Here at Lands End HQ, we love nothing more than getting to grips with a good book; so much so, that some of our more avid readers have formed their own book club. We asked three of the members to tell us a bit about their favourite books… and we’d also love to hear what your top pick for bedtime reading would be. Comment below to let us know!
“One of my favourite books we read was ‘Diary of a Nobody’, written in 1888. In the best book club tradition it split the group completely (leading to lots of discussion). It was funny, sad – and gave an insight into life of the lower middle classes; their frustrations and worries, how they entertained themselves, plus a little bit of social history. Amazingly, a letter posted at 9am in London was at its destination by 4pm the same day! I read it for book club and one of our group was so enthusiastic and positive about the book that I kept it to read again.
Another of my top ten books would be ‘Requiem for a Wren’ by Neville Shute – it was my mum’s favourite book. She was in the Wrens during WWII so I think a lot of the story, attitudes and settings she could identify with completely. I read it about 15 years ago (as a tribute to her, as I had suddenly remembered it) and loved it. The characters have such integrity and the story is simple, but beautiful. Neville Shute’s best known book is probably ‘A Town Like Alice’ (also brilliant, and we read that in Book Club a couple of years ago).”
“Some of the most captivating stories I’ve read are ‘A Thousand Splendid Suns’, ‘The Cashmere Shawl’, ‘The Prince of Mist’ (quite scary!) and possibly my ultimate favourite which I have now read a couple of times or so is ‘The Shadow of the Wind' by Carlos Ruiz Zafon.
As I recall when we first chose this book for book club, I didn’t read it immediately. I ordered it online and a massive hardback arrived, which was far too heavy to hold! A couple of months later my sister-in-law gave my husband a paperback copy, which I then decided to read. I was so cross with myself for not persevering with the hardback copy because I fell in love with the book, the story line, the characters and the author! Why hadn't I read it before?
It really is one of the most fantastical story lines I have ever read. Who would have thought that a story about a book found by a 10 year-old boy in a secret library full of long forgotten books kept secret and safe for years and years could be so exciting and such a thrill to read! This book had everything from the mundane workings of a bookshop keeper, to thrills and suspense, plus a little romance. It really is quite an enthralling story and I would challenge anyone to say otherwise. I loved the book so much that I have read the other two books in the series with just as much gusto: 'Angel's Game' and 'The Prisoner of Heaven'.”
“I always have several books on the go and will read absolutely everything and anything – however I won’t lie about what I like and what I don’t when it comes to books. If I think something is a waste of my eyesight everyone knows about it!
I read ‘Lord of the Rings’ just about every year without fail, from aged 10 or 11 until I had my family (and then I took huge delight in introducing a new generation to Frodo and Gandalf). Currently I am ploughing through the Game of Thrones epic, but am getting very confused with what I see on TV and what I read in the book!
What I love most about the book club is the chance it gives me to read books I may not otherwise pick up. For instance, I probably would never have chosen to read ‘The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas’ and ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime’, but I am so glad that I did.
My favourite book club book was ‘Shadow of the Wind’ by Carlos Ruiz Zafon; a good weighty piece that introduced me to Zafon’s work and now I am a big fan of his. However, for something completely off my radar, ‘The Dean’s Watch’ by Elizabeth Goudge has stayed with me the most. A very gentle, old-fashioned novel, set against a tranquil almost cloistered background, it was a huge step outside the norm for me.
Next month we are reading ‘Stoner’ by John Williams and ‘War Paint’ by Stephanie A Smith. I can’t wait to get started!”