MY life in books

Have you seen it? Just witnessing Anne Robinson not being wicked with a wink is worth it.

The idea is this – “Each guest will make five choices, from fairy tales to biographies and poetry, which illustrate aspects of their childhood, as well as crucial moments of their personal and professional lives.”

So far my favourite guest has to be the thinking person’s crumpet Trevor McDonald.

Sure I may be swayed by his choices being linked to journalism… but still. Good stuff. It’s like being part of a book club only I can sit here in my pjs, with a cuppa and just spy on the reading choices of other people.

Anywho. It got me thinking. REALLY thinking. What would my 5 books be? And in honour of it being World Book Day tomorrow I decided to dust off my shelves…

1.) Childhood.

Tinker and Tanker in Africa.

This was a tough choice! My childhood memories are packed with bedtime stories and happily spending hours on the beanbag inside my “fort,” my bookshelf barricade.

I suppose it won because it makes me think of my Mum who was born in Africa. Tales of lions and adventures are great for children at any age but knowing my own Mum had been there, done that, just makes it all the more special.


2.) Growing Up.


I believe good books are more than just the pages they are written on. Whether the lines become quotes which become part of your everyday… or if they change the way you look at things.

For me 1984 did more than either of these things – it changed the way I looked at books. It showed me that they can be more than just a way to escape from the everyday, but that they can comment on the everyday. And after that I was smitten, or rather bitten, by the book-reading-bug.

3.) Young adult.

World’s Wife

If a good book is about it becoming part of your everyday then The World’s Wife is a great one. I think I first came across it at A level and it hasn’t left me yet! Carol Ann Duffy twists tales of famous men and really exploits the concept that “behind every great man is a woman.”

Take the poem Mrs Darwin..

Mrs Darwin
7 April 1852
Went to the Zoo.
I said to Him— Something about that Chimpanzee over there reminds me of you.

It’s simple, it’s witty and it is clever. What more can you ask for?

4.) Lifechanging.

The Passion of New Eve

This is not an easy book. Eve begins the tale as Evelyn, an Englishman, and ends it as Eve. A new woman. The depth of Carter’s writing goes beyond anything I have ever experienced. It keeps giving. I don’t think it is possible to wear it out, to take all the meaning or to understand it completely and that is what makes it life changing. I was lucky enough to study it at university and found a theme of my own amongst it’s many layers. Writing that essay still stands as one of the most enjoyable things I have ever done. And the icing on the cake? The feedback from my lecturer said simply – “Have you considered doing a Masters?”

5.) Guilty pleasure.

Harry Potter

Guilty? Because it is mainstream, popular and generally.. and in my opinion.. wrongly labelled a “children’s book.” Not that there is anything wrong with this label. Just the snobbery which comes with it.

Pleasure? Because of the world JKRowling manages to wrap around the shoulders of the reader. I consumed each one as if words were due to become extinct. And then I passed them over to my Dad who did the same. As a result they became more than books (notice a theme here?) but they became another link in my precious relationship with my Dad.

I do wish it had been possible to own the books in the covers designed by M S Corley (above right) however because they are beautiful!



  1. Pingback: Book recommendations needed! | writestitchup

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