I am a self-proclaimed book lover! I love reading, I love buying books, I love browsing bookstores (I could spend hours in one, even if I am not buying anything)- I love basically everything to do with books and reading. It saddens me that the Seychelles National Library is currently under renovation.
Last year, I read 57 books. As a mum of a teenager (16) and two toddlers (2 and 3), I am often asked how I have time to read so much? The simple answer is: I make time. While drinking my tea, on the bus, wherever I am waiting in a line, I am reading a book. I think the most crucial part is that I have a very supportive partner who, whilst not understanding my book obsession, lets me get on with it.
During last year’s restriction due to the pandemic, my teenage daughter discovered books- hooray! I tried for years to get her interested in books and eventually gave up on her. It warmed my little bookworm heart tremendously to see her with a book, as reading gives me peace, it completes me, it heals me when I am broken inside, and I hope it can do the same for her.
I fell in love with a horse named Black Beauty when I was 7, and by 8 I was going through the Dickens’ Classics, namely Oliver Twist and The Tales of Cities; I was unstoppable- nothing “readable” missed my grasps. I was like the very very hungry caterpillar, the more I read, the more insatiable I became. As an adult, most of my close family and friends know I love reading and, funnily enough, I am not gifted books for that very reason; they are scared that I would have already read what they have chosen!
I cannot tell you why I love reading… it is something so innate, so part of me that I do not feel whole if I don’t have a book going.
I much prefer physical books but recently I have discovered Audible, which is very handy whilst walking or ironing, or even whilst in the shower. In my mid-20s, I had specific genres and authors that I would stick to but lately, I have been able to expand my reading with yearly reading challenges, namely the ‘Pop Sugar reading challenge’ and the ’52 books in 52 weeks reading challenge’. These challenges have helped me to expand my reading repertoire and have pushed me to unfamiliar genres I would not have picked up otherwise.
To choose 5 favourite books was next to impossible, as I LOVE a lot of books for different reasons but I will recommend 5 books that mean something to me personally. They are not all books that have topped the bestsellers list but each of these are beautiful and special in their own way, and if you could read only one book this year, I would highly recommend any one of them.
Black Beauty by Anna Sewell
My mum gave this book to my older sister every morning when I started primary 1. During lunchtime, I had to go to my sister’s class and read it and when I got home I would tell her about it. At first, it felt like a chore, as I had just started primary school and could not understand why I couldn’t spend lunchtime playing with my friends, but after 2 or 3 days I fell in love with the exercise. The knowledge that was within those pages, between those lines was like another world. A world so magical that it made my life so much more colourful and so much more meaningful, as I gained new words to describe my ever growing world as a 7-year-old.
The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern
This book is a love letter to booklovers, it was a love letter to me and it was the most beautiful love letter. It is a book so magical that as I turned the last page, I hugged it tightly and said a silent ‘thanks’ to the author for giving the world this story. If you go online and research the book there are 2 very polar opinions about it: some people really hate it and some people absolutely love it- it is very difficult to find a middle ground. For me, this book is pure magic and if one doesn’t believe in magic, this book would not be magical. I find it difficult to describe why I love this book but all I can say is read it.
The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
This book is a lengthy one, depending on the publisher, it ranges between 990 pages to 1065 pages. This length was perfect- it was not too long and if it was shorter there would have been so many unanswered questions which would have frustrated me. “Pillars”, as I fondly refer to it, has everything I love in a book, it has history (medieval England), romance, adventure, deception, triumphs and tribulations. I got to live in medieval England for 10 days and it was the most glorious 10 days I had ever spent in a book. There are 2 more books in the series with a new prequel which has been released late last year which I cannot wait to get my hands on.
The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy
My first Hardy book was Far from the Madding Crowd, and while I give it a solid 4 star rating, the Mayor of Casterbridge is the Hardy novel that stole my heart. Henchard is a strong-willed man whose decisions always seem to have drastic repercussions in his life. So many times I wanted to slap that man but it was his character that makes other characters come to life. What makes this book special for me, apart from Hardy’s beautiful prose, is that this book was the only one which escaped my reading rampage growing up. My older sister was gifted this book one Christmas when I was 9 and we both decided that it was the most boring book we had ever seen, but nonetheless, her love of books made her keep that book all this time and until I read it last year, it had never been read. Little did we know about this great story that was bursting for us to read.
The Light Between Oceans by ML Stedman This book is set in Western Australia in the early 1920s, and from the start, I fell in love with it as I had fallen in love with Western Australia when I went to University in Perth. Apart from the powerful story of love and tragedy, it was heart-warming to read about familiar places and landmarks. Whilst I was reminiscing about my Uni days, the story evoked such powerful emotions that, several times whilst reading, I had to question my own morality and consider what I would do if I was in those situations. It is very difficult to find a book that makes me cry. I find books sad, however for me to shed actual tears is a bit rare, but for the first time in a really long time, I ugly cried at a book and a book must be special to do that.