Tuesday, 6 January 2015

The first five of my top ten books explained...

Last year I was nominated to list on Facebook my Top Ten books that had made an impact on me.  Only ten, it was quite difficult, but here is the first five of my top ten choices explained (in no particular order);

1. Cross Stitch - Diana Gabaldon
2. Charlotte's Web - E B White
3. The Silver Sword - Ian Serraillier
4. Mog - Judith Kerr
5. A Dog in a Million: My Life with Connie - Hazel Carter

Starting with Cross Stitch, I don't want to cover old ground, so you can see why this is not only in my top ten but is also my desert island book here.  In brief it's a time slip novel set in Scotland, I think I may have mentioned my obsession with Scotland so I am naturally drawn to books set in this spectacular country.
Photo from Good Reads website

Charlotte's Web is my first book I really remember from childhood, and I adored it, so much so that I wanted my baby sister to be called Charlotte, much to my disappointment my parents didn't agree!  I don't have children of my own but I do have a Spider plant called Charlotte, so I finally have a 'real' Charlotte in my life!  The unusual friendship between Wilbur the pig and Charlotte the spider is so compelling.  Wilbur is the runt of the litter and is raised by Fern the farmer's daughter, once he is fully grown he is moved to her Uncle's farm where he is due to be slaughtered.  From what I remember the book is quite honest without being graphic about Wilbur's impending doom.  Charlotte befriends him and hatches a plan to save him.  I won't spoil any more of the plot just in case you haven't read it, if not you need to, and it doesn't matter how old you are it's a very moving story, covering hardship, friendship, life and death. 

Photo from Good Reads website
The Silver Sword has a very special place in my heart, not only is it a most beautifully written book but I remember very clearly my mum reading it to me as a child.  I was completely absorbed in this historical novel, and for me it is one of the best novel's about war-torn Europe.  Three Polish children have been separated from their family and the book follows their journey as they meet an orphaned boy in Warsaw with a small sword which they recognise as belonging to their father, and so their journey continues across Poland, Germany and Switzerland to search for their parents.  For me The Silver Sword was a fabulous introduction to the history of WWII and the horrific struggles faced by children during this time. It was first published in 1956.

Photo from Good Reads website

I just love everything about Mog, and I think Judith Kerr is possibly one of the most talented children's writers.  To me Mog has always been real, and I have read every Mog book, except Goodbye Mog, for me Mog has to live forever.  Yep that's right at 30-something I'm in denial over a fictional cat!  Maybe I should read it and then read the first book again to bring Mog back, but I don't think it would be the same.  Of course one of the most appealing things about the Mog books is the beautiful illustrations.  Miss Kerr also wrote and illustrated the Tiger who came to Tea and When Hilter Stole Pink Rabbit.  Last year I watched a TV programme about her life.  She is the sweetest lady and is so unassuming despite the fact that thousands of children have fallen in love with her books over the years.  She was born in Germany but left with her parents in 1933 and, somewhat unsurprisingly, had a very interesting and sometimes difficult life. 

Mog always seems to be in trouble which is may be why children can relate to the character but she has a good heart and tries her best to deal with burglars, babies, losing her favourite toy and Christmas, which must be very puzzling to a cat!  If I had to pick a favourite Mog book it would be Mog the Forgetful Cat.  This photo shows the special 30th Anniversary Edition.  Why is this my favourite, to me it sums Mog up, forgetful but loveable, what more does a cat need to be?!?!

Photo from Good Reads website

If you are follower of my other blog newfnewsdog.blospot you will know that I love Newfoundland dogs, and my own little bear is called Fergus, so this was a natural choice for me.  I read this book a few years before Fergus came in to our lives,and it served to further fuel my passion for this affectionate and loveable breed.  Hazel, the author of the book, tells how she trained her Newfie, Connie to 'work'.  Hazel is debilitated with back pain and struggles to do simple tasks such as laundry, shopping, gardening, etc.  It is an amazing read, and really shows these dogs for the champions they are, their incredible sense of intuition, unwavering affection and they ability to learn.  A wonderful book for any dog owner/lover.

Photo courtesy of GoodReads

Watch this space for the next five...

P.S. Apologies for the stock photos but I no longer own all of the books to be able to photograph them.

1 comment:

dianne said...

This was an interesting read to find out why these books make your list I love the story of the silver sword first read when I was at school .Ithink I may try and get a copy of Charlottes Web and read to Thalia think she would enjoy it . your love of the mog books is so sweet and of course your love for Newfoundlands must stem from your love of bears and your little bear is so sweet x