Choosing my all-time favourite books was much harder than I thought it would be. There are so many books that I adore, and my favourites are always changing. But, for now, these are the books that continue to blow me away, those that I will always recommend to friends, and the ones I love going back to.
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Joan Didion£8.99 £8.36
Written as only Didion does, Blue Nights weaves through Didion’s experience as a mother and the life and death of her daughter Quintana Roo. It’s a jubilant and heartbreaking read that exemplifies Didion’s expertise as a writer. Midway through reading this book, I found out a member of my family had died. I think if there is any proof that some sort of destiny exists, it was that. Blue Nights explores the complexity of grief, the universality of loss, and the specificity of a mother-daughter relationship.
Raymond Carver£8.99 £8.36
Carver’s writing is perfection. It’s simple, nuanced, and never ornamental. What We Talk About When We Talk About Love is Carver’s third collection of short stories and was published in 1981. His prose latches onto the dirty details and mundanity of an average middle-aged life. You can read these stories time and time again and get something new from every read. My favourite stories are “Why Don’t You Dance” and “I Can See the Smallest Things.”
Kurt Vonnegut£8.99 £8.36
First, this book is just so crazy. It’s absolutely bizarre but also carries an undeniable punch. By the end, I was probably shouting, “WHAT IS HAPPENING!? THIS IS RIDICULOUS!” Yet, it’s incredibly reflective of humanity and our propensity to utter chaos and self-destruction. Three cheers for satire. I love this book, and all of Vonnegut’s writing, because of its strange nature and stark and creative existence. There's passivity to its madness. You must accept it for all its weirdness. But then, that act itself mirrors being in the world. Cat’s Cradle follows a writer named John as he reflects on his time researching for a book about the atomic bomb. Through his research he meets the son of the inventor of the bomb and is introduced to the banned religion of Bokononism and the fabled substance of ice-nine.