Family Favourites: Could You Choose Your Top Ten Favourite Books?

Let’s face it, you’re all here for the books.

You’re all here because you are all bookworms, just like me.

You are my crew and I love having this space to talk about books with you all. I have very few people in my real life who read as much as I do….BUT I do have a wonderful bookish Aunty who I chat books with and swap books with and I thought, why not get some guest content over here on the blog so you don’t have to listen to me all the time!

When I asked if my Aunty Lisa would maybe give me a run down of her 5 all time favourite books she was up for the challenge AND EVEN BETTER so was my Uncle Gary! Two in one! Result!

We did however decide that a Top 5 was just TOO HARD so I widened the field to Top 10. Still a tricky task but one which they valiantly undertook. Let’s take a look at their choices. We’ll start with Gary as he finished his list first (well done on being so decisive Gary!)

Here we go……!

Lights by Patrick Stenson
This is the true story of one man’s life that was full of unbelievable experiences – Charles Herbert Lightoller. He was born on the 30th March 1874 and spent most of his life at sea, as a young boy he was on board a sailing ship taken by pirates.  He encounted U-boats in the Great War, was a surviving crew member on the Titanic and helped evacuate soldiers from the beaches of Dunkirk (who knows maybe even saving my great uncle).
Frank by Jon Ronson
The story of Chris Sievey, who you may know better as Frank Sidebottom.  I have to say that Chris is special to me as I am also a Timperley lad and went to the same school, although a few years younger.  I can identify with so much in this book.  This is only a small book, I read it in one go, an easy read, but if you shared Frank’s humour you will love it.  He really was a one off.
A Tommy’s Sketchbook by Lance-Corporal Henry Buckle
This is a wonderful little book of the diary written and drawn by Henry Buckle.  His watercolour and pencil drawings together with his written account give us an invaluable insight into what a Tommy saw from the trenches.  It covers the period of time from March to October 1915 in Belgium and France.  Ending when Henry was under enemy fire and the trench he was in collapsed on him, his legs were badly injured and he was discharged from active duty in August 1916
Edited by David Read it is a must for anyone with an interest in the Great War.  

Blue Lightning by Ann Cleeves
As I have lived in the Highlands of Scotland for 7 years and now for the last 3 in the Borders, the character of Shetland based Jimmy Perez appealed to me as well as the setting.  When Detective Perez returns to Fair Isle knowing that he will be viewed with a degree of mistrust by the community, things are made worse by the autumn storms cutting the island off from the mainland. A body is found, fear and anger from the islanders hinder Perez as he has to quickly find the killer.  I really like how Ann Cleeves writes, amongst other things small chapters, sorry but I can not leave a book mid chapter.
The Peterloo Massacre by Joyce Marlow
Last year was the 100th anniversary of this event.  As someone who has a keen interest in history and as a Mancunian, this is a book that for me should be on the curriculum of schools in Manchester.  It is not an easy read but that is not a reason not to read this book.
I’m not really here by Paul Lake
Paul was an unbelievable young footballer with the world at his feet. He was tipped to be a future England captain until his career was tragically cut short by injury.  The book is so open and frank about his struggles to come to terms with life after football.
The Monogram Murders by Sophie Hannah
I have to admit that I have not read a single Agatha Christie book. I love her character Hercule Poirot  played by David Suchet in the tv series and I was intrigued by another writer protraying him in a new story.  I am so glad I decided to read it as the Agatha Christie Estate made the right choice of new author, this is Poirot from his perfect moustache to his sparkling white spats.  I will definitely be reading the other two Poirot stories by Sophie Hannah.
The Last Fighting Tommy by Richard Van Emden
This is the true story of Harry Patch who was a Private in the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry.  I could not wait to read this book as I’d read some of Harry’s stories in a book called Veterans, where lots of WW1 men and women were interviewed. Through Harry I feel I understand a little more why my Grandad didn’t talk about his experiences in Gallipoli.  Harry died in 2009 aged 111.
Shackleton’s Whisky by Neville Peat
I have to include this book as Sir Ernest Shackleton is one of my heroes.  The book is the extraordinary story of a heroic explorer, his men and 25 cases of unique MacKinlays Old Scotch Whisky.
Trautmann’s Journey by Katrine Clay
As the author says this is a story from Hitler Youth to F.A. Cup legend.  I grew up listening to my Dad telling me the story of this German Manchester City goalkeeper, but you do not have to be a football fan to enjoy this book.  It really is a remarkable boys own story.  Thank you to Amanda (& Ian) for this 50th birthday present.

So those are Gary’s choices. What I love most about these books is the nostalgia and memories attached to them. They have been chosen for such lovely reasons and it’s always nice when books stir particular feelings for you. I also agree wholeheartedly with Gary’s choice of Sophie Hannah, such a great author! I also love the fact that these choices are non-fiction heavy. I do read non-fiction but fiction will always be my first choice, so it’s nice to see someone who’s reading preferences are weighted the opposite way.


Let’s have a little gander at Lisa’s choices…..


This has been an enjoyable but difficult task, to pick only 10 books, oh no what could I leave out? Who could I leave out?! Then I got to thinking of all the wonderful books I have read and still have on my ultimate shelf and I picked the ones I will read again with pleasure.
Mr Galliano’s Circus by Enid Blyton
This is a book from my early childhood, I first read it about 48 years ago, I last read it about a month ago.  Yes it is about a circus but that’s not the main thing, it is about kindness and the love of animals big and small.  A wonderful read whatever your age.
The Ninth Child by Sally Magnusson
This is my latest read which I purchased from my local independent bookshop (Mainstreet Trading) after reading the brilliant review by Bookishchat.  I have enjoyed reading Sally Magnusson before this book.  Stunning cover, history, folklore, strong women, Royalty and Scottish fairies what more could you need to escape with.
Who on Earth is Tom Baker – an autobiography
My favourite Dr Who, that is who Tom Baker is.  This is for lovers of Tom or as I discovered for those of us who like wild dark comedy, so funny, so moving.  I could hear his voice all the way through, a joy and an interesting education into Tom Baker.
The Wonder by Emma Donoghue
This is a haunting book set in Ireland which attracted me immediately.  My mum was from Southern Ireland and it holds a strange attraction especially though the history and religion.  From the dedication quoting the Irish blessing – ‘’May there be no frost on your potatoes, nor worms in your cabbage’’ to the last page it gripped me tight.
Elsie & Mairi Go to War by Diane Atkinson
This is the true story of the two most famous women of WW1.  They were both motorcyclists and met at a club, racing in rallies and trials from 1912 to 1914.  I first read this book when I borrowed it from my local library (brilliant places), after finishing I sourced a copy for sale, an ex library book.  Elsie & Mairi risked their lives and their health, were awarded 17 medals and as they say, had the time of their lives.  This is not an easy read in parts, they lived through so much and saw so much.  It is also about the challenges they faced after the war.
The Corset by Laura Purcell
A birthday present which I love.  History, gothic, mystery, murder, supernatural, all the words that can mean you are about to read a book you will wish could last forever.  This is that BOOK.  All I can say is read it and love it.
Mr Golightly’s Holiday by Salley Vickers
Another birthday present, although a few years earlier.  I am so glad my family know me so well, another cracker.  Set in Dartmoor, this is a profound and mysterious story told in a very descriptive way.  It draws you in and keeps you wanting to know more about Mr Golightly, is he who you suspect he is? 
Home to Roost & other peckings by Deborah Devonshire
This is THE Deborah Devonshire, the youngest of the Mitford sisters.  A series of short stories, reminiscences of events she experienced from the farmers club dinner to President Kennedy’s funeral.  We used to visit Chatsworth estate and it is beautiful, we always looked out for the Duke or Duchess.  Anyone who Alan Bennett thinks is a character and funny gets my vote too.
My Dear, I Wanted To Tell You By Louisa Young
I do like history and have a draw towards WW1.  My Grandfather and his two brothers all served and survived, although Grandad was injured and lost an eye.  This book, although a novel helps you realise how much was hidden by some who served from those they loved.  It is based on the history and medicine of the time and gives a very moving view.  A book that just might make you cry.
Reaperman by Sir Terry Pratchett
Finally my ultimate book, this is one that if I had to choose only one book to keep and read forever it would be this one. The old desert island choice, this is mine.  I have found that reading this book has helped me in times of sadness, anger, stress and in times of joy.  It has pulled me out of reading slumps and I can honestly say I have now no idea how many times I have read it.  I own 5 copies, including a tape version (old style audio).  I only hope that everyone can find their version of my Reaperman to live with and enjoy, time and time again. 

So those are Lisa’s choices! Some corkers there (I know because I recommended a couple!) a good mix of fiction and non-fiction and chosen because they are steeped in nostalgia or because Lisa would happily read them again and enjoy them just as much as the first time round. It’s sometimes tricky with favourite books to re-read them, what if the magic fades the second time round? But I suppose the test of a true favourite is the ability to return to it and love it all over again.

It’s always nice to have other people recommend books and I hope you’ll see something you might like to take a look at within these 20 books.

It’s a tough task to pull a list together of your favourite 10 books. The very idea brings me out in a cold sweat but I think Lisa and Gary have done a crackin job!

Thank you!

See you all again soon.

Amanda – Bookish Chat xxx

6 thoughts on “Family Favourites: Could You Choose Your Top Ten Favourite Books?

  1. So enjoyed reading this and getting to know your family through their book choices. I love the fact that they have kept these treasured books, especially that Enid Blyton, for decades.. I don’t think I have any books from my childhood sadly


    1. Yes the choices are very special to them both. I have one childhood favourite book but it’s not the original copy. I had to buy myself another copy in my adult years. (The Little Girl And The Tiny Doll)


  2. Such an interesting blog! I love seeing other people’s favourites. I think I had that copy of Mr Galliano’s Circus, but sadly all my Enid Blytons were thrown away when my mum moved.


    1. It’s always interesting to see other people’s book choices. Especially when they have memories attached.


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