My Top Ten All-Time Favourite Books

The Other Boleyn Girl – Philippa Gregory

I probably could have had any of Philippa Gregory’s books on my top ten list really! I am a massive fan of her books and she’s the only author who’ll I’ll buy in hardback as I want her books the second they come out. She is the Queen of Historical Fiction in my eyes. No one comes close. When I read her books, I can just picture myself in the Tudor courts or wherever they are set. They just draw you in to the scandal and intrigue of the age and I trust her historical research implicitly. Gotta love those flippin’, fiesty, head-chopping Tudors!

One Day – David Nicholls

My current favourite book. I just thought this was beautifully written and portrayed its time period so well. My ex-husband was also very much a ‘Dexter’ and I think that’s why I empathised with it so much! I did get slightly cross that it was so lauded in the press. I’m sure if a woman had written the book it wouldn’t have got nearly so much attention from the media. But then it would have more thank likely have been put in a pink cover and called ‘Emma’s Bad Boy’ or similar. For me it’s great chicklit but written by a bloke. Jim Sturgess wasn’t too shabby as Dexter in the film either.

The Time Travellers’ Wife – Audrey Niffenegger

This is probably the book I wish I’d written. It’s a love story about a man who travels backwards and forwards in time to be with the person he loves. It’s complicated and heart-breaking and I can’t imagine how on earth Ms Niffenegger kept track of what she was writing. I loved it. Lovely Kev, however, wanted to throw it across the room. Wouldn’t do if we all liked the same books, I suppose.

Notes From a Small Island – Bill Bryson

I was on a flight years ago and throughout the plane there were people giggling. I made it my business to have a look at what they were reading as I went backwards and forwards to the loo! Without exception they were reading Bill Bryson books and, as soon as we landed, I dashed to the nearest bookshop and bought a copy of Notes From a Small Island. I’ve read all of his travel books since and they’re great. I’d love to be able to produce a travel book like that. I do admit though that I’m having to read his last book,  At Home, in bite-sized chunks. It’s just a bit too dense and factual for me to cope with in one sitting. I like him when he’s being lighter and more humorous. I think he’s the author I’d most like to invite to dinner.

Bridget Jones’ Diary – Helen Fielding

I feel that I owe Bridget a lot. My very first book – Let’s Meet on Platform 8 – hit the shelves just as Bridget was becoming popular and started the whole chicklit wave. When Bridget hit America, she took me with her and I had a television book club pick and a USA Today bestseller over there. I think Bridget Jones’ Diary is a great book. Just perfect for the time. She’s endearing and funny. A great character and the films did the books proud.

Twilight – Stephenie Meyer

I love vampires! A few years ago I wanted to write a vampire novel and my agent told me that there was no market for them. Then along came Stephenie Meyer! This, in my opinion, is by far the best book in the series and I love how  the various relationships are portrayed. Though I do find myself frequently wanting to slap Bella. A love story with bite. And… er… Team Edward, by the way.

The Thorn Birds – Colleen McCullough

An oldie but a goodie. It’s the heartbreaking story of Meggie Cleary  and the magnificent priest, Father Ralph de Bricassart, whose passionate and forbidden love affair lasts a lifetime. A real tear-jerker. It was published in the late 1970s and was the book of the time. It’s still a great read.

The Silence of the Lambs – Thomas Harris

I love a book that keeps me up all night. And this is one of them. I started Silence of the Lambs one night when I went to bed and finished it, red-eyed, somewhere around dawn. It’s fabulous and terrifying. And I wish someone would write something just like it.

Fabulous Things – Kelly Braffet

This book was published a few years ago now – 2005 in the UK. It’s a great story, gripping and unsettling. It’s about the claustrophobic relationship between sister and brother, Josie and Jack Raeburn and reminded me very much of a contemporary version of Flowers in the Attic by Virginia Andrews. Another book that was fantastic in its day. Braffet had one other book published – Last Seen Leaving – which I confess that I didn’t enjoy quite so much. But I can’t find anything else written by her. Shame.

Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married – Marian Keyes

From the Queen of Chicklit. I think this, Marian’s first novel, is still her best. It’s an engaging and funny tale. I do love it when my own books are compared to Marian’s. To me, that’s the ultimate compliment. She hasn’t been writing for a few years due to crippling depression but she’s just bounced back with a recipe book Saved By Cake – which is a colourful and funny book featuring Marian’s very own take on the joys of baking.


7 Responses to “My Top Ten All-Time Favourite Books”

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  1. Rachel J Lewis says:

    It’s so fascinating to hear what other people read. Some of my favourites are in your list and it’s always nice to get ideas of new books to try. I have the Time Travellers’ Wife and The Other Boleyn Girl on my shelves to read – just never got around to them!

  2. Mags Bennett says:

    I was reading down the list, thus, “MMm, yep, oh yes, that’s also one of mine” and was just about ready to say “WHAT ABOUT MARIAN KEYES?????” but you saved the best till last 😀

    Great taste you have, a lot of my favourites here too! Thanks for sharing Carole xx

  3. Trish says:

    Fabulous choices., Carole! I have read (and loved) most of these and totally agree with you! I haven’t read any Philippa Gregory as I’m not a huge fan of historical novels, but I may give them a look when I’m done my current reading list. I adore Marian Keyes, she makes me smile, One Day was beautifully written and sweet and Time Travellers Wife, well, it was breathtaking! Bridget Jones was the first British book I read when I moved over here and It got me hooked! That’s how I discovered you! Thanks for this wonderful list and a few new authors and books to add to my reading pile! xx

  4. Cynthia Harris says:

    I read the Bill Bryson one and didn’t like it. I thought he took a few too many ‘pops’ at us.
    Marian Keyes would definitely be on my list of favourites.
    Strange how I love every word you write and yet don’t share your taste in authors.

  5. Reabookreview says:

    wow some great ones there Carole xXx

  6. says:

    Haven’t read any of them except for Marian Keyes books which I love. Have you ever read any books by Catherine Alliott. I also lover her books as they’re very very funny and lighthearted. I’ve read The Help by Kathryn Stockett which was excellent much better than the movie.

  7. paulyn tyler says:

    I am also a Philippa Gregory fan my favourite is The Constant Princess, the story of Katherine of Aragons marriage to Prince Arthur her first husband. For historical novels I like Ariana Franklins books about a female doctor in the reign of Henry the second when women were forbidden to practise medicine. Also Candace Robbs books on a medieval detective in York in the fourteenth century. For modern books I like Alexander McCall-Smiths Scotland Road and Isabel Dalhousie novels . Alan Titchmarch ‘s novels and of course Carole Matthes wonderful feel good cheer me up books. Your latest book Summer Datdreams I finished at two o’clock this morning I just couldn’t put it down. Thank you Carole for your great books keep them coming Love Paulyn Tyler, East Yorkshire!

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