I’d been tagged to do this seven favourite books of all time thing on Facebook some time back, but the truth is, summer has been a whirlwind and I have barely had time for myself. But, it has dawned on me that life will never slow down and frankly, as one of my favourite things ever, I can make some time for my favourite books. So, here are seven of my favourite books and why I love them so much. (I’ll also try and put Amazon links for each if I remember!)
Love Monster – Rachel Bright
This book always tops my list for favourite books but not one I ever mention to anyone because truth be told, it’s too personal and was a gift from someone I don’t see much anymore but still hold close to my heart. In a nutshell, it’s about a little funny looking monster stuck in a world of very cute things where he feels like he just doesn’t fit in, and worst of all, is also looking for love amongst them – you see why I love it so much? It’s basically me hahaha. But honestly, it’s such a simple and great book that I would absolutely recommend for children and adults alike because it is essentially about self acceptance in a world that is trying to make us look and be a certain way.
Eleanor & Park – Rainbow Rowell
Eleanor and Park. What do I even say about this book? I both love it and hate it, but most of all, I spend my free time thinking about how the book ended and those three damn words nobody ever reveals. I have two favourite quotes from it that I’m going to share because they’re just too important not to and even if you don’t read the book, I’ll be glad to know that you’ll have read at least my favourite bits and it warmed your cheesy heart like it does mine:
“Holding Eleanor’s hand was like holding a butterfly. Or a heartbeat. Like holding something complete, and completely alive.”
“I don’t like you, Park. I think I live for you. I don’t think I even breathe when we’re not together. […] All I do when we’re apart is think about you, and all I do when we’re together is panic. Because every second feels so important. And because I’m so out of control, I can’t help myself. I’m not even mine anymore, I’m yours, and what if you decide that you don’t want me? How could you want me like I want you?”
Woman at Point Zero – Nawal El Saadawi
I remember reading this book at a really crazy point in my life where I didn’t realise I was going through such big changes within myself, but now that I look back at it, this book was one of those things that carry themselves with you even when you don’t realise. I won’t be able to justify this book with my terrible explanation of it, so I’ll give you a Wikipedia snippet and the two quotes that have stayed with me since.
The novel is based on Saadawi’s encounter with a female prisoner in Qanatir Prison and is the first-person account of Firdaus, a murderess who has agreed to tell her life story before her execution. The novel explores the issues of the subjugation of women, female circumcision, and women’s freedom in a patriarchal society.
“All the men I did get to know, every single man of them, has filled me with but one desire: to lift my hand and bring it smashing down on his face.”
“But I feel that you, in particular, are a person who cannot live without love.” “Yet I am living without love.” “Then you are either living a lie or not living at all.”
Chinese Cinderella – Adeline Yen Mah
This is one of two books that were introduced to me through a teacher during my secondary years that really stayed with me throughout my life. I don’t think she realised at the time just how much of an impact this book would grow to have one me despite my insistence that I had far more interesting books to be reading during our 20 minute registration periods. (if you’re reading this, thank you for forcing me to move out of my literary comfort zone) But, this is probably the only autobiography style book I’ve ever been so moved by and I guess part of it is down to the social and cultural taboos around being a woman in a man’s world and the double life that most kids lead. While this isn’t the crux of the book, it is the part that I carried with me, and it is why I would absolutely recommend it to everyone. Be warned though, tissues are necessary.
Purple Hibiscus – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
This is that second book. Funnily enough, this was actually the text that I studied during my GCSEs and normally, I am vehemently against loving anything that isn’t read for pleasure, but what can I say, Adichie grabbed my 14 year old heart and tore it into a million pieces and I had no choice but to reread this a million times back into healing. At its core, the novel is about a father’s physical and psychological abuse in a world dictated by “what will other people think” and how the 15 year old Kambili navigates her way around it and blooms, much like the hibiscus flower, even after all the tragedy of life.
“There are people, she once wrote, who think that we cannot rule ourselves because the few times we tried, we failed, as if all the others who rule themselves today got it right the first time. It is like telling a crawling baby who tries to walk, and then falls back on his buttocks, to stay there. As if the adults walking past him did not all crawl, once.”
Forty Rules of Love – Elif Shafak
This was one of those novels I’d convinced myself I wouldn’t read because it was so overly quoted on literally every single social media outlet known to man that I’d felt like I’d read it all already, but I was wrong. So wrong. Conveniently though, it came up as our book of the month in the virtual book club I’m a part of, and I was so grateful because this book has revolutionised the way that I weigh up relationships, both romantic and platonic, in the light of faith.
“Every true love and friendship is a story of unexpected transformation. If we are the same person before and after we loved, that means we haven’t loved enough.”
“Try not to resist the changes that come your way. Instead let life live through you. And do not worry that your life is turning upside down. How do you know that the side you are used to is better than the one to come”
The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho
I’m not sure if there’s anyone who hasn’t heard about this book at this point, but if you haven’t, you need to. This is one of those very short, very unimportant books (or so it seems at the time) that change the course of your life forever. Simple in nature, it inspires you to see the magic of every day and the importance of trusting your instinct when you feel you see a sign. It could be wrong, but what if it’s wonderfully right? There’s this one passage that I absolutely adore from this book and I know it’s terribly long but you’ve come this far anyway, might as well humour me one last time:
“When he looked into her eyes, he learned the most important part of the language that all the world spoke — the language that everyone on earth was capable of understanding in their heart. It was love.
Something older than humanity, more ancient than the desert. What the boy felt at that moment was that he was in the presence of the only woman in his life, and that, with no need for words, she recognized the same thing. Because when you know the language, it’s easy to understand that someone in the world awaits you, whether it’s in the middle of the desert or in some great city.
And when two such people encounter each other, the past and the future become unimportant. There is only that moment, and the incredible certainty that everything under the sun has been written by one hand only. It is the hand that evokes love, and creates a twin soul for every person in the world. Without such love, one’s dreams would have no meaning.”