We all have books we simply can’t bear to part with because, like the old friends they are, they’ve stuck with us through thick and thin.
The oldest book in my collection is Clarendon’s History of the Great Rebellion (1858) followed by The Wild Bird – Margaret Stuart Lane, (1933) The Scarlet Pimpernel (1927), The Prisoner of Zenda and its sequel, Rupert of Henzua (1930).
My other ‘keepers’ are the books which saw me through from girlhood to womanhood: Greengage Summer, I Capture the Castle, Bonjour Tristesse and The Dud Avocado.
With the fickleness of youth I abandoned these when I discovered Jilly Cooper’s novels (1976). My love of rom coms developing within their pages before coming full circle with Bridget Jones in 1996.
I can’t let go any of my penguin classics or historical romances by the likes of Georgette Heyer, Daphne Du Maurier, Jean Plaidy, Margaret Irwin, and Anya Seaton. My particular favourite – Lady of Hay by Barbara Erskine.
When I want to remind myself how to write humorously, I re-visit Wodehouse, Terry Pratchet, Tom Sharpe – and the anarchic Catch 22.
I also treasure my poetry books . . . John Donne, W.B.Yeats, The War Poets, T.S. Eliot, Dylan Thomas, Ted Hughes and Philip Larkin.
And in particular, The Mersey Sound – Adrien Henri, Roger McGough and Brian Patten which reminds me of when I was recovering after an appendectomy in Grantham General (1970). I was reading poems to the other patients in my ward and causing such hilarity that it was confiscated by the ward sister until I was discharged. Honestly . . .
I have two comfort reads Tristan and Isuelt by Rosemary Sutcliffe, (so beautifully written) and Hons and Rebels by Jessica Mitford which is great fun. I want to spend the afternoon with the Mitford gels in the Hons Cupboard discussing topics considered unfit for young ladies.
Want to come with me?
So come on, trade – what’s your favourite book?
THE ONE YOU’LL NEVER LET GO.