My Favourite Books: Three Books I Couldn’t Be Without….

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?

 

Ralph's PartyRalph’s Party by Lisa Jewell (Penguin, May 1999.) 

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.

 

51RCwF6x5GLThe Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams (Egmont, New edition. September 2007.) 

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.

 

The GiftThe Gift by Cecelia Ahern (HarperCollins, October 2008.) 

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.

 

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Laura
I’m Laura. I started Novel Kicks in 2009. I wanted a place to post my writing as well as give other writers like me the opportunity to do the same. There is also a monthly book club, a writing room which features writing prompts, book reviews, competitions, author interviews and guest posts.

I grew up by the sea (my favourite place in the world) and I currently live in Hampshire. I am married to Chris, have a cat named Buddy and I would love to be a writer. I’m trying to write the novel I’ve talked so much about writing if only I could stop pressing delete. I’ve loved writing since creative writing classes in primary school. I have always wanted to see my teacher Miss Sayers again and thank her for the encouragement. When not trying to write the novel or writing snippets of stories on anything I can get my hands on, I love reading, dancing like a loon and singing to myself very badly. My current obsession is Once Upon a Time and I would be happy to live with magic in the enchanted forest surrounded by all those wonderful stories provided that world also included Harry Potter. I love reading chick lit. contemporary fiction and novels with mystery.

2 Responses to My Favourite Books: Three Books I Couldn’t Be Without….

  • First – your selections. My favourite quote ever is from the Velveteen Rabbit – even though I don’t remember ever reading it (the baby will be a great excuse, and I’m going to buy now): ‘Real isn’t how you’re made…’

    Love it.

    Secondly, I’m surprised with The Gift being on your list. It was great and I agree with everything you say, but I think not her best. Where Rainbows End and PS I Love you I personally think are better 🙂

    Now my choices. I know for a fact it would change almost daily, and change between spur of the moment decisions, and well thought out decisions. So, here’s my three spur of the moment choices (I may come back later with revised list):

    The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger (known so well, I can spell her surname without looking it up!): I think this the most romantic and heartbreaking novel ever. It perfectly sums up love, and has absolutely the best ending in the world, which gives me goosebumps (as I have now).

    Me Before You by Jojo Moyes: Again, romantic and heartbreaking. it’s written so well, and such a touching subject. I haven’t met a person who has read it and didn’t sob their hearts out at the end (I lie, I know one person, I think she has a heart of stone). – Laura if you still haven’t read it, read it, you will not regret it.

    The third is harder because I’ve read some really, really good books in the last year or so, and they’d probably take over this – but I said spur of the moment, so Spur of the moment:

    Twilight by Stephanie Meyer: I kind of hate myself for this – when I read it I wasn’t into YA (which I now am in a big way), and also it’s VAMPIRES. I’m so not into them – still now. But I think it’s written so real – and portrays falling in love for the first time as a teenager so so well. All my friends were on at me to read it, so I did, purely to prove that I’d hate it. I’ve never been so glad to have been proven wrong!

    • Laura says:

      Great choices. I totally agree about Me Before You and can’t wait for After You. Maybe this one will make me cry. I tried reading The Time Traveler’s Wife but couldn’t get on with it. I am planning on trying again.

      I love Where Rainbows End and it was a tough choice but I think I chose The Gift as I try to go back to it every year and it’s Christmas. 🙂

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