‘A book collection is a biography undergoing constant revision.’
– Ryan Williams
I would like to point out that ‘bookshelf’ is completely misleading.
Oh, I have bookshelves. But the volume of books exceeds the capacity of the bookshelves, so they, er, accumulate – in the manner of dust – on any available surface, including but not limited to under the bed(s), on my desk, on top of my wardrobe, on top of the bookcases, in my drawers (I had the strangest image just now of a pair of bloomers filled with books…I’ve decided not to let this worry me), in other people’s rooms, in other people’s bookcases, in airing cupboards, in shelves over the stairs…oh dear, I’m beginning to feel some sympathy for my parents. My need for books tests their tolerance, and they are both extremely forbearing people. Oops.
The following is a really small selection of books I read again and again, or have done in the past, in no particular order, mentioned for no other reason except that they are what currently come to mind. It is by no means either complete or even representative:
- Ella Enchanted (Gail Carson Levine): I love this book to pieces. I have read it times beyond count, and every time I read it, I love it a little more. Ella = made out of awesome. Cover = gorgeous = WIN.
- The Seer and the Sword (Victoria Hanley): Ditto what I said about Ella Enchanted. Serious love. I love Landen’s character, and Dahmis’. Reading this makes you believe in human chivalry, and at the risk of sounding corny, it’s just inspiring. You want to be Landen. I used to hate that name before I read this book.
- Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen): You didn’t think I could leave this out, surely? Austen fangirl because she is hilarious but also full of soul. Despite this, I think Sense and Sensibility was better overall, and Mr Knightley beats Mr Darcy, hands down. And Jane, not Lizzy, wins the show in P&P.
- Daughter of the Land (Gene Stratton Porter): This is a book for Tough Times. It’s the book that tells you, ‘when you’re going through hell, keep going’ – a lifeline of sorts, if you need determination and resolve and serious spine.
- A Little Princess (Frances Hodgson Burnett): I recently tracked down the edition of this that I used to read (I may have been the only person who took it out of the library EVER). In case you wanted to know, it’s the edition illustrated by Graham Rust. I still dream in those pictures sometimes.
- The Heartstone Odyssey (Arvan Kumar): Ah, Heartstone Odyssey, what a heartbreaker and soulshaker you have been! Readers, I can’t explain to you what it was like, having first read this when I was 8 or 9 years old and it was shiny and freshly-published – in a world without internet and author websites – to wait SO HARD for the two promised sequels of this amazing story. And I waited – oh how I waited! And about ten agonising years later, I finally realised that despite its promises, there was never going to be even one sequel. This was my first love and my first heartbreak, a book both great and good: it had a beautiful and alluring cover, talking mice, magic, Indian lore and dancing, racist England in the 90s, crows and thugs, horror and darkness, mystical histories and fudge, elephants and porcupines who painted them…I need to re-read this book. Sigh.
- The Magic Ring (Robert Chandler): A probably-obscure collection of Russian folktales, read and re-read to the point it has become part of our family history. You only need to say ‘Zdanka the cow’ in a Slavic accent for us all to fall about laughing like loons on loon tablets.
- The Farseer Trilogy/Tawny Man Trilogy (Robin Hobb): What can I say about these? I loved them and this kind of book/series is the reason fantasy has the one-up on any other genre. There are books you read, and you feel that sense of ‘I have lived a thousand lives’. Not yet re-read, but I’m saving it for an epic one.
- Codex Alera (Jim Butcher): After the Farseers, what could even come close? This did. And just like the Farseer books totally took my aversion to dragons and fed it to the crows, the Codex Alera did the same with my antipathy to Roman military history (you would be the same if you had to study that darned stuff in LATIN, of all the heathen languages to study military history in…also, please! Military history? Why!!? I can just about deal with my shoelaces, I can’t deal with legions and stuff). I’m actually interested in it, these days. A completed series.
Since the above completely ignores authors/series I generally read, follow and fangirl, here is another list that is, again, by no means complete, representative, or in any significant order:
- Diana Wynne Jones
- Terry Pratchett
- Jasper Fforde
- Susanna Clarke
- Kristen Britain
- Chris Wooding
- Sarah Dessen
- Catherine Gilbert Murdock
- Maggie Stiefvater
- Lemony Snicket
- Eoin Colfer
- Anthony Horowitz
- L M Montgomery
- Louisa May Alcott
- Jane Austen
- Fruits Basket by Natsuki Takaya
- Ranger’s Apprentice by John Flanagan
I have no doubt that I will regularly add to and change this page. I’ve also never kept track of exactly which books I’ve read when, and my 2010 mission is to keep a record – thus, a Goodreads page specifically for the purpose of chronicling! And to confirm that yes, I am often lacking in taste. 😄