Blyton school books I used to love, but with an amazing magical twist. After catching up with the first 3 (I was a little late to the party) I remember buying “The Goblet of Fire” on the day of release and I read it all in a single day. It was a great day! I don’t think I’ll ever grow out of Harry Potter.
- Early Twenties: Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
I can remember the first time I read this book. I found it so unbelievably romantic and I thought I was exactly like Elizabeth Bennett. I actually couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve read it since but it’s more than a few, and I think that is the sign of a great book. It will always have a place in my heart.
- Late twenties: Gone with the wind, Margaret Mitchell
What came before this book was a really, really long break from reading. I think this was because I’d started working life and had much less time to spare, and being the ambitious person I was I spent my “reading time allowance” reading text books as part of professional courses I was taking. Reading for pleasure had dropped off my radar altogether, so when I picked up Gone with the Wind (which had been on my bookshelf for years) I was so surprised at how much I enjoyed it! I remember being quite emotional at the way it ended and thinking about it for days after. And I can definitely thank this book as the one that got me into reading again.
- Early thirties: ??
It is too soon to tell what the defining book of my early thirties will be, but I am enjoying all sorts at the moment. I still love a classic romance of course, but if you look at all the book reviews I have written on here you’ll see I’m not just sticking to one genre. At the moment I’m reading the Silmarillion, which is heavy going but great for any LoTR fans. And I’ll always love a bit of Harry Potter.
What have been your ultimate favourite books over the years?
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