One of the questions I ask many of the authors I interview is ‘if you were only allowed to own three books, which three would you pick?’ I know, it’s a wicked question but it always yields such an interesting answer. Of all the times I have asked this question, I have never had the same selection of books (very rarely do people pick the same books at all.)
It got me thinking which three I would pick. It is so hard to decide on just three and in the end, I just picked three from my list that really meant something specific to me. (although it would have been easy for me to just say all the Harry Potter novels as I love them.)
Which three would you pick?
Meet the residents of 31 Almanac Road …
Ralph and Smith are flatmates and best mates – until, that is, the gorgeous Jemima moves in. And suddenly they’re bickering about a lot more than who drank the last beer. Of course, Jem knows that one of them is the man for her – but is it Ralph or Smith?
Upstairs, Karl and Siobhan have been happily unmarried for fifteen years – until, that is, Cheri moves into the flat above theirs. Cheri’s got her eye on Karl and doesn’t see why she should let a little thing like his girlfriend stand in her way …
Sooner or later its all got to come to a head – and what better place for tears and laughter, break ups and make ups than Ralph’s party?
The first one I thought of when thinking about this question was Ralph’s Party. A friend recommended this novel to me. This was the first of Lisa’s novels I read and it was the beginning of a life long love of her novels. I adore this book. It focuses on the five people living at 31 Almanac Road but the main story is about Ralph and Jem and their blossoming love story. These two characters were perfect in my opinion.
When I read this book, I had just started going out with my husband (we had been friends for a few years prior,) and I read the majority of this novel whilst I was on a coach on my way to Yorkshire to see him. I don’t remember much of the long journey and for once, I didn’t mind the traffic jams on the M1 because I was so engrossed in this novel. It makes me think of a very exciting time in my life and so I will always have a sentimental pull to this book and must therefore always own a copy. Oh, and the cover is one of my favourites. I love Lisa’s later cover designs but I will always have a soft spot for these early ones. They are all very romantic.
In the nursery, only the toys that are old and wise truly understand what it means to be Real. The Velveteen Rabbit, a newcomer to the nursery, asks one of the most knowledgeable toys, the Skin Horse, what being real means. “Real isn’t how you’re made,” says the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become real. It doesn’t happen all at once. You become . . .” And so begins the Velveteen Rabbit’s journey towards becoming real – through the love of a child.
Again this was another book that immediately came to mind. I was quite late to this beautiful story. I don’t think I read it until I was in my early twenties. I really do wish I had it in my life whilst I was a child. There is something I find so magical about this story and I read it every time I feel really down as it never fails to cheer me up. I suffer with anxiety and it really does help me.
This book has such a lovely, universal message. My favourite part is when the skin horse explains to the rabbit how toys become real. It’s just so beautifully written and this is one of the books I will be passing down to my child if I ever have one. I think every child should have this book (and adults too.) Reading The Velveteen Rabbit is good for my soul and now I know about it, I never want to not own it.
Lou Suffern wishes he could be in two places at once. His constant battle with the clock is a sensitive issue with his wife and family.
Gabe wishes he was somewhere warm. When Lou invites Gabe, a homeless man who sits outside his office, into the building and into his life, Lou’s world is changed beyond all measure…
An enchanting and thoughtful Christmas story that speaks to all of us abut the value of time and what is truly important in life.
The third book that came to mind was The Gift by Cecelia Ahern. Firstly, I love Cecelia’s books and secondly, I am completely obsessed by Christmas so The Gift didn’t have to work very hard to get my attention when it was released in 2008. This book is so romantic and whimsical and just outright heartbreaking. It captures Christmas well and it makes me feel festive.
Lou’s story really does make you realise how much we take for granted – the biggest thing being time. Lou is always wishing he can be in two places at once without realising that one place holds so much more importance over the other and that the wrong priorities are getting his attention. I have certainly been guilty of that at various points in my life and, like Lou in The Gift, I have sometimes not realised until it was too late.
In my opinion, this is so beautifully written and it holds such an important message (a message that really resonates with me.) I try to re-read this book every Christmas as it reminds me to appreciate what’s around me and to try not to take it too much for granted especially as things can change in an instant. When I am letting a load of things worry me and make me anxious, this book helps pull things back into perspective.