Reading Writes {Chapter Three} Favourite Books // Reading | Kylie Purtell - Capturing Life

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Reading Writes {Chapter Three} Favourite Books // Reading

For this month's chapter of Reading Writes I wanted to talk about our favourite books, and what makes them favourites. I read this post that Jess linked up for last month's chapter and it relates nicely to some of the thoughts I've had about favourite books as opposed to 'good' books. 

I'm not going to list my all-time favourite books here today, but if want to know what they are, you can find my original list from 2009 here, and the updated list I wrote in 2012 here.When it comes to my all-time fave books, I've realised that the ones I chose were for what was previously a subconscious reason: they are all books that I could read and re-read. If I was stuck on a desert island, those are the books I would want with me.

The thing is, I have a lot of 'favourite' books. There is my Top 10, and then there are the others that I love in different genres or for different reasons. There are books on my lists that I have to add because, while I may not have totally enjoyed the story, and probably wouldn't want to read again, they have stuck with me, sat in my mind for weeks, sometimes even years after reading them.

Books like The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. It's probably been 10 years now since I first read Mark Haddon's excellent book and even now I sometimes think of it, and it's main character Christopher. Christopher has an undisclosed disability, however many reviewers have likened it to an Austism spectrum disorder, Asperger Syndrome, which I think is a pretty good guess. It's written from Christopher's perspective, and what a fascinating and strangely insightful perspective it is.

I've read it a couple of times over the years since that first reading, and while it may not be one that I could read over and over, it has stuck with me and I could never discard Christopher completely.

Similarly, The Girls by Lori Lansens (you can read my review of that here) was one of those books I thought about for weeks afterwards, and that still pops in to my mind from time to time. It's compelling, and there are more than a few really uncomfortable and confronting scenes in the book. It made me think, and it's it's for that reason that I would have to include it in books that I recommend to people.

The Pact by Jodi Piccoult is another good example of a book that, while it's not one I would want to read over and over again, is one that I would also recommend to people because of the way the story affected me. If you are familiar with Jodi Piccoult's work in any way, then you would know she tackles issues that a lot of writers would be a little shy to deal with.

Anything written by Margaret Atwood has had a huge impact on my mind, and her books are the ones that I always have to wait a few days after finishing, before I can start a new book. She packs so much in to her stories that I have to let them percolate a little in my mind before I can move on and comprehend anything else.

Good books and favourite books have so many things in common, but the thing with good books, is that you can have a book on your good list that you might not have actually enjoyed at the time. It's through the impact they have on your thoughts that they become what you call a 'good' book. Every one has different criteria and lists of good books and favourite books and I would love to know what it is that helps you determine good books and favourite books.

And like everything, just as we have favourite books, we also have books that we just can't stand, and I reckon they warrant a bit of discussion to, so that's what next month's chapter will be all about!

So tell me, what are your favourite books, the ones you can read over and over again? And what are the books that make your 'good' list, and why?


  1. I am loving anything by Herman Koch at the moment - he's brilliantly wicked. My favs, however are Gatsby (read that about 6 times), Alice in Wonderland (read about 100 times - adore it still), and Fahrenheit 451, The Road and Feed...all very strong and powerful, causing emotive reactions in me, that left me thinking about them for days (or weeks) on end....

  2. I can constantly read Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series, Jacqueline Carey's Phadre series and almost any Stephen King- hell, I'd happily read his shopping list!

  3. I just linked up a post that details my favourites, but it have done some more reading since then, like the Richard Flanagan book mentioned in my post, which is so thoughtfully written, you could read it five times and gain something new each time.
    I am wanting to revisit Monkeygrip by Helen Garner, though I haven't read it for years. For my year 12 English Lit main project I had to write a piece in Norah's voice. That kind of put me in Helen Garner's shoes (ok, as if! But for an 18 year old it seemed that way) and firmly cemented that book into my imagination. It is an important book in my life.
    Also, and you may find me strange, but I feel as though I could not have made it through the last 23 or so years without the poetry of Leonard Cohen.
    And, tangent over....
    Thank you for sending me off on it Kylie, and for the link up x
    Dani @ sand has no home

  4. My hat is off to you because I have no idea how I would narrow down my favourite books to any sort of list. Any book that makes me stay up at night turning the pages way after lights out, any book that I am upset about when I finish it because I just want it to keep on going, any book that makes me exclaim anything out loud while reading it, any book that I just cannot get out of my head for weeks on end, any book that I search out other people who have read it just to talk about it ... so many books!

  5. I don't think I can do it. I love classics like To Kill a Mockingbird, The Crucible and Great Gatsby and then I love more modern classics like The Outsiders and many a James Patterson novel. Then there are those in my recent reading list like The Husband's Secret (Liane Moriarty), One Day (David Nicholls), House for all Seasons (Jenn McLeod), The Headmasters Wife (Thomas Christopher Greene) and The Fall (Ryan Quinn). Sometimes I wish I had a favourite 'go to' author, but then I also love discovering new authors too. Too hard to pick favourites.

  6. I love The Girl in Times Square by Paullina Simmons. Even thought the characters drive me nuts throughout, I love it.
    Also The Hunger Games always stays with me for weeks after reading it. I just love those books.

  7. oops... I said I was going to have my top reads list ready for this month and ya know what? I just don't. Opps. I have 9 currently and I really wanna get 10!! I have a couple of books to read which I suspect could be that one to make up the 10 - then I will be adding it for sure to your linky. Books making the list are those that I can't put down, that I feel moved by, that I hate to see end, that make me feel like I've made best buddies with the characters.. .ya know? Books that go that extra bit to entertain and change you.

  8. I think I would find it too hard to nail down a definitive list of my favourites (the obsessive organiser in me really wishes I had written down every single book I've read so I COULD perform such a task!), but there are a few standouts which I think would be on my list somewhere. The Chronicles of Narnia (can I list them as a whole?), the Harry Potter series (ditto?), A Song of Ice and Fire.....ok, perhaps I could list my favourite SERIES of books!
    I recently finished reading Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. That one would go straight on to any favourites list of mine! Recommend!

  9. The one book I have read over and over again is The Diary of Anne Frank. I am just fascinated with it. I even dragged all of my friends to her house when we were in Amsterdam. In the floods of 2010/11, I lost the majority of my books and I had quite a collection. Anne remained dry though. A miracle :)

  10. When I was a teenager I read a book called Catherine about a girl who dies from Anorexia. The book is written by her mother and I think I read it at least once a term for the whole time I was at school. However I haven't read it since, and I don't think I could. Another book that I have read multiple times is The Power of One and really I could read all of Bryce Courtenay's books over and over again. It was so bittersweet reading Jack of Diamonds knowing that it was the last book he would ever write. I wanted to know more about Jack and it made me sad that the planned series was cut short by his death.

  11. I'm a Stephen King lover for re-reads, and my other favourite is the Lonesome Dove series by Larry McMurtry. Can I just mention something - not sure if the problem is from my end (I am on Safari on a Mac laptop) but your social media icons on the left hand side of the screen covers the text. It actually makes it quite hard to read. I've noticed it the last few times I've been here so not sure if you've changed something recently or if it's from my end x

  12. Oh I love a book that just STICKS with you! Anything that I've never been able to get out of my head - whether its the plot, a character or a theme, sits on my shelf in case I ever need to read it or check it again! I keep seeing The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time on shelves in stores and keep meaning to grab a copy! Might just do it next time!!!

  13. Great linky! I haven't posted about reading for a long time. Nor writing my books for that matter. May have to fix that!
    Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit


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