Since I was very young, I’ve always been a little bookworm. From my mum reading the first Harry Potter book to me and then reading the rest of the series myself to Louise Rennison’s Georgia Nicolson series (which, along with Meg Cabot’s The Princess Diaries, consumed my early teen years!) and many, many books since!
For this post, I will be listing the top 3 books of my life so far. I’ve actually given this a lot of thought! I wouldn’t like to rank them from most to least favourite but there is one that stands out as my ‘if I had to choose’ favourite book.
To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
Whilst staying with my grandparents a few years ago, I was perusing their extensive book collection and I happened upon my Grandad’s copy of To Kill a Mockingbird. It was a book I’d always wanted to read.
Some of my friends studied it in school and seem to have a love-hate relationship with it. Although, with this book, it pains me, I do understand. I have this with Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck; I love the story but after studying it for at least two years, I think I’ll have to give it a good 5 years before I can properly enjoy it again!
But when I read this book, I was doing my A-Levels and spending a lot of time on the train which was consequently the time I designated to reading.
As soon as I started reading it, I was hooked. I started reading as many reviews and essays that I could find, trying to understand the motifs and symbols as best I could. I might as well have studied it, I suppose!
Although I could write a lot about this book, I wanted to focus primarily on Jem Finch. Whilst reading it, I remember writing a tweet that said, “Jem Finch confuses and fascinates me and I love that.” Still stands! I remember thinking that he was such a complex yet admirable character and his growth is so evident in the story which I think is such an asset to the whole book.
The character and events surrounding Boo Radley and Tom Robinson. Both were characters who were discriminated against, one more severely than the other but both, in my opinion, are good, kind people. I think that this is incorporated in the messages of the book – morality, integrity, compassion and judgement. I also think this is summed up with the following quote:
“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” – Atticus Finch
I started reading the sequel, Go Set a Watchmen (which was actually written before To Kill a Mockingbird) and from what I’ve heard, the consensus on some of the characters is flipped. I’m finding it odd reading with Scout’s adult narration as opposed to her child voice in the first book but I’m intrigued and looking forward to the rest of the book!
To Kill a Mockingbird is the book I cherish and value the most. This may change but for the time being, it’s my favourite book.
That being said, the following books are close seconds.
The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
Although I said I would have to give Of Mice and Men a few years before I read it again, I studied The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold for my English Lang & Lit A-Level but I could read this book over and over again! That’s why I don’t have a picture of this book; my copy is stored in the loft and COVERED in notes!
This book is narrated by Susie Salmon from her heaven, following the lives of her friends and family after her death. The manner of her death is so awful and traumatic but I think the saddest part of the book is Susie’s awareness that everyone else can grow up, but she can’t.
I think this is what makes the novel so touching to me. I feel this especially through Susie’s sister, Lindsey, as she is now experiencing things that Susie will never be able to relate to. She’s also a really interesting character. Sebold presents her as so strong and determined after facing the death of her sister, as well as so many other difficult situations, including running close to Susie’s murderer and the ill-health of her father.
I won’t spoil the end but for me, it gave a sense of closure that I think was SO needed in this story, making it such a tragic, yet heart-warming and moving, book.
A Thousand Splendid Suns – Khaled Hosseini
Out of these three books, I read this one most recently. I started it a few years ago but with A-Levels and Uni, I never found the time to finish it. When I picked it up again, I couldn’t put it down.
This book has definitely left a lasting impact on me. I think it gives a fascinating insight to a different culture and it also has a historical aspect with depictions of war in Afghanistan which obviously interests me, being a history student.
For me, the most important part of this book is the sacrifices and troubles faced by women, especially the character of Mariam. As a feminist, the oppression of women and their (less obvious but definitely still there) rebellion against this is displayed so well by Hosseini through the relationship between Laila and Tariq and Mariam and Laila standing up for each other against Rasheed.
I highly recommend reading this book. It’s inspiring yet heart-breaking and a book everyone should read.
So that concludes my three favourite books for my life so far! Leave me a comment if this list contains any of your favourite books! Feel free to comment your favourite books or any recommendations – I’m always looking for more books to read!