There have been periods in my life, as I am sure there have been in yours, where everything seems completely out of control – the amount of work to be completed never seems to diminish, family and social obligations require your time and attention in at least 5 places concurrently, and problem after problem seems to keep cropping up all over the place…the road has definitely been bumpy lately and all I want is for the world to stop spinning for one minute so that I can catch my breath.
It’s never all bad. You do find the pockets of happiness – a kind word here, a shared joke there, big hugs and warm smiles, good conversations and long walks…but sometimes the only thing that comforts and quiets your mind is retreating into the pages of a favourite book.
How does a bookworm choose a favourite book? When asked what my favourite reads are, I will more often than not quip back, that’s like asking a mother to choose her favourite child.
Yet, there are those books that I find myself returning to again and again – the one that reminds you what a wonderful world you live in (or offers you an escape from it); the one that tugs at your heartstrings and teaches you new lessons every time you re-read it; the one that demonstrates that there is no limit to the human imagination or spirit; and the one that tells you…appreciate what you have, cherish it, because it won’t last forever.
What follows is by no means a comprehensive list of favourite books (in no particular order), but these are all titles I turn to when I feel like the company of an old and dear friend, or when I just need to escape.
- The House of the Spirits (Isabel Allende) – magical realism, an eccentric family, turbulent times and wonderful characters.
- A Suitable Boy (Vikram Seth) – an intricately woven tale encompassing a multitude of characters. A story of love and family
- Pride & Prejudice (Jane Austen) – a timeless study of relationships and society…oh, and Mr Darcy!
- A Little Life (Hanya Yanagihara) – that book that is an emotional rollercoaster. The one that wrings out every single emotion in you before hanging you out to dry.
- The Lord of the Rings (JRR Tolkien) – fantasy fiction at its best
- The Know-it-All (A.J. Jacobs) – comedy gold, and you feel clever just reading it!
- Kafka on the Shore (Haruki Murakami) – surrealistic, quirky, and so much fun
- East of Eden (John Steinbeck) – my favourite sort of family epic
- A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry) – one of the most depressing but most beautifully written books ever written
- Doctor Zhivago (Boris Pasternak) – love, family, revolution, tragedy. My favourite Russian classic
- The Perks of Being a Wallflower (Stephen Chbosky) – a coming of age story for anyone who has ever felt like they don’t fit in