I write this from my sick bed while on holiday on the Suffolk coast. I have been ‘glutened’, in my profile I state that I am gluten free, this is not by choice. I have Coeliacs disease, which is an intolerance of gluten (barley, wheats, oats & rye), eating any gluten at all makes me incredibly ill and causes a lot of damage to my body that takes a very long time to recover from. I won’t bore you with the details of how it happened but when a restaurant advertises a gluten free menu and you confirm with them three times when you are there that everything is gluten free and you are assured it is and then they feed you gluten it feels just miserable. So I thought I’d cheer myself by writing about one of my favourite subjects. Books.
I absolutely adore books, I always have. My house is full of them, on shelves, in boxes under the beds, in piles next to my bed. I have tried my hardest to pass this gift, this love of books, onto Lulu and so far so good. An outing to the local library after her ballet class on a Saturday morning or a trip to the bookshop for a browse on a Sunday is always a winner for both of us.
Books are a huge source of comfort to me, they soothe me, inform me and transport me. I read different books depending on my mood, at any one time I can have unto ten books on the go. But I just love that feeling when you come across a book so gripping, so enthrawling that you try to keep your eyes open in bed just so you can read a tiny bit more of it, rain towards the end. But then when you do get to the end you feel a little bereft and wish you hadn’t raced to finish it. Like having an amazing chat with an old friend and then they have to rush off.
I have read a lot of books, different styles and subjects but I do have a small core of favourites which I am happy to read over and over again. And on the occasions that I lose my reading mojo it is to one of these stalwarts that I turn to get me back on track.
In no particular order here are my favourite books of all time, so far;
1. Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh. From the spires of Oxford to the Second World War, beautiful, poetic and other worldly.
2. American Psycho – Brett Eastern Ellis. Controversial, disturbing, amusing view of 80s yuppies in New York. Involves serial killing.
3. Hollywood Wives – Jackie Collins. Glorious glamorous trash.
4. The Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger. Coming of age and teen angst at its finest, possibly the Great American novel?
5. Bridget Jones Diary – Helen Fielding. Chardonnay, Mr Darcy, ‘that’ scene in the lake, you know the score.
6. The Secret History – Donna Tart. A contemporary of Ellis, dark and addictive. Another contender for the Great American novel?
7. An Omelette and a Glass of Wine – Elizabeth David. Beautiful food writing that always has me salivating.
8. Medea – Euripides. Fifth century BC GreeK tragedy, betrayal, infanticide & a dragon pulled chariot.
9. A Room with a View – EM Forster. An absolute classic, set in Florence and England.
10. Neals Yard Womens Health – Wise words regarding alternative remedies and holistic treatments.
Told you I had eclectic taste.
Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov . I’m re reading this controversial book to see if my view of of has changed since I read it 20 years ago.
Skeletons – Jane Fallon. Loved all her other books, great holiday read.
The Opposite of Loneliness – Marina Keegan. Collection of works from an exceptionally talented woman
The Goldfinch – Donna Tart. A favourite author’s long anticipated book
The Big Allotment Challenge: The Patch. Grow Make Eat – Tessa Evelegh. This accompanies the BBC TV series. I WILL use my allotment this year, honest.
The main picture is the beautiful Southwold Books.