On my favourite books
"Reading is an exercise in empathy; an exercise in walking in someone else's shoes for a while."
I love books. That much is obvious. And I do sincerely believe that the beauty of reading is that we can find ourselves between the pages of stories. That two people never read the same book. We all bring something to the experience, something that is very personal, that is at the core of our being.
I am lucky to be a reader. To be able to get out of my body, of my shell, when I need to escape. I am lucky to have read so much, and to have read incredible books.
As a result, I do have a big number of favourite books. Some of them you can find on my About page.
Today, I want to dive a little deeper into these very special books. I'll tell you how they came into my life (if I can remember).
Note: I cannot include them all. If you like this post, I may do others like that? I have content for days (years), so let me know!
The All Souls Trilogy, Deborah Harkness
I remember buying this book. I had been intrigued by the French edition: the cover was beautiful (I'm weak against those things) and the plot sounded appealing enough. For some reason, however, I did not start it straight away, and put it off on my TBR pile.
As a professional bookworm (self-awarded title by Yours Truly), I put it off for years.
I always had other things to read, I was not in the mood, I wanted something like. I think it had to do with the cover, in the end.
|These are the French covers.|
Somehow, I don't know why, I had convinced myself that it was a thriller series, a dark story you read when you want gore and murder and all that jazz. Don't get me wrong: I like these books. But I never seemed to be in the mood for it at the time.
So when I did start reading the first novel, I was hooked from page one, and I hated myself for a long time for not picking it up sooner (I still do). Immediately after finishing Book One, I jumped on the sequel, but the third was still in progress so I started all over again, this time in English.
This is a series of books that will always travel with me, I believe. I fell in love with everything about it, and I found it completely fascinating, from beginning to end, and I will forever reread it with the same glee.
Outlander, Diana Gabaldon
I was not going to buy this book, mainly because it was so big, and I love big books, but they can be daunting at times, right? Moreover, the first novel is as old as I am, and therefore you should have been looking for it specifically if you wanted to read it at the time.
One of my very good friends from Uni loves TV series. She watches a lot of them, she is constantly on Netflix and other suppliers, and she used to keep our friends and I posted on the latest series, and the best ones in her opinion.
Outlander was one of them. She was watching Season One when it came into my life. She kept on raving and raving about it, so much that even I (who takes years to start a series, and it has to be a good one because I don't take the time to enjoy them) started feeling very curious about the whole thing. When she mentioned that it was based on a book, I was sold.
I heard that Book 9# should be on its way in the next few months (perhaps next year), so I'm patiently waiting for it.
And I'll forever thank Laura for this one ♥
The Raven Cycle, Maggie Stiefvater
I came to read this series because of Tumblr. I will be entirely honest with you, I'm not always on board when it comes to over-hyped books. I even tend to stray away from things people talk about constantly, as a defense mechanism, or just a stupid sense of inexplicable rejection.
So the Raven Boys was on Tumblr for a looooong time before I started looking into it. I would always see it in people's blog posts, everyone seemed to love it, and even I loved the covers.
I just was not taking interest, minding my own business, being a snob, I guess.
And then I caved.
The Raven Cycle is one of those book series I cannot explain. It just is. The story makes no sense whenever I try and sell it to a friend, because I can't explain the first thing about it, but it was love at first line for me: there was an instant connection, and I was sold.
The characters are like best friends to me, and I may sound insane when I say that, but it's true. The whole series is very dear to my heart, and, just like A Discovery of Witches, I do hate myself a little for waiting for so long to start it.
Then again, maybe it's that time period that made it all the better for me?
The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Neil Gaiman
Now, this is another book I can't explain (see above).
I remember exactly the day I bought it though. It was my twentieth birthday, and I could not be home with my family because I had a university exam. Not any exam, though: the last exam in my winter session (which meant I was exhausted) and an Italian translation exam (which was not my forte at the time - still is not, but I'm getting better). I had to sit for many hours for a professor that didn't like me, even.*
*I say he didn't like me, but that's a bit reductive. Let's say he and I had diverging opinions on how to translate, and as he was not very open to my translation choices, he tended to sack me quite liberally. (this is put very nicely because I'm a lady)
So I sat my exam, and when I came out, it was rainy and cold (I was born in January) and I felt tired, sad, lonely and depressed because I was convinced I had failed (I had not). My place of comfort in this dire moment was obviously the bookshop, and I picked up this book.
I never came back from it. But I often come back to it.
It was my first Gaiman book, and not the last, and although I love everything that the master writes, this one will always have a very special place in my heart, for some reason I cannot voice.
The Book Thief, Markus Zusak
I was eighteen years old when I bought this book, but I was nineteen/twenty when I read it.
Yet another book I put off reading for too long that turned into a favourite later. It does look like I have a thing for those, right?
When I was eighteen, during my last year of high school, my history teachers organised a WWII-themed trip. It doesn't sound very cheerful, and trust me: It wasn't. But it was eye-opening, and I loved every heavy minute of it. We went to Czech Republic first, and drove back to France through Germany.
I bought this book in Berlin.
At the time, I didn't read a lot of English books. They were kind of hard to find where I lived, and I took the opportunity to buy it to build up my stock at home. I don't even remember if I understood the summary entirely.
I didn't want to read this book at first, which is surely why it took me so long to read it. I had tried, but could not get into it.
I was scared.
(It is also a thing with me, you'll find)
And I did care a lot when I finally read it, and I did cry a lot, and I still cry a lot every time I reread it, because yes, I do reread it.
And I love it so much I have multiple editions of it, too.
Those are a few books I love, and will forever love whatever happens to my brain or my life. I have so many more I want to tell you about, so feel free to comment/send me a message if you want me to make this a series of blog post :)