Today being World Book Day, Twitter is all a-buzz with people’s current reads (mine is Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert; disappointing so far, I have to say, since Eat, Pray, Love was a love of mine and it’s impossible not to compare), childhood reads (Daddy Long Legs by Jean Webster and anything that wasn’t age appropriate, like Flowers in the Attic by Virginia Andrews or a book called First Kiss which was confiscated from me in school, aged eight – oops!) and guilty pleasures (the Twilight series, and pleasure is an apt word… Oh, Edward. I love you and your sparkly skin.)
But I couldn’t possibly tweet my favorite book, because I have about twenty of them, and couldn’t choose.
So when you can’t tweet, you blog.
(All lists are in no particular order, despite the numbers…!)
My Favorite Authors
When these guys produce a new book – and for some unknown but slightly upsetting reason, they are all guys – I’m in Waterstones the day of publication with nothing but a clear schedule ahead of me so I can read it all in one sitting. I’ve read every single one of their books and should I ever be lucky enough to meet any of them (like I was with Sir Harlan Coben), hyperventilation will most likely occur. My favourite books of theirs – though I love them all – are in brackets.
- Michael Connelly (A Darkness More Than Night, The Poet)
- Harlan Coben (Gone for Good, Just One Look)
- Douglas Coupland (Microserfs, Girlfriend in a Coma, All Families Are Psychotic)
- Max Barry (Company)
- Wally Lamb (She’s Come Undone).
My Favourite Novels
Excluding any by the geniuses above, these are books that hit me like a sucker punch to the gut the first time I read them, the ones that I re-read whenever I can and the ones I recommend to people looking for a good book they can sink their teeth into. (Or in some cases, speed through on a transatlantic flight or cover in fingerprints of sunscreen by a poolside.)
- Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
- Nineteen Eighty Four by George Orwell
- We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Schriever
- Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris
- Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
- The Road by Cormac McCarthy
- The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
- The Stand by Stephen King
- The Reader by Bernard Schlink
- The Light of Falling Stars by J. Robert Lennon
My Favorite Non-Fiction
Anyone who knows me knows about my odd obsessions which come and go in phases, leaving their mark on my bookshelves. There was virology (which can be broken down further into the Ebola phase and the AIDS phase), Formula 1, mountaineering (still in that one), serial killers, 9/11, Disney’s Town of Celebration (which later doubled as Mousetrapped research), Paris and Savannah, Georgia, to name but a few. The biggest of these is, of course, NASA’s Apollo Program; although only three such books appear on this list I have a mini-library just for them.
- The Hot Zone by Richard Preston
- And The Band Played On by Randy Shilts
- Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
- A Man on the Moon by Andrew Chaikin
- Moondust: In Search of the Men Who Fell to Earth by Andrew Smith
- Apollo by Catherine Cox and Charles Murray
- The Celebration Chronicles by Andrew Ross
- Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt
- American Ground: Unbuilding the World Trade Center by William Langewiesche
- Into Thin Air by John Krakauer.
You can shop for all these and my other favourite reads on Amazon.co.uk here.