World Book Day – 01.03.18

To celebrate #WorldBookDay, the CC team took a moment to share our appreciation for literature and the wonderful worlds opened up to us through storytelling. Here is a list of our favourite books and why we fell in love with them…

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Nina Plowman

“It’s impossible to choose one single favourite book in the whole world. However, a life-changing one for me is Moon Tiger; a 1980s novel by Penelope Lively which I read in my teens. The main character, Claudia Hampton is a war correspondent in the Middle East and she looks back on her life from her sick bed. It was the first time that I saw the power of language to influence through narrative, as she oscillates between time zones and perspectives. This book gave me a fascination for literature, journalism and the importance of free-thinking.”

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Charlotte Heath-Bullock

“I agree, it’s impossible to choose a favourite book, but one I really loved is called The Africa House. It’s the story of the life of Stewart Gore-Browne, a solder, pioneer white settler, politician and supporter of African independence. He built an English country estate modelled on the great English stately homes in the middle of the bush in what was Northern Rhodesia and charts his madly eccentric life there.  He wanted to share it with the love of his life, Ethel Locke King, who was one of the first women to drive and fly.  But she was his married aunt and 20 years his senior, so not what you could call a suitable match!  It charts the arrogance and vision of British colonials along with the sad denouement of a dream left in ruins.”

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Kelly Kerruish

“My Dad was an English teacher, so I learned to read from a very young age. The unexpected result of this was that by the time I was seven, I was bored of reading the standard issue reading books, a bit bored of reading in general and was starting to get very distracted and misbehave. Recognising that there’s only so many times you can read about a cat that sat on a mat, my teacher came in one morning with the most gorgeous hard back copy of the Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame, which I still have to this day. Every day she would sit with me and read of the adventures of Mole and Ratty and Mr Toad and through this magical world I fell head first in love with reading and the way that it can transport you to another time, place, culture and consciousness. I have had many ‘favourite’ books since – The Great Gatsby, Half of a Yellow Sun, The Night Circus, Great Expectations – but I will never forget this first experience of real storytelling and I will be forever grateful to the teacher that went the extra mile to keep me engaged. Whenever World Book Day rolls around, I’m not only grateful for books, but for those who taught me to read and allowed me to see their wonder.”

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Hannah Mensah-Kane

“Like most Ghanaian homes, we had a whole room dedicated to reading, called the “play room”. It featured huge bookshelves filled with books read by my grandparents, my parents and the children of the family. My favourite book grew to be “Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe, based in the fictional village of Umofia, Nigeria. It was one of the first pieces of literature I truly fell in love with after moving from England to Ghana at the age of 7. It tells the story of a candid, yet well-respected, village leader called Okonkwo, who lived in constant fear of becoming like his father – a man known for his laziness and cowardice. Okonkwo ruled his own household with an iron fist but had a soft spot for his daughter, Ezinma, who he openly admired for her strength, confidence and transgressions of gender boundaries. I remember loving how beautifully she was portrayed as his main source of inspiration – a powerful father-daughter relationship I recognised at a very young age”

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Georgina Farley

“My favourite book of all time is Alice in Wonderland. I think I was initially drawn to it as my middle name is Alice. As soon as I started reading it I was captivated by Alice’s amazing adventures in the world of Wonderland after she falls down a rabbit hole and lands in a fantasy world full of weird and wonderful characters and situations: a caterpillar that shows her how to adjust her height, an eccentric mad hatter who invites her to tea, and a game of croquet played with flamingos (mallets), curled up hedgehogs (balls) and an army of bent over cards (arches). I also love the story behind the story. The character of Alice is based on the 10-year-old daughter of the author, Lewis Carroll. Carroll would tell Alice stories to keep her entertained which she begged him to write down for her. This collection of tales was later published as Alice in Wonderland, and so reminds me of when my Dad used to read to me before bed time every evening”

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Alix Turpin

“My favourite book is God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy. I only ever read when I am on holiday, and a few years ago when I was in India, a friend recommended this book to me. I recently decided to read it again and it took me back to fond memories of being in Kerla, and their fantastic culture. Also, how different their lives are compared to us in the Western World. The book is about twins who are separated at the age of 7 due to a family tragedy, love affair and a social taboo. They are reunited as young adults, which is the body of the story, and the plot constantly jumps back and forth, which makes a really engaging read. I love the way the book discovered the smallest things that affect peoples lives and our behaviour, while encountering forbidden love, social discrimination and betrayal all in a love story”