Am reading: My top three books of all time

Written about
3rd February 2019


Getting engulfed in a story, fact or fiction, is a hobby. Contrary to what Mr Wormwood says, books can provide so much more than TV. Your imagination is there to fill in the blanks and create a scene. Nothing is a given and while the story is laid out before you, the full picture is yours to create.

As with most, I go through phases with reading - I either rifle through a stack of books, or one book will take several months to finish. I'm in a peak at the moment - the norm for a new year - but it shows no signs of slowing down as my bedside stack of 'to reads' seems to be never ending.

I've started sharing very mini reviews of each completed book on my Instagram stories and I've loved hearing from people on different reads.

One of my reads from January has made it into my top three list. Three books I'm now passionate about sharing with anyone who will listen. Three completely different stories, a mix of fact and fiction, three books that have moved me, that have enveloped me in their words and that I will undoubtedly be re-reading before so long.

Here are my three all time favourite books:

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A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett

The film was a backdrop to my childhood, but I didn't read the book until last year. This is told so enchantingly through words that you get completely lost in it. It was written in 1905 so while the story itself is no fairy tale, the writing style takes you away to another era, adding so much to the telling.

The film has me in tears without fail and the book was no different, moving me along with Sara's story and giving me a hit of nostalgia as I played moments of the film in my head. It's a top listed book in endless children's literature charts, but while it's written for children, reading it as an adult had me diving straight into the imagination of Sara Crewe.

For those of you who weren't treated to the film as a child (you should watch it post-read), the story follows Sara Crewe. This little girl is placed in a boarding school as her father heads off to war. Hearing of her father's death while there strips her of all her fortune and relegates her to the attic, to work as a maid for the rest of the house. What follows is true imagination winning out over suffering.

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A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

Anybody I know that has read this book has screamed its praise. Friends urged me to read this and I'm now doing the same for you. The first few chapters didn't have me hooked and admittedly, they were a bit of a struggle to get through, but getting past those was so worth it.

A Little Life follows Jude and a close-knit group of friends, from university and beyond, with childhood flashbacks. Jude has been dealt the worst of hands in most areas of his life and following along with his self-view and the issues he's gone through is so incredibly moving.

It's not an easy read by any means. I finished the last third in one sitting and sobbed for most of it. I also couldn't commit to any other books for a couple of months after as nothing seemed to measure up to the writing, the story or the sheer emotion that's conveyed on the pages. It's intense to say the least and while there were story lines that weren't my favourite direction,  once you get into the characters, you won't want to leave them behind. Advance warning, there is some heavy abuse (of all kinds) for most of the book.

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Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes

Such a good read. It's not a self-help book, but you'll definitely get that vibe. It's an auto-biography from Shonda Rhimes on how one statement from her sister made her look at her lifestyle in a completely different light.

There are a few key moments that I really loved, but the Dartmouth speech in particular was a great read. The writing style is fun, making it an easy read that you'll be smiling along with throughout and although Shonda's life is already out of the ordinary, it's told in such a personable way that that it'll inspire you.

It's great so see the effects of positive thinking in action but I think it's the writing style that put this straight into my top three. Easy but with substance, funny with real moments and a whole load of inspiration without bordering on cheesy.

I would love to hear your thoughts on these, are you a fan? If you haven't already read them, get them added to your list for your next adventure between the pages.

For the rest of my reads, the good and the bad, you can keep track of them on my Instagram stories, or have a flick through the highlight for a full run down.