I love books. There’s nothing better than sitting down, in your favourite spot, with a cup of tea and a good book. I know that sometimes people get carried away in their lives, and they often immediately turn to the TV or computer in their spare time, but I think it’s such a shame. People used to read. Read a new book, something they borrowed from a friend or something they picked up at the store. I suppose you could say that people read now-a-days; blogs, online newspapers, textbooks. But there’s something to say about a real, tangible, paper-and-ink book.
In my first year of university, I bought myself a Kobo. I had quite the commute; a 20-minute bus to the train station, a 45-minute train, and a 30-minute walk. Twice a day, that’s a lot of time. My first few trips, I looked around and saw how other people spent their time. It would be a real shame to waste it, wouldn’t it? I saw people reading newspapers, on tablets and laptops, on phones, reading report briefs from work, and sometimes students reading textbooks or trying to fit in those last minutes of productivity before they got home. I thought about each of these options, but none seemed right for me. I didn’t have a newspaper subscription, I have never found anything on my phone interesting enough to warrant a 40-minute stare-down, I preferred to do work at my desk at home. And then I noticed the quiet ones. Those who sit in the corner of the compartment and keep to themselves, nose to paper.
I had read books when I was a kid; my aunt used to send me new ones every Christmas and birthday. But at one point, I stopped. I suppose it was during highschool, when I would spend every second I could with my friends, doing everything and nothing. I forgot what it was to read. So when I had those precious 70-minutes given to me, I seized the opportunity. And boy am I glad. I had forgotten how much I loved reading. How much there is in a story. How an author can take you from that bus or train, and put you anywhere else. Atop a grassy knoll, looking down upon an old weathered estate, watching two children grow up and apart. Watch their childhood innocence and their unrequited love. You feel like you’re there with Miss Earnshaw as she falls for her childhood love. Or you’re facing the society you’ve always known, and calling it’s bluff. You’re different than everyone else, and it’s dangerous and exciting and amazing. The boy you love has scars, and you want to, need to see what’s outside. And then you die, and we see the world after through Four’s eyes.
I love my book collection. I’ve reread books, borrowed books, and lent them. But because I would read on the go, the Kobo became the easiest option for me. It slipped right into my backpack, and I never had to worry about the pages bending or ripping on my travels. Every Christmas, my family members would give me gift cards so I could buy more books, and I would use it up within a month. I bought books so often that I would use Kobo codes and get twice as many books for the value of my cards.
But it also comes with it’s drawbacks. I have over 130 books on my little Kobo, but I can’t touch them. I can download them, and pull them up when I want to read them. But I can’t look at my collection on my wall, I can’t use my favourite bookmark, and I can’t lend them to my friends. I’ve decided, while I’ve been travelling, that I need to start buying real books again. I’ve forgotten what it is to hold a real book. I’ve read hundreds of books, and I should have a library by now, but it’s only half full in real life. I want to have a balance. Buy some books on my Kobo when it’s convenient, when I’m travelling, and when I receive a new Kobo code. But I should also buy books when I’m in the store, because I’ve forgotten what an amazing feeling that is. Walking in, and looking at all the paper and ideas.
I want my kids to read. I want to buy them as many books as they can carry. I want to read with them every night, just like my Mum did with me. And when they can read on their own, I want to sit next to them and read my own books. I want to have a library, where I can do the regular things like pay the bills and keep track of my life, but be surrounded by books. Be surrounded by other worlds and people I know but have never met.
I hope you feel the same way.
So here’s a list of my favourite books that I recommend that you read. I’ll try to update this as much as possible, but I’ll be sure to keep my favourites here for you. And if you don’t see your favourite on the list, recommend it to me (fantasies are my favourite!).
Wuthering Heights (Emily Brontë) – I remember needing to read this book for English class in high school, and everyone else complaining. I was immediately sucked in. There was something about the sad, unrequited love that just got me. Such a classic.
City of Bones, City of Ashes, City of Glass, City of Fallen Angels, and City of Lost Souls (Cassandra Clare) – I loved the Mortal Instruments Series. There were many twists and turns, and, as it usually works, the movie did not do it justice. You come to love all the characters. But after reading this series, I read the spin-off, the Infernal Devices (see below). I found that I liked that series even more. It had more depth and had an entirely other-worldly element. You should definitely read both. Coming soon: City of Heavenly Fire (yay!).
Clockwork Angel, Clockwork Prince and Clockwork Princess (Cassandra Clare) – I preferred this series to the Mortal Instruments, to be brutally honest. It was absolutely incredible. I have read so many books about the ‘love triangle’, and I usually tire of it rather quickly. But not in this series. Clare manages to keep everything together. Must read.
Hush, Hush, Crescendo, Silence, and Finale (Becca Fitzpatrick) – This was my first angel series. It was hugely successful in dragging me in and not letting me out. Ever since, I’ve loved anything to do with angels, and have always had a soft spot for such books. All I can say is, you’ll love Patch.
Fallen, Torment and Rapture (Lauren Kate) – I absolutely love love love loved this story. It brought together so many of my favourite things – eternal, undeniable love, angels, a great story, and great characters. As we all do, I hate it when a series ends. But the end of this series left me with a great feeling, that I’m sure you will get too!
Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse and Breaking Dawn (Stephenie Meyer) – Now I know what you’re going to say…how can I possibly have this on my list of favourite books ever? I’ll tell you. When I read this series, I was 13. Published almost 10 years ago now, this was the first book since my childhood that captured me. It opened up my love for the fantasy genre, and I haven’t been able to turn away since. Now I know so many people have said that the writing is bad, or that the characters are annoying, or that Bella is insufferable, but I don’t agree. That may be my 13-year-old self holding on for dear life, but this series took me away. I was so totally enraptured with this book (some may say obsessed…). When Edward left in New Moon, I lost it. Rereading them now, so many years later, I can’t help but love them. Go ahead, judge me, but i’ll always have a soft spot for Forks.
My Sister’s Keeper (Jodi Picoult) – I remember vividly when I read this book. I was visiting family friends in the Maryland, and they lent it to me. I remember exactly where I was when I read the ending. Sitting in the back seat of their van, on the right side, and when I finished, I just looked up. Erin and Amy both looked back and simply said, ‘I know.’ If you haven’t read this book, you must. Please do not be negatively swayed by the movie. The book is just beyond words.
Divergent, Insurgent and Allegiant (Veronica Roth) – This series was just amazing. I loved both Tris and Four. I became completely encased in their world. I wanted to be divergent. And the ending just about did me in. I wasn’t sure about it when I read it. I remember exactly where I was – sitting on the GO Train, on the way to my final exam of my 5th semester. Woops, almost spilt the beans! Read this series. Just read it.
The Number One Ladies’ Detective Agency (Alexander McCall Smith) – The books that I usually read have at least one element of fantasy in them. Whether they’re set in another world, or set in ours, there’s always something different about them. But I absolutely loved this book. It’s hard to explain why. I wanted to keep reading, even though there was no clear direction to the story, and no easily seen problem to be solved. It was absolutely lovely. I highly recommend this one. I have yet to continue the series, but I most certainly will.