“She’s always got her nose in a book.” How many times did I hear that growing up? Probably a million-trillion times. I love to read, and I never tire of re-reading my favourite books. To celebrate my love of all things books my next Listomania post is, you guessed it: Top 5 favourite books.
1. Stardust by Neil Gaiman
I picked this book up for cheap in one of those bargain bins, solely because I saw Neil Gaiman’s name on it. I had read his book American Gods and thought it was amazing. So I figured if he had written it, it must be good and happily, my theory paid off. I love this book. It’s a fairytale for adults, which appeals to the Peter Pan in me.
The story is about a boy who vows to retrieve a fallen star for the girl he loves and the people and things he meets on his journey to do so. I once lent it to a friend and when she gave it back to me she said “I felt like I was making the book dirty just by touching it”. I knew what she meant. It has a magical, pristine quality to it.
I’d steer clear of the movie version however – somehow the charming idiosyncrasies that make the book so delightful to read do not translate to the screen.
2. Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden
Australia gets invaded and a group of teenagers who were camping in the bush when the invasion occurs turn into guerrilla soldiers. This book is action-packed but what makes it more than just an action story is John Marsden’s ability to delve into the emotions of his characters, he really focuses on developing them throughout the series. He also has a strange understanding of the teenage female psyche – the book is told in first person from a girl’s perspective.
I first read this when I was about 15 or so, and I try and reread it (and the six books that followed) every year. Recently, this book was made into a movie. I went to a special screening of the movie which featured a Q&A and book signing with John Marsden afterwards. He was lovely – I totally geeked out about being in front of one of my favourite authors and couldn’t really say more than a shy ‘thank-you’ as he handed my signed book back to me.
3. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
[Spoiler alert] It’s been a few years now since I last picked this book up, but it’s one I first read as a kid and still love. I completely identified with Jo: a tomboy who loved to write and didn’t believe in romantic love, but who eventually gave in to the concept.
I think that fact that she didn’t end up with boy-next-door Laurie is one of life’s great unrequited love stories. I think he only married Amy (my least favourite March sister) so he could be near Jo forever. Sigh.
4. The Outsiders by S.E Hinton
Love this book – with characters named Sodapop, Ponyboy and Dally what’s not to love? I had to read this in high school and it’s probably the only book I read during school that I felt like I didn’t have to force myself to read. The themes of loyalty and family struck a chord with me.
Because it’s set in the ‘50s the story always seemed to me a look into what might have happened if the kids from Grease lived in a darker, parallel universe and Danny and Kenicke were Greasers and that weird crater-face dude who looked like he was 50 was a Soc. And the movie version – young Patrick Swayze, Tom Cruise (before the couch), Matt Dillon, Emilio Estevez, Rob Lowe – yes please! It was a happy day in English when we watched this movie.
5. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K Rowling
I was late to the Harry Potter bandwagon. I didn’t understand what all the fuss was about – so the first three books had already been published by the time I picked one up, but once I did I was hooked – and immediately on Harry’s side. They made him live under the stairs?? But now he gets to go to a school for Wizards? Cool!
This is my favourite out of the series because it’s when things start to get really serious in the fight against Voldemort and you can see J.K Rowling’s masterful plotting really starting to kick in. I also like that Harry is dark and chucks tantys in this book, it’s a nice realistic direction to take with the character development.
Also – are you on Twitter? If you are and you haven’t found him yet Lord Voldemort is on there too. And he’s hilarious!
What books can you read again and again? Or are you more of a ‘once it’s read it’s dead to me!’ kind of reader?
all images sourced from www.dymocks.com.au