The books I will always keep

Posted: November 5, 2013 in reading
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Yesterday’s post, and people’s responses, got me thinking about the books that I would never let go. So, in no particular order, here are my top few.

The World of Pooh by A. A. Milne

Oh no, the bees found the honey! Also, I discovered PicMonkey.

Oh no, the bees found the honey!
Also, I discovered PicMonkey.

This hardback has been with me my whole life. I loved Pooh and his gentle adventures when I was a kid, then rediscovered them when I was in sixth-form. The soft, simple prose, the whimsical events, the sense that it was alright not to rush and worry but just to amble along singing a little song to yourself, it really struck a chord with teenage me. In fact, Pooh’s Tao-like simplicity remains an inspiration to me to this day, and I dip into the book to lift me up when I’m feeling blue.

I gave a copy of this to my godson on the occasion of his christening. He can’t follow the stories yet, never mind read them, but I hope it’ll provide him with comfort and inspiration down the years.

The Deptford Mice Trilogy by Robin Jarvis

Look out, Jupiter might get you

Look out, Jupiter might get you

I read the first of these when I was eleven. It was my first brush with anything like horror, and it had a huge impact. The thrill of being both terrified and exhilarated at the same time was something new and wonderful. They were packed with atmosphere, and with a balance of hope and darkness that made them feel incredibly real despite their fantasy animal content. Over twenty years later, I’m still planning to go back and read them, once I can build up the courage. And any time I see a corn dolly, a little shiver goes down my spine.

This is as close as I get to Tenabreme‘s wonderful habit of collecting books remembered from childhood. Of course, it’s easier when you’ve never let the books go.

The Discworld novels by Terry Pratchett

Just part of my pile of Pratchett

Just part of my pile of Pratchett

Of all the writers who have been active in my lifetime, Pratchett is the one whose wonderful work I most want to pass on to future generations. The tone of these stories may have shifted hugely over time, but I still love them all, from the weird satire of Colour of Magic to the heart-warming philosophising of his latest works. I’ve read half at least twice, Pyramids many more times than that, and Small Gods is one of my favourite reflections on religion. The man’s a treasure, and I treasure his books.

Unlike Ben, the Derleth collector I mentioned yesterday, I’m not a big keeper of books as objects. But if anyone harms my signed Pratchett there will be trouble.

So which books do you cling to, and why?

  1. skudssister says:

    Apart from all my Alices (it wouldn’t be fair on them to chose just one) at the moment it would probably be my proof of Wool by Hugh Howey. The format makes the book even more amazingly good – sorry I do tend to get a bit evangelical about that book.
    btw – have you read Robin Jarvis’s latest? Dancing Jax and Freax and Rejex? Just astounding….

    • Nice – I can see the appeal of keeping unusual things like proofs.
      Weirdly, I think the Deptford Mice books are the only Jarvis I’ve read – sounds like I might have to give some more of his books a go. This sort of conversation is how my ‘to read’ list gets impossibly long.

  2. I have lots of Puffin paperbacks that were important to me when young. Particular treasures are the Narnia stories and the E Nesbit fantasy stories, plus the Roger Lancelyn Green retelling of myths.

    • I have very fond memories of reading the Narnia paperbacks when I was a kid. Of course we’re not the same generation, but it seems like the Narnia stories really have an enduring power to captivate.

  3. Jon Taylor says:

    Its always the ones from childhood isn’t it? For me its the battered, held-together-with-sellotape copies of the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings (a single-volume, thin papered and small printed version) that my Dad passed on to me, plus Rosemary Sutcliff’s ‘Eagle of the Ninth’, ‘The Silver Branch’ and ‘The Lantern Bearers’.

    • The childhood reads do seem to have the fondest place in our hearts. I also have a fixed up copy of LotR that my dad read to me. I coudn’t find it when I was putting this post together, but I still like to think that, one day, I’ll read it to the next generation of Knightons.

  4. taurus3512 says:

    I still have my copy of Peter Pan that I read almost every night when I was a nipper, and when I felt I was being rushed to grow up along came Peter Pan .

    And now its my David Gemmell books I cant quite put my finger on it but I love them for their quite simple tellings, I may have just put my finger on it

    • Awe bless, you’re boy who never grew up!

      Mrs K’s a big Gemmell fan too. I think for her it’s a combination of the storytelling and the fact that her dad’s into Gemmell, so that there’s an emotional connection.

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