Friday 18 July 2014

52 Lists - Your Favourite Books

This is a really difficult prompt - where on earth do you start choosing just a few?
52 Lists - Your Favourite Books
So instead of this post being all of my favourite books, here's a selection of some of my favourite books, starting from the bottom of the pile...
Rent by Jonathan Larson
This is the book of the cult musical - scripts, history, cast, rehearsal pictures, anything and everything you ever wanted to know about the show is in here. I first saw Rent back in 1998 in the West End and like pretty much most of my GCSE Drama class, we fell in love.
I bought the book from London's famous (and sadly now closed) Dress Circle shop near Seven Dials and when I went to New York in 2002, I took a list of all the places in the East Village which were mentioned in the show and did my own little tour.
I love this book for the memories it holds; the times me and my classmates used to play 'guess the next line', the times we'd ask it a question, let the pages fall open and use it like a magic 8 ball and the times we'd pore over every last line of the script memorising it till we knew every word (and still do now, 16 years on).
Our True Intent is All for Your Delight: The John Hinde Butlin's Photographs by Martin Parr
I grew up fascinated by Butlins; it was a magical place I wasn't allowed to visit. I read Billy Butlin's autobiography at uni and fell in love with the story of the John Hinde photographs and the colourful 60s life they depicted (50% fake of course).
I always wanted this book but it was really expensive (well, £25 on a book is a lot when you're young) and then Andrew bought it for me the second Christmas we were together.
Tristan and Yseult by Kneehigh Theatre
Another show I fell in love with when I first saw it back in 2003 - this book has the scripts from that show and two of their other ones. They first premiered the show at Restormel Castle in Cornwall 11 years ago, did it the following year at the Minack Theatre and the Eden Project and then in 2005, won themselves a run at the National Theatre on South Bank. I went to London to see the opening night of the show and bought their newly-published script book from the theatre shop.
I adore every word, sentence and paragraph of the script; the poetry and atmosphere created by the writers Carl Grose and Anna Maria Murphy is just magical and every time I flick through the pages, I can see what it was like that June night back in 2003.
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
It looks like I've thumbed the pages rather a lot but I've actually only read the story about 2 or 3 times. We had to study the tale of Heathcliff and Cathy during GCSE English Literature and I spotted this copy on a book stall at a fete in my home town at the start of May half term. I then spent the whole of my week getting stuck into the story (being taken round the Isle of Mull in a motorcaravan on holiday at the same time) and when I got back to school I was pretty much the only person in the class to have read the whole book. It was my English teacher's favourite book as well and I think it helped that I had a bit of a minor crush on him!
Junk by Melvin Burgess
I think I first read this from my school library; I worked in the library at lunchtimes and some of the books had warnings on them not to be lent out to the younger students. I had to help unpack the new books and add the stickers to them so I was one of the first people to get my hands on it.
It's set on the streets of Bristol (which wasn't too far away) and I loved the characters; Tar, Gemma and Lily are all so brilliantly depicted and you can really imagine the storyline quite vividly.
I bought this copy at the end of our summer holiday in Scotland from one of those cheap bookshops (like County Bookstores or The Works nowdays) in Glasgow and then read it for the second time all round Strathclyde Country Park. I've read it several times since which you can probably tell from how worn it looks!
Ring of Bright Water by Gavin Maxwell
I read this when I was a child and loved the true stories of living with otters in Scotland. We used to go to Scotland every year for our summer holiday so it was quite relevant to places we'd actually visited.
When me and Andrew planned a fortnight's touring trip up above the border back in 2009, I thought I should probably re-read the book before we headed off and managed to stumble across this vintage copy (plus it's two sequels) in a boxed holder in a local charity shop. I never read the sequels (The Rocks Remain and Raven Seek Thy Brother) when I was young so I spent most of our two weeks up north reading through every page. This copy is illustrated as well so it brings the stories to life even more than just words.
Tales from the Faerie Queen
I'm not sure who wrote this but it belonged to my grandmother when she was a girl. It's a compilation of faerie stories, wicked witches and handsome princes and is beautifully illustrated on almost every other page. I've never even read all the way through but I love it just for the fact that it says 'Noreen Noon, Form II' in my grandmother's handwriting just inside the cover - she was born in 1926 so that would have made it about 1932 or 1933 when she was thumbing the pages dreaming about myths and monsters.
And a couple of books that aren't pictured - because I haven't yet bought copies of them...
Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin
I know I've mentioned this before but I love this book so much. I don't consider myself a religious person but I love the idea of the life after death she creates. I would so love it to be true!
The Declaration by Gemma Malley
If you ever want an idea of what life might be like if there was a cure for death, then this is the book for you. It's part of a trilogy and all three books are so well-written, incredibly believable and with storylines that are almost too close to the truth (stem cell research, for example). I love it for many reasons, but mainly for it's ability to narrate the detail of what life would be like if we all never died.
Have you read any of these? And what are some of your favourite books?
This post is part of Ema's (Made in Hunters) 52 Lists Project
For a full list of all the other lovely bloggy people taking part, visit Scarlett's site (WorkRestPlayLove) for a nosy!


  1. I don't know many of those - I should give some of them a go! Wuthering Heights was the first piece of classic literature I read so I do rather like it. Although I did read it in my v. early teens and didn't totally understand it - I got so confused with the names! Children taking the parent's name etc.

    1. Yep, I remember loving Wuthering Heights but finding some it so difficult to understand, re-reading sentences two or three or times! :-) xx

  2. I really enjoyed this post. I'm looking to break my habits and stem out to new reading material because I've re-read the Harry Potter series about 10 times (no joke) alongside my Ian Rankin collection and Mary Higgins Clarke books.
    I adore the look of the Tales from the Faerie Queen book, although I know we should never judge a book by it's cover! It sounds right up my street but probably hard to find. A fab book to have in your collection, especially with it coming from where it did :)

    1. I love the Faerie Queen book although I'm always a bit scared to flick through the pages, given the age of it! :-) xx

  3. I adore Junk - it's so wonderful. I haven't read it for at least 10 years but I can still see Lily vividly.

    1. Melvin Burgess was so good at creating those characters! I agree, Lily is one of the most vivid ones in the story :-) xx

  4. I first read Junk when I was a about 12, and ended up unknowingly re-reading it a decade later because I'd forgotten the title. The cover seemed familiar, but I didn't know for certain whether I'd read it until I got to the part with the girl wearing only a string vest; that image had stuck with me (in my teenage innocence) for the 10 years since I first read it.

    The Faerie Queen book looks stunning; how lovely that you have it to remember your grandmother by (including her handwriting!) xxx

    1. I don't know what it is but Junk is just such a wonderful book when it comes to character descriptions! It clearly has the same effect on everyone (see Beth above as well) :-) xxx


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