Saturday, 29 December 2012

must reads

In the (little over a) year since I've been writing this blog, I've done fourteen bookworm features, and have read some pretty amazing books. I love to read most nights in bed to take my mind off a busy day (usually lesson planning/marking stress). Luckily Rich is a big reader too, he seems to fly through books so much faster than me... he read the entire A Song of Ice and Fire series (Game of Thrones) in just a few months, impressive! Between us we've amassed a good collection of books in our new flat (which we don't have room for) and look like a middle aged couple in bed, tucked up with our books and side lights on!

Anyway, I thought I'd run through the books I would say have been my favourite over the past year or so. I love getting a good book recommendation (just finished reading Me Before You by Jojo Moyes on twitter recommendations!) so thought I would return the favour.

Here are my top ten books, read in the past year or so...

1. The Help - Kathryn Stockett. Probably one of my favourite books. Heart warming story, lovely characters and the film is a great representation of the novel! If you like this, you may also like The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd (review here).

2. This Charming Man and Rachel's Holiday - Marian Keyes. Love Keyes' writing, she is so funny and true to life. Her novels always strike a chord with me, and these two are my favourites. Again, great characterisation and storylines - not sickly sweet happy ever after, but based on 'reality' with a funny undercurrent. Perfect.

3. One Day - David Nicholls. Such a great read. I also liked The Understudy by him. Again, humorous but with a serious storyline. 

4. Room - Emma Donoghue. Bit of a different one here; serious storyline about a girl who was kidnapped and gave birth to her kidnappers son whilst in captivity (review here).

5. We Need To Talk About Kevin - Lionel Shriver. Again, a very serious and deeply upsetting book, but extremely well written. Perhaps an interesting one to read in the wake of the Newtown school shootings (review here).

6. The Thread - Victoria Hislop. Incredibly interesting, so well explained and described. Such a great read, especially if you are interested in history, geography or want to view the Second World War from a perspective other than that of England or Germany. But ultimately, a story of love (review here).

7. Falling Leaves - Adeline Yen Mah. I read this as a child (and Chinese Cinderella), but re-read whilst on holiday this summer. Fantastic, and again historically interesting with a heart-wrenching storyline (review here). 

8. The Hunger Games Trilogy - Suzanne Collins. Loved the books, and loved the first film! Good storyline, and fairly good continuity over the three books. First book was my favourite, but still enjoyed the second and third (review here). 

9. Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell. My all-time favourite film, and the book is a beast. Not easy going; it is solid but packed with amazing characters, incredible descriptions of America during the Civil War in the early 1860s, and above all a fantastic storyline. An absolute classic. 

10. Me Before You - Jojo Moyes. I finished this last night and absolutely loved it! Similar to Marian Keyes' novels in that it covers a serious issue but with an amusing and thoughtful undertone. I warmed to the characters in the first chapter; you really feel for all parties involved. Warning: you will cry like a baby!

Those are just some of my favourite reads, but it is so hard to limit it to ten! 

Next on my bookshelf are: Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell, Sister by Rosamund Lupton and Oh Dear Silvia by Dawn French.

On a slightly more negative note, what to avoid? I can't go without mentioning 50 Shades of Grey. I reviewed it here, but can safely say my year would have been no worse (if not better) if I'd not bothered reading them. If you've not yet... then don't. Mine are in a bag to take to my local charity shop!

That brings me on to my final point (promise!) - where do you buy your books from? A while ago I posted about buying my books from charity shops, and still am a firm supporter of The British Heart Foundation and Cancer Research UK, but am worried about the future of our bookshops! Waterstones et al must be quaking in their books in the light of the rising popularity of e-books and Amazon selling paperbacks for next-to-nothing. I try to buy some books from actual book shops; particularly ones I want to keep on my bookshelf for life - classics, and books by my favourite authors. But, a £1.99 bargain is still too good to pass, especially when I'm on a budget!

What have been your favourite reads this year?
Recommendations more than welcome!


  1. I loved The Room, and One Day. I wasn't sure whether to get any of David Nicholl's other books, so I'm glad you did this post - I think I'll try another of his. Hope you had a lovely Christmas x

  2. We Need To Talk About Kevin is one of my favourites....I want to see the film but I'm worried it won't live up to my expectations!

    You need to try Mistress of Rome by Kate Quinn and The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. Judging by how many of my stand out books have made your list, I think you'll like them! x

  3. Marian Keyes is one of my favourite authors :) xo

  4. One Day is definitely one of my favourite books. I have both This Charming Man and Room sitting on my bookshelf, but for some reason I have yet to read them. Your taste is pretty similar to mine tbh, I feel like I could comment on most of the books you've posted about! x

  5. I've never actually read any of these, will take them on as recommendations :) My favourites are The Perks Of Being A Wallflower or anything by John Green x

  6. We Need To Talk About Kevin is one of my favourite books of all time. Heartbreakingly disturbing but such an honest, beautifully written tale. I may have to reread it. This year i've probably left the least that I have ever read in my life- next year I am planning on sorting that out and getting back into reading.
    lets drive far away

  7. I'm a massive Marian Keyes fan too! One of my resolutions this year is to read more so I'll definitely be bookmarking this post for suggestions : )


  8. The Help, One Day and Room are all favourites of mine too. The Hunger Games trilogy were amazing to read on holiday this year! If you like The Help, you might like Small Island by Angela Levy :)

    e x

  9. Thank you for your blog comment! The Help, Me Before You and The Hunger Games trilogy are also some of my favourite books of 2012 :) I haven't read any of the others you mentioned - Will have to add them to my list! I've never read anything my Marian Keyes either, so will make a mental note of her :)

  10. This charming man has to be one of my all time favourites - manages to be hilarious and devastating in equal measure. I got a kindle this year and my fave book has been easy by tammara webber, it should be available in book shops!

  11. Excellent choices, I've read most of these and loved them too (except One Day, saw the ending coming a mile off and that never happens!). I'm lucky enough to live two minutes from the local library, which is pretty big, and also round the corner from the hospice charity shop, who sell all their paperbacks at 3 for £1, I'm never short on books! Look out for the small local charity shops, they tend to have the best prices :)

  12. The only book I haven't read on your list is Falling Leaves! Me Before You and The Help were my favourites this year. I recently read the following which you may enjoy:

    The Last Letter from your Lover - JoJo Moyes
    The Story of Beautiful Girl - Rachel Simon
    My Dear I wanted to Tell You - Louisa Young

  13. These sound like great books, I really want to readThe Help and the Marian Keyes one sounds great too. I love books stein the war that old people read so I always find them cheap in the charity shop. They never believe they are for me though! Really loving your blog, definitely following! XxxX

  14. Forgot to say that you should check out a book called A Tousand Splendid Suns by KHaled Hossini, it is absolutely amazing and so eye opening. XxxX

  15. Fantastic list! One day is a lovely book.


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