To celebrate Biblio-Buzz, the Alexandra Palace Children’s Book Awards (which runs until the end of March), we’ve asked people to select their favourite books. Here’s the selection from Ally Pally volunteer Joanna Mead…
When I was asked to pick my ‘Desert Island books’ I thought it would be an easy task but how wrong I was. My ‘long’ list had over 30 books on it! I agonised over cutting the list down for days and in the end I decided that rather than pick my favourite books I would pick those that have meant something to me at different times in my life, or are books that are not the first ones that spring to mind as being ‘favourite’ books but are still a great read for various reasons:
Tess of the d’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
I studied this for my A level English Literature and Hardy fast became my favourite author of this genre. It is a beautiful and haunting novel and I never tire of re-reading it.
Fever Pitch – Nick Hornby
If like me, you have a partner who is a life-long Arsenal fan read this – it will explain a lot!
The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
A fantastic novel, short, but every word and sentence counts.
Burial Rites – Hannah Kent
After a few years of not reading regularly this is the book that re-ignited my passion for reading.
Enduring Love – Ian McEwan
I could’ve picked almost any book by McEwan but this one is so elegantly written and compelling right from the start.
The Garden of Evening Mists – Tan Twan Eng
A gorgeous novel set in post-war Malaysia about guilt, loss and love. The main focus of the story is on the relationship of the main character, Yun Ling and her gardener Nakamura Aritomo.
The Collector – John Fowles
I read this in my teens, and it has stayed with me. This is the book I give most often as a gift.
Station Eleven – Emily St. John Madel
This is a fascinating dystopian novel which will make you think about the world we live in now with longing. If you are a fan of The Handmaid’s Tale and Margaret Atwood’s work, then you’ll like this.
Grief is the Thing with Feathers – Max Porter
Again, a short book but it packs a punch emotionally about the subject of grief and grieving. It also manages to be funny and heart-warming.
The Insult – Rupert Thomson
This is one of David Bowie’s 100 must-read books of all time – if it was good enough for him then it is certainly good enough for me! This novel has an unusual plot but is compelling and you’ll want to read more by Thomson when you’ve finished it.
Coal Black Mornings – Brett Anderson
This isn’t your standard autobiography as this first book by Anderson (founder & lead singer of Suede) stops as the band sign their first big record deal. It’s impossible not to relate to the insights about growing up in the 70’s and 80’s
Alexandra Palace is run by a charity for the benefit of everyone. It’s loved by many people: as a historic landmark, ice rink, legendary gig venue, exhibition centre, theatre, park with panoramic views and more. As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic our income has fallen catastrophically and our survival is at risk. Your support can help: as a charity, every £1 we receive is reinvested back into the organisation and will help us get back on our feet.