The books of my life.
I’ve always loved books. Life has sometimes slowed my passion for reading, mainly when I fall asleep before I get through the first paragraph attempted, but they’ve always been an important part of my existence.
There are many books that have had an impact on me down the years so this is not an exhaustive list.
This is not a review of those books in the conventional sense. Each accompanying text reflects a thought, memory or feeling from the time I read that particular book.
You’ll note the affiliate links supporting the description of each book. It’s important to disclose that I make a small fortune (I don’t really, it’s pennies) from each click and some commission on any purchase you make. It doesn’t cost you anything to click and there is no obligation to buy. Just so you know…
1. The Silver Sword
I didn’t actually read this book.It was read to me when I was nine years old by a Wakefield Girls High School student on a work experience placement. She was probably around fifteen years of age. The book captivated my attention, so did she.
The Silver Sword is by far the best book, written for children, I’ve ever experienced. These days there are all sorts of wonderful, clever and imaginative options for children. This story of four homeless friends attempting to travel through a Europe ravaged by war in the hope of being reunited with their parents in Switzerland stands at least the equal of any of them.
My relationship with the work placement student was doomed to failure. I remember her telling me she was travelling to the United States in the Summer, once her time at our school was complete. At the time I fully expected her to invite me to come along but, alas, she never did.
I think of her from time to time but I think about the Silver Sword more.
2. The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole aged thirteen and three quarters
Like many others of a similar age, I’ve grown up with Adrian Mole. I was devastated to learn of the death of Sue Townsend as it meant that there would be no more books in the Adrian Mole series.
Those who know me may disagree but I’ve always felt I have much in common with Adrian Mole. Both of us are frustrated, unpublished, writers. We’ve both punched well above our weight with at least one partner and each of us spend far too much time thinking about nothing in particular. I was always less spotty than him though.
I’ve read many of the Adrian Mole books again in recent years. They’re works of genius. Sue Townsend writes the kind of books I’d like to be able to write and Adrian Mole is someone I’m lucky to have had in my life all these years. I miss him.
3. From Here to Eternity
From Here to Eternity is the first book in a trilogy and is the best book I’ve ever read. It’s also the only book I ever shoplifted.
We were about to go on a family holiday and my Dad had given me some money to go into town and buy some reading material for the journey. For some reason, as I selected From Here to Eternity from the shelf, I didn’t make my way to the till. Instead I slipped it up my jumper and spent the next hour wondering round the shop before I was sure nobody had seen me.
The money I’d been given was then spent in the local Wimpy on a burger and fries. Sorry Dad.
4. One Day
This book made me fall in love with one of the main characters and made me want to be the other. So much of it reminded me of my own relationships, good and bad. It also made me cry and feel sad for weeks.
In fact I was quite angry with the author, David Nicholls, for upsetting me the way he did. If I ever meet him I shall give him a piece of my mind.
It’s a perfect ‘holiday read’ but probably best to wait until you get home to read the end.
5. The Moon’s a Balloon
By far the best autobiography I’ve ever read. This is David Niven’s story in his own words, tracking his journey to the pinnacle of Hollywood superstardom.
I’ve always been fascinated by stories of the ‘old time’ Hollywood stars and life during the golden age of motion pictures. David Niven knew them all. He shared a house with Errol Flynn for a period and used to spend weekends fishing with Clark Gable.
I read this when I was supposed to be revising for my G.C.S.E. examinations. David Niven is solely responsible for my failure to do as well as I should have done.
6. The Book Thief
Pushes ‘From Here to Eternity’ in the race for my favourite ever book but it’s the one I always recommend. I do that because I’ve never met anybody who didn’t love it once they’d read it.
It makes me think of my family. All the Slater clan are readers but, generally, with different tastes. This one was passed around the lot of us though. We all loved it.
If you’re considering reading one of the books on this list, start here. Unless, that is, you’re thirteen and three quarters. In which case you might be better starting elsewhere!
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