Friday 15 April 2011

The Friday Column - My Life In Books

This is the first of a new feature on - Every Friday I will use my blog to talk about something a little different. As always, I welcome your feedback :-)

My first Friday Column is inspired by a feature in Easy Living Magazine. Every month a well-known person is asked to give their life in books. I really enjoy reading about their choices, so I thought I would do the same...

Charles Dickens - David Copperfield 

This is my favourite book of all time. My parents gave me a copy when I was at Primary School. Bizarrely, it was a condensed version for students learning English as a foreign language and so was easy to read -.much easier than the "Penguin Classic" copy I bought when I was in my teens.

David Copperfield has been suggested to be an autobiographical account of Dicken's life. It is the story from birth, his teenage life and on through careers, romances, marriages and deaths. I love the way this book evoked so many emotions, and I had empathy for pretty much all of the characters. The tale cleverly interweaves the connections between the characters - the way they meet, come together and ultimately depart. It is one of the few books where the characters really come alive. I never tire of this book.

However, I was very disappointed when I first sat down to watch David Copperfield on TV thinking it would be an adaptation of the book - only to find some magician appear on my screen!

Margery Williams - The Velveteen Rabbit 

I was such an avid reader when I was young, so when a friend of the family visited from America and presented me this book I was delighted.

This is an utterly charming tale about a stuffed rabbit longing to become real through the love of his owner, having been told by the Skin Horse that a toy becomes real if its owner really loves it.

As a child I loved the idea that somehow toys came alive and talked to each other, so this book - and its lovely illustrations - holds a special place in my heart.

I have the book safely boxed up in my loft as a memory of my childhood.

Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider - THE RULES Time-tested secrets for capturing the heart of Mr Right

This book was all over the press when it was released and caused uproar at the time. It was published in 1995 when I was 18.

Being a curious sort, and it would seem not wishing to waste my time dating lots of Mr Wrongs... I purchased it to see what all the fuss was about.

It came with such pearls of wisdoms as:

Don't accept a date for Saturday night any later than a Wednesday.
Don't go dutch on a date.
Always end phone-calls first.
Always end a date first - The idea being you leave the man wanting more.

I think the best advice I read was to never chase a man. If you have to do the chasing then he just isn't that into you and it will lead to disappointment.

What can I say - I read the book and promptly ignored all the advice. I went on to have some very bad relationships!

So I changed tact and followed the rules. Some things I just couldn't follow though, like not talking too much (I cannot help it) and not opening up too soon (well sometimes I wear my heart on my sleeve).

It may be a load of nonsense, but it bagged me a husband and I had a lot of fun along the way!

Richard Nelson Bolles - What Color Is Your Parachute

I was given this as a leaving present from a brief job in IT Recruitment. I had quickly worked out that the recruitment game wasn't for me, but I needed a little guidance as to my next career move and the Director of the Company recognised this, hence the gift,

This is an excellent and useful book for people job hunting and anyone wanting a career change. It contains lots of advice and exercises to help decide and steer you to the most suitable job.

It asks - WHAT skills do you most love to use? WHERE--in what field--would you most love to use them? And HOW do you find such jobs without depending on agencies, ads, and online postings?

It offers practical job hunting tips. As the manual is published every year the advice is bang up to date.

I can highly recommend this book if you are at a cross roads in your career or starting out on the job ladder..

Anthony Capella - The Wedding Officer

I found myself drawn to this book merely by its title and the attractive cover when I was actually in the book store buying a guide to Italy's Amalfi Coast. It must have been fate as this novel is set in Naples... I didn't purchase it then but came home,  read the reviews and decided to buy it from Amazon.

The story revolves around my favourite things, food, Italy and romance. It is an enchanting and erotic tale. A vivid story that transports you back to wartime Italy. 

The premise - A young soldier arrives in Occupied Naples in 1943, where his duties include dissuading Allied soldiers from marrying their beautiful Italian girlfriends. A beautiful young country girl joins his staff as a cook. Under the twin influences of Italian food and Italian passion, they conduct a romance and as he realises that his heart is more important than his orders, an eruption of Vesuvius sets in motion a series of epic events that will change their lives for ever. 

I don't think I have ever read a book this well written and a story that I quite simply did not want to end. The Wedding Officer is full of historical reference which I found fascinating, the use of food being central to the plot is inspiring and the love affair so sensuous and yet raw.

What books hold meaning for you ? I would love to read about your choices.


  1. Like the new column & some great tips to add to my reading list! Thanks for sharing! Movies next week? x

  2. LOVE this new column, I think it helps readers to learn more about YOU which is a great way to connect.

    My favourite books are.

    We need to talk about Kevin.

    Never has a book moved me so much. I still get chills when I think of it.

    The Lovely Bones.

    Again, so well written.

    I adore reading books, and am a very quick reader so there are lots I've enjoyed but those two have stayed with me and I can read over and over again.

  3. Thanks for your comments Skin Deep Beauty Blogger - Glad you like the new column. I will certainly consider doing movies in the future, you never know it may be next week!

    Thanks Big Fashionista - I think I have to read both your suggestions. Like you I am a fast reader.

  4. great column i love reading books my fav charles dickens one has to be great expectations,agree with big fashionista both the lovely bones and we need to talk about kevin are brilliant reads,looking forward to next weeks column

  5. Ahh The Velveteen Rabbit - that brought back memories! What a great idea for a different set of posts. Now I cannot read The Lovely Bones, it upset me too much, my daughter is about that age and it really got to me, similarly I was given a Sebastian Faulkes book which had 2 brothers in it that were the same age as my 2 boys at the time, again a no no! One of my favourite books was The Reader, before it was commercialised by Kate whatsherface in the film. I really liked Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson which I only read recently, very tightly written, Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks which is about the Great Plague reaching Eyam in Derbyshire and the village decides to cut itself off - it really happened! I also like The Great Stink by Clare Clark which is about the sewers of Victorian London - history is a great joy for me. Sorry an essay instead of a comment! Jan x

  6. This is not only an interesting post, it's also a great idea to mix things up a bit on a blog and write about something new.

    When I think about important books in my life, it isn't always the best ones that come to mind (just like that song you can't get out of your head isn't necessarily your favourite). Rubicon Beach, by Steve Erickson, is a quirky little book that always reminds me of my year's study at the University of Iowa in the 1980s. Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises also takes me back to my university days, while I'll never forget the pure joy of reading Rumo and his Miraculous Adventures, by Walter Moers, a book that makes me smile whenever I think about it.


Please leave your comments, I love reading them and will reply to all :-)


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