Esio Trot

Today I ate a lovely lunch, while sitting in the sun in the garden, while some tortoises mated on the grass. They may have been turtles, but I don’t know the difference so I can’t tell you.

It reminded me of the book ‘Esio Trot’ which my Mum read to me once when I was little. It’s by Roald Dahl, that king of childrens authors, and it is a truly lovely and hilarious read.

Ah, I hear some of you giggling. You didn’t realise I was a book nerd, did you.

Well I am. My Mum is a kid’s librarian, and a damn good one too. She introduced me to reading when I was young, and I can’t imagine a life without books. However, I don’t know if it’s my own childishness, or my Mum’s influence, but I am obsessed with kid’s stories (or things masquerading as such). I always thought I would graduate on to adult books, but it never really happened for me. With the odd exception, I only really read children’s/young adult fiction, and I am proud to say I enjoy every second. Here, for your reading pleasure (and you clearly like reading, if you keep up with me) are my top 10 books of ALL TIME. May I add, these are not in any order. I might do another top 10 sometime soon.

1. The Horse and his Boy. This is a book from the Narnia series by C.S. Lewis, which starts with ‘The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe’. It is fantastic as a story, and deals with a completely different set of main characters, which I find quite pleasing. I have always loved it.
2. As You Like It. What, not a Shakespeare fan? Then I’m not sure I can continue to associate with you. I consider Shakespeare to be one of the best comedy writers of all time, and nothing shows that off better than As You Like It. It’s a little dense, but a lot of fun.
3. Sophie’s World. Again, not entirely sticking to children’s fiction, this amazing book by Jostein Gaarder is not only a nice story, but contains the entire simplified history of philosophy. With examples. And someone from Uni has my copy, and I’d like it back please.
4. Mort. Never has the character of ‘Death’ been so masterfully written as by Terry Pratchett in the Discworld novels. Here is a series I could talk about all day, but what would be better would be for you to go away and pick this one up. It’s fantastic.
5. The Hobbit. In a hole in the ground, there lived a Hobbit. This fantastic prequel to the Lord of the Rings by J.R.R Tolkien is a book that every kid should read. It is fantasy at it’s best, and I disagree with anyone who pretends that the films are better than the books in this case.
6. Across the Nightingale Floor. I’m a hopeless historical romantic (provided it’s interesting and not mushy) and this book by Lian Hearn definitely provides. It’s sweet and lovely, but also a really nice look at another ancient culture. The characters are well written as well.
7. Artemis Fowl. If you are about my age and you haven’t read Artemis Fowl, where have you been? This series by Eoin Colfer are not only funny, but give an entirely new twist to that fantasy world that every pre-teen lives in. And Artemis makes one of the best heroes I have ever read.
8. Lirael. The ‘Abhorsen’ series by Garth Nix are my favourite three books of all time. I have never been so entranced by a storyline in my life. For me, the best is actually the second book of the series, Lirael, which is unusual since the second book is often the weakest. Maybe it’s the library setting that does it.
9. Troy. I have always loved stories of the Greeks and the Romans, and there is nothing more epic than the tale of Troy. This take on it, by Adele Geras, looks at the whole story from a new angle, without missing any of the great details out.
10. The Red Tent. This again isn’t a kid’s book, but I first read it when I was very young, only about 10. I was probably a bit immature for it, but my Mum let me read it anyway, and it fascinated me. Anita Diamant takes you through the story of Dinah, a very minor biblical character, and it can only be described as amazing.

Wow. That was epic. Enjoy.

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