Yesterday’s post, and people’s responses, got me thinking about the books that I would never let go. So, in no particular order, here are my top few.
The World of Pooh by A. A. Milne
This hardback has been with me my whole life. I loved Pooh and his gentle adventures when I was a kid, then rediscovered them when I was in sixth-form. The soft, simple prose, the whimsical events, the sense that it was alright not to rush and worry but just to amble along singing a little song to yourself, it really struck a chord with teenage me. In fact, Pooh’s Tao-like simplicity remains an inspiration to me to this day, and I dip into the book to lift me up when I’m feeling blue.
I gave a copy of this to my godson on the occasion of his christening. He can’t follow the stories yet, never mind read them, but I hope it’ll provide him with comfort and inspiration down the years.
The Deptford Mice Trilogy by Robin Jarvis
I read the first of these when I was eleven. It was my first brush with anything like horror, and it had a huge impact. The thrill of being both terrified and exhilarated at the same time was something new and wonderful. They were packed with atmosphere, and with a balance of hope and darkness that made them feel incredibly real despite their fantasy animal content. Over twenty years later, I’m still planning to go back and read them, once I can build up the courage. And any time I see a corn dolly, a little shiver goes down my spine.
This is as close as I get to Tenabreme‘s wonderful habit of collecting books remembered from childhood. Of course, it’s easier when you’ve never let the books go.
The Discworld novels by Terry Pratchett
Of all the writers who have been active in my lifetime, Pratchett is the one whose wonderful work I most want to pass on to future generations. The tone of these stories may have shifted hugely over time, but I still love them all, from the weird satire of Colour of Magic to the heart-warming philosophising of his latest works. I’ve read half at least twice, Pyramids many more times than that, and Small Gods is one of my favourite reflections on religion. The man’s a treasure, and I treasure his books.
Unlike Ben, the Derleth collector I mentioned yesterday, I’m not a big keeper of books as objects. But if anyone harms my signed Pratchett there will be trouble.
So which books do you cling to, and why?