Rose Mannering’s Top 5 Books
I pretty much live and breathe books, and that is by no means a complaint. I’m a recent English graduate so that means a lot of books (three years worth), but I’m also a writer, which means more books (my own books) as well as being an avid reader and a booktuber (everyone else’s books). Have you lost count of all the books? I have. So here I have waded through the mountainous piles of books that constitute my life and compiled a list of five favourites. Narrowing it down to five is pretty hard, but I’ve given it my best shot and if you’d like more then you could always check out my website for further favourites as well as my own book-babies.
1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Oh where to begin with this book. It might be the incredibly endearing narrator, Scout, who burrows right into your heart and never leaves you, or the stoic calm of Atticus, another character that stays with you for life, or maybe it’s the lyrical yet approachable writing style of this novel that gives me chills every time I read it. Whatever it is, I can’t stress how fantastic this book is. I have pressed To Kill a Mockingbird upon everyone I’ve come across who hasn’t read it yet. There’s so much to learn from Lee’s prose and I will continue to reread my copy with pleasure for many years to come.
2. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
I think this book just epitomises my teenage-hood. So many of the things that Cassie says, I too said and thought. I was absolutely sure that I would never fall in love, I was consciously naïve and I wrote obsessively in practice books trying to document and ‘capture’ the stories around me. However, that’s sadly where the similarities end. I didn’t live in a castle and I’m pretty bitter about it. But that doesn’t stop me adoring this book. I reread I Capture the Castle every spring and each time I fall in love with it all over again. It’s an amazing summer read if you’re looking for something dreamy and beautiful.
3. Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
I can vividly remember the first time I read this book and how it gripped me like nothing else. I think its famous first line says it all: Last night, I dreamt I went to Manderly again. I mean, come on, who doesn’t want to keep reading after that?! This was the first Du Maurier I ever read and it began a deep love affair. My family are die-hard Du Maurier fans (along with Austen, but we’ll come to her later) and we were all nerdy enough to go on the Du Maurier trail in Cornwall, loving every second of it. Rebecca is my favourite Du Marurier, but I love Frenchmen’s Creek for its pirate romance, The King’s General for its creepiness and Jamaica Inn for the thrills. If you’ve never read a Du Maurier then I say DO IT, you won’t regret it.
4. The Member of the Wedding by Carson McCullers
I was introduced to McCullers by my agent and there began an intense book-love affair. I could ramble on for ages about how beautiful McCullers prose is and how she manages to say everything in just a few words. Her rhythmic style is second to none and her isolated, yearning characters are so painfully realistic that it actually hurts. If you want a small introduction to her work, then I would advise starting with The Ballard of the Sad Café. That was where I fell in love. Then I fell head over heels for The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, before settling with The Member of the Wedding. I think the latter is my favourite because it is so painfully relatable. The main character, a young tomboy similar in some respects to Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird, experiences all the loneliness of the world. The Member of the Wedding took McCullers five years to write and its so perfectly balanced that I can’t believe she wrote it so quickly.
5. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Okay, she had to be in here somewhere. Jane has been my gal pal throughout my teens and she will continue to both comfort and shock me for years to come. It’s not the men in Austen’s novels that I fall in love with (although, they are pretty dreamy) it’s her heroines who are all so relatable and loveable (except for maybe Fanny – I’m not a Mansfield Park kind of lady). Of all Austen’s wonderful novels, I think that I have to go with Pride and Prejudice since it was my first bookmance and the first thing I reach for when I need something to get me through the tough times. Austen is awesome, there’s no two ways about it.