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World book day: what’s your favourite?

If there’s something that unites all of us here at Just Write (other than writing, obviously) then it’s a love of books. So, as it’s World Book Day, we thought we’d share a few of our favourites.

I should stress that this really is just a few our favourites: there were enough suggestions to fill several posts!

Lesley currently recommends “The Miniaturist” by Jessie Burton. She loved it and found it utterly gripping in its vivid portrait of life in The Netherlands in the 17th century. However, Lesley was at pains to point out that pinning down her favourite book was a near impossible task and it will almost certainly have changed by next month.

Linda is a big fan of David Nicholls for his capacity to write beautifully about relationships and included both “One Day” and “Us” amongst her choices. She also picked out Elizabeth Noble’s “Things I Want My Daughters To Know”: a dying mother leaving letters for her daughters, written from the heart with great, believable characters.

Emma’s favourite book at the moment is “The Rosie Project” by Graeme Simsion, just because it’s the funniest thing she’s ever read…

…whereas Nicki’s go-to funny book is Kingsley Amis’s “Lucky Jim”. However, her all time favourites amongst a list that spanned Susan Cooper, Agatha Christie, Stephen King, and Simon Hawke, are “The Moonstone” and “The Woman In White” by Wilkie Collins. Great villains and unexpected twists.

Phil (who doesn’t usually write himself in the third person) is a big, big fan of “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest” by Ken Kesey. It’s obviously a fine film as well but favourite movies is a whole different post. The last book he read was “By Grand Central Station I Sat Down And Wept” by Elizabeth Smart. Published in 1945, it’s a sublime piece of prose poetry which uses extraordinary language and imagery to conjure a hugely evocative expression of falling in love.

Angela also struggled to pick out a single book. However, as sagas with plenty of romance go, she couldn’t top “Gone With The Wind”Margaret Mitchell’s tour de force. Scarlett O’Hara is the ultimate flawed heroine and Rhett Butler is the irresistably attractive villain. Mitchell paints the vast panorama of the American Civil War with a broad brush, but still manages to define the impact it had on the diverse lives of her characters. Angela also had special mention for “Wuthering Heights” and Bronte’s masterly uses of the forces of nature to illustrate her themes.

Chris flew the flag for Canada with two Margaret Atwood books: “The Handmaid’s Tale” and “Cat’s Eye”. The former offers a glimpse of dystopia that feels easier and easier to imagine happening as society automates and individuals lose control. She also picked out Donna Tartt’s “The Secret History”, with a slight sense of awe that it was her first book, as her favourite novel. The horror of the story and the psychological games involved stay with the reader for a long time after the final page turns.

One of Carol’s favourite recent reads is “Elizabeth Is Missing” by Emma Healey.  It is a beautifully written, deeply touching debut novel about an old lady with dementia trying to make sense of the world. She also loved “The Paying Guests” by Sarah Waters – completely unputdownable. But her all time favourite book is “Tess of the D’Urbevilles” by Thomas Hardy which she first read when she was sixteen. She cried for a week afterwards.

And finally Liz picked out a really broad range of her favourites, including a number of classics from Dickens, Twain and Joyce. She loves “What Katy Did” by Susan Collidge because Katy was a tomboy, as was she! Conan Doyle’s plotting is wonderfully clever in “A Study In Scarlet”, Wodehouse makes her laugh out loud in “The Code Of The Woosters”, and Ian McEwan’s tangled web in “Atonement” is heartbreaking. And then there was De Maurier’s “Rebecca” and Sebastian Faulks’ “Birdsong” and…

…and we really, really love books and could go on for hours. Not just on World Book Day.

Hope you find something here that inspires you. We’d love to be inspired by what you’ve read recently. What are your favourites?

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