If you’re an avid bookworm, you’ll understand the joy of losing yourself in a novel too, which is why we’ve compiled a reading list of our all-time favourite fiction. Our very own literary canon, if you will!
From modern giants to the must-read classics and a certain scar-bearing wizard, these are the books that have stayed with us way past the acknowledgements.
– Maddie –
Pride and Prejudice
Probably my all-time favourite book if I had to pick one. When Jane Austen created Elizabeth Bennet she may not have known at the time but she was creating the feminist protagonist we all still need in our lives to this day. She’s fearless, determined, witty and honest but most of all she didn’t let her position as a woman of “little means” and of the horrifyingly old age of 21 dictate her future happiness. I think even 200 years later we could all stand to be a little bit more like her.
I have read and reread these books time after time and I think that I could never grow tired of them, I simply couldn’t not include them in this list. They’re wonderful escapism at it’s best with incredible detail, interesting characters and plot twists. There’s love, friendship and of course all the magic, what’s not to love! I think secretly we all wish we could be witches or wizards and go to Hogwarts, don’t we?
The Song of Achilles
This was a stand out favourite book of the more recent years for me. I am obsessed with Greek mythology so I always knew the subject matter would make it a page-turner but it was so much more than I expected. The love story that grows between the two main male characters who are so complexly different is so beautifully written I was weeping by the end. It’s an incredible retelling of a story I thought I already knew and just thinking about it makes me want to pick it up again.
– Danielle –
This book was just simply magnificent when I first read it. It revisits the same two characters who met at their Uni graduation on the same day every year. I love everything about it, the premise, the way it was written, the characters and all the hilarious and heartbreaking bits. I physically cannot put the movie on as it hurts my soul, I won’t give away why in case it’s a big fat spoiler but if you haven’t read this book PLEASE give it a go!
The Night Circus
Such a beautiful read from start to finish I ate this up time and time again and I’d still grab it out and dust it off for a holiday now. It keeps you guessing in a universe that isn’t much like our own and I guarantee you it’ the perfect escape!
Chelsea Handler’s Collection
I’m not 100% certain how I started reading Chelsea Handler’s books, I think I may have picked one up in an airport when I was about 19 coming home alone from Miami. Generally, her books are made up of stories from her life and they are absolutely hilarious, laugh out loud funny. She is so unapologetically herself at all times, and if reading them doesn’t make you give fewer F***s I don’t know what will.
Rupi Kaur – Milk and Honey
As this is a poetry book you can pick it up whenever you fancy and remind yourself of some of the most gorgeous yet genius poems you’ll ever set your eyes on. I adore Rupi’s words, they make me think and cry and generally stick with me for such a long time. Follow her on Instagram if you want a little taste!
– Zoë –
Anne Franks Diary
I first read this when I was in primary school and it had such a huge effect on me that I have read it more times than I can count. I love that it’s such a momentous piece of history and it’s something I will also encourage my children to read too!
The “I Heart…” Series by Lindsay Kelk
This was one of my first introductions to women’s ‘chick-lit’ and I was obsessed. I adore Lindsay’s writing style and instantly fell in love with Angela and all her escapades. I could read these over and over!
Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn
This book completely engulfed me and it was fabulous. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book as fast as this one. It’s really fast-paced and a great thriller. After finishing this I needed to talk about it with someone immediately. Always a sign of a book you’ll never forget!
All The Bright Places
Jennifer Niven – I read this a few years ago and couldn’t stop recommending it to people (it was also a book in my Zoella book club with WHSmith). It’s one of those stories that hooks you in and makes you feel all the feels. Adore Jennifers writing, characters and the storyline is perfect.
– Lareese –
Grief Is A Thing With Feathers
Part sound-poem, part lyrical memoir and metaphor – this book will stay with me forever. It’s not something I’d usually read but I’m very interested in the grief narrative as it’s such a human experience. This story centres around a dad, a crow and his two young sons as they try to navigate life without their mum. It’s beautifully written, sad, confusing, hopeful and unconventional in the best way. It’s hard to unpack and impossible to articulate – much like grief itself – because it deserves a genre all on its own.
Jane Eyre was a secondary school classic! I remember reading the opening chapters aloud in class and just falling in love with the way it was written. The pathetic fallacy, the unusually spunky and headstrong heroine, the flawed romance – it’s a remarkable novel.
– Charlotte –
The Book Thief
My all-time number one! I’ve always been a history junkie so any books set in the First or Second World War immediately have my attention. Set in 1939 Nazi Germany, the story follows 9-year-old protagonist Liesel and her love affair with books, as she starts a journey in stealing them from libraries and even Nazi book burnings. Things become dangerous after Liesel’s foster father hides a Jewish man in their basement, and the story of love, loss, innocence, and hate leaves you gripped throughout.
Confessions of a Shopaholic series
Something a little lighter! I first read these books when I was far too young to be hearing about the ins and outs of the saucy encounters of Rebecca Bloomwood, but nonetheless they’ve remained high on my list of romcom faves. The series follows Becky’s ups and downs as she battles to manage her career, love life, and the mishaps that come with her quirky personality, all whilst her uncontrollable shopping habits lead her astray time and time again …
The Rosie Project series
I’m not usually one for a male protagonist but this series bucks the trend! Written from the perspective of Don Tillman- an Australian genetics professor- the story follows his unusual personality (think Eleanor Oliphant vibes) as he sets out on ‘project wife’ and his mission to find ‘the one’ based on a perfectly constructed questionnaire. But when Don meets Rosie, his perfectly orchestrated plan goes out the window, and you’re left to wonder if spontaneity, ditching routine and straying from what you know is all part of the process in finding your perfect someone.
– Darcey –
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck – Mark Manson
This is a bit of an unconventional one, but this book really helped me change my mindset while I was at university. It teaches you to remember that bad stuff will happen, that it’s just how life works, but to remember that achieving anything in life comes with a struggle. It taught me to remember that not everything can always come easy.
Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
I studied this book at college, and I loved it so much. This was a book written before its time, Bronte challenged victorian ideals, like religion and social class, which I found so fascinating. This book made me think a lot about feminism within literature too and I ended up writing my A-Level coursework on Emily and Charlotte Brontes feminist literature!
The Fault in Our Stars
I mean I think this book is probably in a lot of people’s top books, I have never cried so much reading this book. In fact, I think this is the only book I’ve ever cried at while reading. I loved the film to of course, but for me the book won, I prefer how the story is played out.
– Lauren –
Eat Pray Love
I read the book after watching the film, and of course, I loved it more, and it’s kept a special place in my heart ever since. The fact Liz Gilbert took this huge step to change her life and put her happiness first, learning skills, being open to the universe and life, and being able to experience so much of the world is truly inspiring. This book is what sparked my obsession with Italy and learning Italian, and it’s one I re-read yearly.