Picture by Claire Johnson

My Life in Books

A novel is very personal. It can capture an imagination. Take a reader on a journey. Influence thought. Be a friend, a comfort. Novels are wonderful things.

Throughout my life I have always had a overly keen interest in them. Here are the ones that I recommend. The ones that have had a profound impact on my thoughts. The ones that you should read. Right now, well, after reading this post.

1) Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh

Brideshead Revisited is by far my favourite. Set in the 1920s between the World Wars, it depicts a time of wealth, glamour and how it’s all to change. Waugh creates a beautiful scene of post-war glamour. The overtly descriptive prose, which even Waugh has criticised, is part of what I love about it. It sets the scene of indulgence and decadence.

The characters that Waugh has created are the perfect combination of eccentric, cynical, hilarious and beautiful. Each character has it’s unique traits that add further depth to the novel.

The story, although immensely tragic, is captivating throughout. I won’t say too much as I want you to read it. However, it does have a strong sense of nostalgia and a recurring theme of religion.

2) Harry Potter – J K Rowling

It doesn’t matter which Harry Potter book you read, as I would recommend reading them all, and then re-reading them. Her writing may not be filled with beautiful prose but she is funny, sharp and can create a world that is more magical than any Disney story.

Reading the books, you’ll be heartbroken that you can’t go to Hogwarts. You’ll never get to drink butterbeer and unfortunately Hagrid can’t be your friend. However, you will get lost in a magical world, so at least you can pretend for a bit.

Picture by Claire Johnson3) Animal Farm – George Orwell

Wow. You can almost feel his anger pulsating from the pages when reading this book. Orwell manages to get across such a poignant point, in very few words, by using the metaphor of animals. It’s incredible. It will stick with you. Read it.

4) Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen

After awhile Austen’s novels do get a little samey, but Pride and Prejudice was the first one that I read. I read it when I was a young girl and as every young girl does, I managed to be swept away by the magnificent Mr Darcy.

It’s the ultimate love story that encapsulates feisty characters, snobbery and misunderstandings. It all ends tied up in a nice, little, neat bow. Delightful and charming is probably the best way to describe it.

5) The Picture of Dorian Grey – Oscar Wilde

Although I slightly hated the ending, partly because it was over and partly because it seemed to end too soon, I adore this book.

Lord Henry is by far my favourite character. His views on life are both amusing and insightful. The romanticism and debauchery depicted in this book, and the effect that it can have on ones life, make it a read that is hard to put down.

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