If you’ve passed a Gruffalo in the street today or saw a Hungry Caterpillar on the bus, you’re not going mad. It’s World Book Day 2017! The annual event celebrates all things bookish and sees children all over the country dress up as their favourite characters. It’s utterly adorable and shows kids that reading can be fun, which is so important.
I wanted to join in the festivities by sharing some of my favourite books, which I can’t recommend enough. From Gothic Romance to Young Adult literature, here’s the books that have made a lasting impression on me.
Jane Eyre (1847) is classic literature at its finest. Eloquently written with extravagant dialogue and exquisite scenery, Charlotte Brontë’s tale has stood the test of time. I love the gothic undertones of Victorian literature, which Jane Eyre epitomises. The story is beautiful and inspires me to hold out for my Rochester, while resisting the urge to run to the moors when things get tough. Screen adaptations of the novel have only strengthened my love for it, none more so than the BBC’s take on it starring Ruth Wilson and Toby Stephens.
Reminiscent of the gothic tales I adore, The Miniaturist (2014) was the book that made me fall in love with reading again. I’ll admit studying English throughout university left me with little willpower to read books that I didn’t have to study. This changed, however, when I started my Publishing MSc and discovered Jessie Burton’s debut. I was swept along the pages by her majestic style of writing, entranced by the mysterious story and its elusive characters. I remembered just how enjoyable a book can be when it consumes you.
The Night Circus
I can’t quite express how magical The Night Circus (2011) is to read. Even the pages of Erin Morgenstern’s novel are beautiful to look at, emblazoned with stars and shapes to bring the circus to life. The story is utterly original and captivating, to the point where it is hard to believe it’s fiction. How I wish the Night Circus were real, so I could visit it myself! Beyond the magic of the circus, Morgenstern has written a heartwarming love story of two souls destined to be together against the odds.
Have you noticed a theme, yet? Gothic literature has a special place in my heart. I discovered Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca (1938) by searching for books inspired by Jane Eyre. Little did I know, Rebecca is a classic unto itself with a fantastic movie adaptation by Alfred Hitchcock to boot. Mrs Danvers is the most crooked character; harsh, manipulative and unnerving, her fixation over the deceased Rebecca is fascinating. The great estate of Manderley brings all my favourite gothic tropes to life, while the relationship between the book’s narrator and her new husband echoes that of Jane and Rochester.
Only Ever Yours
Stepping away from the gothic theme, Only Ever Yours (2014) is one of the best Young Adult books I’ve ever read. Louise O’Neill’s debut holds up a mirror to society, scorning its beauty standards and misogyny. In her novel, women are created purely to satisfy the needs of men and taught how to please them in a school dedicated to the cause, all in preparation for the day they either become a companion, concubine or chastity. Maintaining the sinister undertones of books I enjoy, Only Ever Yours is a witty satire that hits close to home and demonstrates the power of Young Adult literature.