Here are my top 10 favourite books at this moment in time.....
1. Harry Potter Series -J. K Rowling
-Obviously hugely popular and could be seen as rather a cliche to have in this list, but I would be lying to myself and to you if I didn't include them. I read the first Harry Potter book (Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone) when I was 11, in my first year of secondary school. As Harry was also just entering secondary school it was great timing, and nice to read them growing up as Harry did. Obviously I'm much older now, but having re-read all 7 many times, I still love them as much as I did back then. I love revisiting them year after year and being able to appreciate aspects and themes I didn't as a child.
2. Animal Farm -George Orwell
-I read this book just after I had completed my degree, in which I studied modules in Stalinism. Orwell has cleverly and wittily told the story of the Bolshevik revolution and its aftermath through the animals on the farm. Even if you have no knowledge of Russian history, this book is a great, ironic, and easy read!
3. Sashenka - Simon Sebag Montifiore
-A moving and very realistic portrayal of a woman who joins the Bolshevik revolution in 1917 and her life 20 years later and how it's changed/ is changing. This book is so powerful I cried in places, and is a totally unique, amazing story. It captures the Great Terror that engulfed Russia between 1937-39 in a really real and emotional way, yet thrilling all the same.
4. Labyrinth - Kate Mosse
- Labyrinth has two intertwining plots, one of Alais in BC France, and one of Alice in the present day. Both stories are told and interlinked with each other. This book is completely gripping, as soon as I started reading I couldn't put it down! It is a classic historical thriller with many twists and turns as well as a great adventure and a bit of romance.
5. Shardlake Series - C J Sansom
-I love the Shardlake series! Set in England during Henry VIII's rule, we follow Shardlake, the hunchback lawyer, as he goes on various political missions, solves murders and is involved in thrilling escapades. Again, I read each book (there are 5 altogether) in one sitting as they are so gripping!
6. Bleak House - Charles Dickens
- This book is not like some of the better-known Dickens, such as 'Great Expectations' and 'David Copperfield'. It tells the stories of several characters, from a poor begger in Jo to the aristocratic Sir Leicester Deadlock. As the novel unfolds we learn how all of their lives are interlinked and have an effect on each other. A long book but definitely worth it, as it has a bit of everything in it- romance, mysteries and murders! There is also a fantastic recent BBC adaptation (I think 2006) of it with a great cast which anyone will be gripped by, whether they've read it or not!
7. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
-Absolute classic, I just love this book. I have read it and re-read it several times, as well as watching the amazing Colin Firth BBC adaptation to death! Fantastic portrayal of British life in the early 19th century, the love story with all it's drama, intrigue and misunderstandings will never get old.
8. Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
-This is a book like no other. When I finished reading it for the first time I was almost appalled by its dark and brutal nature! It is a novel that sticks in your head and is impossible to forget, such is the impression it makes. It's so powerful, so whether you love it or hate it, you have to read it.
9. Before I Go To Sleep - S J Watson
-This is another powerful book that has a really different plot. Christine wakes up every morning with absolutely no memory. This is her story, and as each day unfolds we learn more and more about her past- some shocking revelations made me gasp out loud! All is not what it seems; it's a fantastic mystery/ thiller.
10.The Book Thief - Markus Zusak
- This is a story of a little girl in Nazi Germany. Told through her eyes, it's a fantastic and thrilling portrayel of WWII, showing the innocence of youth while the reader knows the more sinister truth. It's a brilliant book.
(And for my beach read.... 11. Can You Keep A Secret - Sophie Kinsella
-This is a really funny, light-hearted book that every girl can relate too! I've read it several times on different holidays and it never fails to make me laugh or cheer me up. It's completely gripping and really easy to read- you'll finish it in no time!!)