I have done my fair share of reading in my years, there have been some books that I just can’t stop talking about. Don’t get me wrong I have disliked my fair share of books too but that is a discussion for another time. For now let’s talk about all the books I love, well to save time and me rambling on to much just my top 5. These are the crème de la crème of the books I have read. To anyone who may know me, this selection will not come as a surprise. To anyone who doesn’t these are the books that I talk about all of the time, recommend to others and constantly reread. Now I am not a girl for spoilers, the 6th Harry Potter book was ruined for me the week after it came out and it broke my heart. Therefore, if you wish to read on, you have my word it will be 100% spoiler free. I will include the synopsis (taken from the back of the book) a five word summary from me and then some ramblings about why I love the book. I have a feeling this may be a long post so without any further rambling from me, here are my top five favourite books of all time:
The Night Circus- Erin Morgenstern
Synopsis: The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. The black sign, painted in white letters that hangs upon the gates, reads: Opens at Nightfall Closes at Dawn As the sun disappears beyond the horizon, all over the tents small lights begin to flicker, as though the entirety of the circus is covered in particularly bright fireflies. When the tents are all aglow, sparkling against the night sky, the sign appears. Le Cirque des Reves The Circus of Dreams. Now the circus is open. Now you may enter.
My five word Summary: Breathtakingly magical, place to get lost.
Ramblings: The twists and turns of this book, alongside the magical background of the circus really allows the reader to be drawn into this fictional world in the hopes that they too will be trapped inside of the magical pages. I don’t think that I even have enough words to talk about just how much I love this book. From the second I picked it up, to the moment I turned the last page, I fell in love. You could, in every sense of the words, say that I did indeed want to run away to the circus. I loved the magic in this book, it felt so real and wonderful a place where I could get lost and imagine for hours on end. One of the highlights of this book for me is Morgenstern’s incredible descriptive language which really brings this book to life. The fictional circus of which the book is based on ‘Le Cirque des Reves’ translates to mean the circus of dreams and honestly this whole book is a dream. I can’t talk about it enough. If you haven’t already, I honestly believe that you should read this book.
The Book Thief– Markus Zusak
Synopsis: It is 1939. In Nazi Germany, the country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier – and will become busier still. By her brother’s graveside, nine year old Liesel’s life is changed forever when she picks up a single object, abandoned in the snow. It is The Gravedigger’s Handbook, and this is her first act of book thievery. So begins Liesel’s love affair with books and words, and soon she is stealing from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor’s wife’s library . . . wherever there are books to be found. But these are dangerous times, and when Liesel’s foster family hides a Jew in their basement, nothing will ever be the same again.
My five word summary: Beautifully tragic, yet utterly wonderful.
Ramblings: This book was a rollercoaster experience from the moment I picked it up. Who knew that death would tell such a beautiful story? Zusak’s way of building up an emotional connection to the characters make this book a worthy contender on any top 5 list in my eyes, because you actually feel as though you personally know the characters and you want nothing but good things for them. This book is something else with it; I laughed, I cried, and then I cried until there was not another tear left in my body. I finished this book for the first time, whilst I was on holiday a few years back, it was 5 in the morning and I was crying myself into the night unable to put it down. I have since read the book maybe 6 times and continually cried each time. This book is beautifully tragic and it adds a different perspective on the war. I can’t tell you to read this one enough.
Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland- Lewis Carroll
Synopsis: You never know where you’ll find yourself in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll! Join Alice in Wonderland, where nothing is quite as it seems. On an ordinary summer’s afternoon, Alice tumbles down a hole and an extraordinary adventure begins. In a strange world with even stranger characters, she meets a grinning cat and a rabbit with a pocket watch, joins a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, and plays croquet with the Queen! Lost in this fantasy land, Alice finds herself growing more and more curious by the minute . . .
My five word summary: Curiously intriguing, different adventure story.
Ramblings: Oh, Alice in Wonderland. The book of my childhood, this story holds a very special place in my heart. This is the book of which I grew up reading as a child, and it is undoubtably one I still continue to love reading well into my early adult years. I believe that every ‘top 5 book’ list will most probably have a classic on it, and I am no exception to this. You see the thing is, Alice in Wonderland is magic. As a little girl I was very inquisitive and just like Alice I was curious to explore the world around me. So many people know the story of Alice in Wonderland thanks to the Disney film made in 1951 or the Tim Burton one made in 2010. But the book is so beautifully written and makes you fall in love with the characters you’ll be wishing that you was at the Mad Hatters Tea Party. This book is a breath of my childhood I don’t think I will ever let go of.
Caraval- Stephanie Garber
Synopsis: Before you enter the world of Caraval, you must remember that it’s all a game…Welcome to Caraval, where nothing is quite what it seems. Scarlett has never left the tiny isle of Trisda, pining from afar for the wonder of Caraval, a once-a-year, week-long performance where the audience participates in the show. Caraval is magic, mystery adventure and for Scarlett and her beloved sister Tella it represents freedom and an escape from their ruthless, abusive father. When Scarlett discovers her father has arranged a marriage for her she believes all her hopes of escape have been dashed. Then the sisters’ long-awaited invitations to Caraval finally arrive and it seems their dreams have come true. Yet, no sooner have they entered the confines of Caraval than Tella vanishes, kidnapped by the show’s mastermind organiser, Legend. Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But nonetheless she quickly becomes enmeshed in a dangerous game of love, magic and heartbreak. Real or not, she must find Tella before the game is over, and her sister disappears forever.
My five word summary: Wondrously enchanting and quite unpredictable.
Ramblings: This book is the newest addition to my collection, having only actually finished it last week. This book by Garber is unreal and extraordinarily captivating. The whole book is full of unexpected twists and turns that leave you stunned and longing to read to the end. I couldn’t put this book down, and within minutes finishing it, I had already purchased the sequel! This book is packed with magic and wonder and it drew me into the game, wishing that I too was playing. The characters are not hard to fall in love with and the book unravels a beautiful story of love and judgment which was welcomed. I found this book incredibly difficult to put down and I was ever so upset when I had turned the last page, I was enchanted from start to end.
It’s Kind Of A Funny Story- Ned Vizzini
Synopsis: Like many ambitious New York City teenagers, Craig Gilner sees entry into Manhattan’s Executive Pre-Professional High School as the ticket to his future. Determined to succeed at life-which means getting into the right high school to get into the right college to get the right job-Craig studies night and day to ace the entrance exam, and does. That’s when things start to get crazy. At his new school, Craig realizes that he isn’t brilliant compared to the other kids; he’s just average, and maybe not even that. He soon sees his once-perfect future crumbling away. The stress becomes unbearable and Craig stops eating and sleeping-until, one night, he nearly kills himself. Craig’s suicidal episode gets him checked into a mental hospital, where his new neighbors include a transsexual sex addict, a girl who has scarred her own face with scissors, and the self-elected President Armelio. There, isolated from the crushing pressures of school and friends, Craig is finally able to confront the sources of his anxiety. Ned Vizzini, who himself spent time in a psychiatric hospital, has created a remarkably moving tale about the sometimes unexpected road to happiness. For a novel about depression, it’s definitely a funny story.
My five word summary: Heartbreakingly beautiful, grounding to reality.
Ramblings: Many of the books that I have featured on this list are full of magic and wonder and enchantment. It is so very easy to get lost in these magical books with new realities and characters facing unrealistic challenges. This book however is the complete opposite. This book is harrowingly realistic and grounding. Though it is fictional in many ways it could be considered autobiographical as Ned Vizzini spent some of his life in a mental hospital and this somewhat feels like a tribute to that. It put the book back into reality upon the discovery the author had sadly commit suicide. This book is groundbreaking in acceptance of mental health struggles amongst teenagers. The book is humbling and leaves an impression, on that has lasted and it comes with it’s fair share of life lessons. This book is magic in its own way as it touches topics people fear talking of in a light that rationalises and sensitivity discusses. I believe that everyone should read this book as it gave me a different outlook on life. Heartbreakingly realistic but a beautiful accepting read none the less.
So there it is, my top 5 favourite books, in no particular order. There were some books of which I debated to add in, the ones that didn’t quite make the cut and perhaps we can discuss them another time. I’d love to know your opinions on any of my favourite books or a suggestion of your favourite book if it is not on my list! There is a section entitled ‘Say Hello’ on my blog so why not pop over and let’s talk about books!
Until next time ~Leah