If you only ever read one book in your life…I highly recommend you keep your mouth shut – Simon Munnery
Do you remember the enthusiasm you had for books as a child? I do. Starting my new book as soon as it came out of the bag, reading all night, totally engrossed to the end, and then wishing I’d made it last longer. Right through school, books were my very favourite things.
At uni I studied English Literature and my main ‘responsibility’ was to digest three books a week. Proper books. Books by classic authors and literary geniuses. Joy!
Then real life started. Proper jobs. Then children. Proper responsibilities. Over the next ten years, spare time became a thing of the past. Or rather, decent blocks of spare time became a thing of the past. Now my book reading time barely spans ten minutes on a good day.
And so the internet, seductress of the time-poor has reeled me in, giving me the comparatively quick hit of blog posts, short stories and *hangs head* YouTube. My soft-back novels (several thousand of them) gather dust. My Kindle lies neglected. I need to read more books. I really do.
To give me the kick I need, to reignite my passion for books and to encourage me to just read more, here are my…
The premise is simple – share the three books you love most from your time as a child, adult and parent.
When I was small, my favourite author was Enid Blyton and my very favourite book was The Enchanted Wood, the first of four books in The Faraway Tree series.
It’s about three siblings – Jo, Bessie and Fanny (no giggling) – who discover a tree inhabited by (among others) a man covered in saucepans called, um, Saucepan Man, and another man with a moon-shaped, glowing face called, err, Moon-face.
At the top of the tree is a purple cloud and beyond that is a portal to limitless other worlds. The worlds above the cloud rotate so that it’s anyone’s guess where’ll you’ll end up when you start scaling the tree, and if you don’t come back in time, the worlds rotate again and you’re stuck in that world forever. HOW COOL IS THAT?!
Sometimes the worlds they end up in are nice but sometimes they’re actually rather terrifying. Seriously exciting for a young child to read, although I’m still a little scared of Dame Slap and her school for naughty pixies.
So, so tough to choose a favourite book, isn’t it? But I’m going to go with Slaughterhouse Five. It’s a strange mix of wartime drama, historical account, comedy, autobiography and sci-fi.
Billy Pilgrim is an American prisoner of war caught at the heart of the fire-bombing of Dresden during WWII (as Vonnegut himself was). He lives his life in a non-linear fashion, experiencing his life, loves and death in entirely the wrong order, punctuated by time on planet Tralfamadore, where he is exhibited in a zoo along with another human – a Hollywood movie star – Montana Wildhack.
The style of narrative and plot throw up fundamental questions about the accepted nature of literature, humanity and free will. I’d like to say more about it, but I don’t want to spoil the story. Just read it. You won’t regret it.
Our favourite book to read once JD is curled up under the covers and ready for story time is The Smartest Giant in Town.
It’s by the same genius lady that brought us The Gruffalo and The Snail and the Whale and is so much fun to read. Unlike some of her other stories, it doesn’t rhyme on every line. Instead you have a page or two of prose, and then a little song.
It’s about generosity over vanity. Kindness over skin deep beauty. Friendship over material possessions. In short, it’s a lovely message to go to sleep with. And being a Julia Donaldson book, it’s also beautifully illustrated by Alex Scheffler.
So there you have it, three books that hold a special place in my heart. What are yours?