All time favourite books

I know many of my readers, are readers of books too!  So I thought I would share my top 5 books.  Not my latest reads but the books that years later I still remember and I want to share with others.  And none of them are what I’d call classics either!  Each of them will probably reveal a little more about me too.

A gripping story when you're 11
A gripping story when you’re 11

When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit by Judith Kerr

This book was read to my year 6 class by Mrs… oh wow, I don’t remember her name!  Mrs Jones! Or was in Year 5 – what a memory I don’t have (I had the same classroom those two years, so perhaps that’s why I’m confused).

This novel was my first introduction to Nazi Germany and the Holocaust.  Since then, I’ve devoured countless books on the holocaust (my book collection features them heavily). The title refers to the characters decision making on packing toys.  Until I moved in with the BF (two months ago), I slept with my teddy bear.  I promised him (and past BFs) that when I had a permanent bed mate, I would shelve Jessie.  To this day, I miss her, and when I’m sick, the BF gets her for me, to cheer me up.

Travel without books - guide books. Novels are fine!
Travel without books – guide books. Novels are fine!

Honeymoon with my brother by Franz Wiesner

This book is the true story of the author being more or less left at the alter.  Instead of ‘wasting’ the once in a lifetime trip he’d planned, he signed his brother up, and they started seeing the world.  It’s a story of healing, but more than that, what I took away from it was the desire to travel genuinely.  To travel and to LISTEN.  Not to read Lonely Planet and go where everyone else goes.  I don’t travel with a guide book (and sometimes, I regret that!).  I ask people in hostels and hotels what they like.  I go wherever, and enjoy the journey of walking streets.  I go to Jewish Museums (everywhere).  That probably goes back to the first book!

So many mysteries in one story
So many mysteries in one story

Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder

Not be confused with Sophie’s Choice, which I also enjoyed, Sophie’s World is a book that introduces a child to philosophy.  Every book by Gaarder is a masterpiece in my mind, and develops and introduces new and challenging concepts to me.  She has an incredible knack for storytelling.


Pull down to escape - Emergency by Neil Strauss
Pull down to escape – Emergency by Neil Strauss

Emergency by Neil Strauss

I was in NYC in 2011, and browsing Barnes and Noble.  I was hoping to find secrets in a Postsecret book, but didn’t 🙁  I wanted to find something to read, as I’d exhausted my supply by this stage in the trip.  I find it so difficult to BUY books, because I don’t (by and large) keep books.  I wanted something engaging, but enduring.  I’m not sure how I resolved to buy Emergency, but it was my first introduction to ‘doomsday preppers’.  I do like end of the world movies, so it probably has something to do with that.  Nonetheless, it still sits of my bookshelf and I keep thinking ‘I must get some candles, and a canteen of water, you never know what could happen’.

Each peach pear plum

This is the only childhood book I was adamant could not be downsized or rationalised.  My mother loves to downsize, and when you move 10 times in 10 years, I’m lucky to have any childhood books still standing!  I love that it rhymes, incorporating all the characters you know from other stories – Mother Hubbard and Tom Thum.  It’s just such a joy to trip along through the story, and the illustrations always capture my imagination.

How about you? What books changed your life?  What book are you always telling people they just *have* to read?

26 Replies to “All time favourite books”

  1. I've never heard of your books. Not sure if that's because we grew up in different places or if I'm just out of the loop, haha. It's hard to narrow down . . I adored the Little House on the Prairie series and begged my parents to turn off our electricity so we could live like pioneers for a day (I didn't realize how nice modern conveniences were apparently). To Kill a Mockingbird is another book I love . . I think I was too young my first time through to completely understand some things, so thankfully I read it again – it's one of those rare books that gets better with every reread.

    And somewhat off topic, do you use goodreads? I track my reading on there and thought you might like it 🙂

    1. They aren't super mainstream books so I'm not surprised you've not heard of them! I read a little of the Little House on the Prairie (and lucky too, it's a bit of a cultural reference in blogs of late!). I read To Kill a Mockingbird in school, which is a sure fire way to kill a book for me! All the analysis takes some of the joy away, but I understand it's a critical book about an important part of history.

      I haven't used good reads, but I've heard of it, I should look into it! Thanks.

  2. My tastes have changed a lot over the years, I don't necessarily own copies of the books I love best, and I probably prefer certain author's styles more than I like particular books! I'll choose a few books I like: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, The Wizard of Oz, Winnie the Pooh, Frog and Toad Are Friends, and a graphic novel called Blankets. I like some of the classic authors like Chekhov and Austen, and newer ones like Nick Hornby and Douglas Coupland. A book called The Road Less Travelled (psychology) did change my life, but I find it dated now.

    1. Interestingly, I've heard of hitchhiker and Wizard of Oz AND Winnie, and I've not read any of them! The other two I've not heard of, and I'm not immediately drawn to graphic novels. Even some of the authors you mention are new to me, so I should look into them some more. I did actually read The Road Less Travelled, and in retrospect I could have added it to this list. I read it and thought 'how can anyone be athiest based on this book' – but I'm predisposed to believe anyhow!

  3. My favorite book on your list is Sophie’s World, I’ve read it twice and given it as a gift a few times. I’m not sure I can come up with a favorite book off the top of my head. I have favorites from so many genres.

        1. Thanks Dad! I mentioned Each Peach, Pear, Plum – there was just no photo of the cover! The other book, i dont remember – you'll have to jog my memory next time I'm around.

  4. Hi Sarah, I've read Pink Rabbit and Sophie's World. Sophie's World became a like a chore to finish for me.

    Books that have made me think differently or whose memories have stayed with me include the Little House series (I re-read them regularly and just bought a new set as my first from childhood have finally died), the Poisonwood Bible, the Handmaid's Tale, Pride and Prejudice, the Book Thief (have you read this? It is Holocaust novel that is based on real life and has just been made into a movie) and The Testsment of Mary. Oh and the Faraway Tree series.

    I rarely re-read novels, except a handful of favourites, because I have moved on and what grabbed me at one point of my life may not resonate st another time. And for the same reason I don't say people must read a book, as they may have different tastes or be at some other point in their lives, but I do recommend books. Frequently.

    I am in a book club and funnily enough, some of the books I just LOVED others couldn't finish. And the other way around.

    1. I'm sorry to hear you found Sophie's World a chore – it's been a while since I've read it to be honest. There's a number of books there I've not heard of, so I'll look into them! I have read the Book Thief – what a tome, but I did love it. I don't think I've seen the movie though….

      Your thoughts seem to echo Dar's – books speak to her too in different parts of her life. I don't think I've actively recommended any of these before, but I do know that some of them are often in my mind.

  5. These all sound interesting thanks for the recommendations! It seems like my list of books to read is growing more and more on a daily basis. I told myself once I graduated college, that I would devote more time to reading since I no longer had to be bothered with textbooks. Unfortunately I still find myself longing to read more. I lean more toward enjoying mystery novels and fantasy novels.

    1. My list will grow a fair bit from this post too! And reading other blogger's reviews and wrap ups of books they've read. I didn't read as much whilst studying either, and sometimes I plough through books and other times it takes me a bit longer… I try to read before falling asleep most nights. Never really got into fantasy much (except when travelling and it's all I can find in English, and I haven't hated it!)

  6. I haven't read any of these, Sarah! I'm really looking forward to getting in to work in the morning so I can see if we have them in our library. That is such a nice story that you remember the book from your teacher reading it to you! I'm intrigued by the children's intro to philosophy. Ha – I also go through phases of "gotta get the candles and a few litres of water…"!

    I'll have to think about my faves…two that jump out straight away are "The Plague" and "The Outsider" by Albert Camus. Another book I re-read a lot (usually when stressed!) is Piers Paul Read's "Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors." And I can't throw away *any* of J's children's books yet…one area of total fail as a declutterer!

    1. I'll need to read those favourites, though I think I've read some extracts of The Outsider… I like that you have a stress go to book, perhaps I need one of those.

      Ah, the time might come when you're ready to clear those books of J's. In the meantime, don't beat yourself up about it!

  7. I think I've read When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit, and I own Sophie's World (although I did find it a bit tough going at times). I preferred the Solitaire Mystery, which I seem to remember you reading, since it's a bit easier going.

    Some of my favourite books have already been mentioned – The Book Thief (I didn't realise it was being made into a movie, now I'm excited!), The Life of Pi, The Poisonwood Bible and the Game of Thrones series. One of my favourite non-fiction books is A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson.

    I also like Agatha Christie books as an easy read – they fill up a whole shelf on my bookcase 🙂

    1. I have read the Solitaire Mystery and probably enjoyed it too, though I think I read Sophie's World first? And there's also a Christmas book she wrote, isn't there? I must look into this Poisonwood Bible, but otherwise I've heard of them all! Maybe it's because we're similar ages and from the same area of the world? I'm not sure I've ever read a full length Agatha Christie, only one in a Reader's Digest collection of stories. And Bill Bryson is hilarious!

  8. My fave book (it's a series) of late is a YA delight by Michelle Cooper.

    A Brief History of Montmaray
    The FitzOsbornes in Exile
    The FitzOsbornes at War

    I want to crawl into the book and hang out with the characters which is silly because there is quite a bit of bombing going on and I'd probably have a chandelier fall on my head.

  9. Take it from someone with a taste spanning all the way from Hitchhiker to Little House: Don't miss Audrey Niffenegger's "The Time Traveler's Wife".

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