If you had asked me as a young girl what my favourite book was, I would have had no hesitation in name this one. I read it dozens of time throughout my childhood and never tired of the adventures of Moon Face, Silky and Dame Washalot. I was captivated by the ever-changing lands at the top of the tree and marvelled at the imagination of the author who was so adept at holding my attention. Unfortunately, I no longer have a copy of it but will one day get round to replacing it.
Can anybody have one favourite book? I’m not sure. Our tastes change over the years as we mature as readers, and what we enjoyed in our teens/early twenties may not quite hit the mark as we get older. However, some books endure and these are my favourite books so far, listed roughly in the order I first read them. With the exception of the first one, they are all still on my bookshelf.
If I was forced to name just one favourite book, then it would have to be this one. I was required to read it at school for O Level and our teacher would stand at the front and lead us all in a rendition of Beasts of England before the lesson began. Boxer, the horse, is a tragic character and he even gets a mention in The Letter, when Jackie names his horse after him. A political satire it may be, but it’s also a very entertaining yarn to be enjoyed on many levels.
I actually could have named almost all of the late, great Sidney Sheldon’s books in this list. I had to include him but it was so difficult to decide which one to choose. As a teenager I simply devoured all of his titles time and time again. It was as though no other author existed. A glamorous novel, studded with unforgettable characters and driven by revenge, I absolutely adore this book.
This is the only non-fiction book on my list and it’s quite a tome. It is an epic tale of three generations of Jung Chang’s family in China which is both educational and thoroughly riveting. At nearly 680 pages, it requires a huge investment of time but it is well worth it.
From its breathlessly exciting opening to its shocking climax, this novel held me spellbound throughout. The depiction of the Montana vista made me want to visit that State, the relationship Tom has with his horses made me want to own one and the superbly crafted prose and evocative descriptions made me want to write a book. Well, two out of three is not too bad. I have yet to own a horse.
This is a novel that requires more than one read through but that is no bad thing as you get to enjoy the superb writing skills of the author for a second time. Like Animal Farm, it is also an allegory and you can choose what to believe; the animal story or the human story. The writing is first-class and for me, well-deserving of the Booker Prize.
This book tells the story of Siamese twins, Rose and Ruby, who are joined at the head. It reads like an autobiography rather than a work of fiction and this is down to the author’s remarkable ability to perfectly capture what it feels like to be a conjoined twin. It is a truly heart-warming tale that I could not get out of my head for many weeks afterwards.