After a few weeks of no-shows for Top 5 Wednesday, I am firmly back on the bandwagon. For those who are unaware, Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme/challenge organised by the wonderful Lainey, in which participants devise their Top 5 books based on a given topic – because who doesn’t love a good list?
This week’s topic is ‘Best Suggested Books You Loved’. So, this week, I will be choosing the top 5 books that other people have recommended to me, either personally/directly or indirectly through videos and blogs.
5. Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig
I’d heard a little buzz about this throughout booktube but I believe the one video that really recommended it to me was Lily from lilypad’s wonderful review about the book. And it truly is a wonderful book too! It doesn’t shy away from discussing serious and somber life-changing topics but it likewise also seeks to capture the beauty and fulfilment in even the smallest things about living life with a mental illness. Were it not for Lily’s indirect recommendation I might not have read this yet (if at all) so I’m certainly glad her video review showed up in my Subscriptions feed one day.
4. Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson
After seeing a Bookbreak episode dedicated to this book’s release, I knew I needed to check it out for myself. Besides that promotion of it, I’d also seen it mentioned by Max from welldonebooks – and, often, it’s that final push from a booktuber’s review that will get me to actually pick up a book. True to form, Jenny Lawson’s second book is a funny memoir about the darker side of living with mental illness. It doesn’t sound comedy gold but any book that features a taxidermied raccoon riding a very confused pet cat is certainly funny, if in a slightly off-beat but wonderful kind of way.
3. Viper Wine by Hermione Eyre
I don’t know who hauled this book on Booktube, I just know someone must have, otherwise I wouldn’t have casually picked this up in the library one day. Since then I haven’t seen many reviews (video or otherwise) which really makes me sad because I adore this book and I wish more people did too. My gushing review attests to that level of love so I suppose since I can’t recall who indirectly recommended it to me I must recommend it to you!
2. North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
This was a recommendation from my English teacher who taught me (in some capacity) from when I was 12 until I was 18. So, when she discovered I was partial to be a bit of Austen, didn’t mind getting stuck into a good ol’ Victorian novel, and loved Richard Armitage (he stars as the hero, Mr Thornton, in a BBC miniseries adaptation of the novel). I’d say those prerequisites mark out the tone of the novel, as well as the people who will probably enjoy it. It is a 19th-century novel so it can be quite a trudge at times, but the main characters of John Thornton and Margaret Hale clash perfectly, representing the values of the industrious, industrialising, emerging north and the established, middle-class sensibility of the south respectively. It’s not all about poverty and class politics though, there is a romance amidst all the mills and the smoke!
1. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
This was a personal recommendation from my English teacher and probably not a surprise on this list since I mention it on this blog all the time. She heard I liked a bit of Gothic-y influences and had recently read Jane Eyre, so she recommended me du Maurier’s books. Not only this, I own a beautiful Virago Modern Classics edition of Rebecca and, although my memory fails me on this, I’m 90% sure it was gifted to me from both my English teachers as one of their parting gifts to the class at the end of sixth form. For that reason the edition will always have sentimental value but when I then picked up Rebecca, I adored it! Definitely an apt recommendation from Miss Colabella since it turned out to be one of my favourite books of all-time.
And on that very high note, I shall end my Top 5 Wednesday post for this week. Do you have a Top 5 Wednesday list for this week? Share below, I’d love to check it out. If not, perhaps comment below with either: which book have you loved that was a recommendation from someone else or (more controversially) which book have you hated that was recommended by someone else?
5 responses to “T5W | Best Recommended Books”
I believe I saw North & South on Netflix. I rather enjoyed it. I didn’t realize it came from a book! Now I know what book to purchase next! Also Viper Wine looks very interesting.
The adaptation is actually quite faithful – and I’m always fond of a bit of Richard Armitage in period clothing. :P The book is very good too – very 19th century novel about social classes though, so just a warning in case that’s not your cup of tea.
Viper Wine is so weird and wonderful, it’s definitely a Marmite book in that you’ll either love or hate it. Personally, I really loved it, but I can see how it might not be to everyone’s tastes since it is quite a postmodern boundary-pushing sort of historical fiction.
I LOVE North & South (and the adaptation) and I’m always trying to recommend to people, usually with the opinion of ‘I think it’s better than Pride and Prejudice’ (a book which I also love unwaveringly). I like that it’s similar to P&P with the love side of things, but that we get to see what life was like for the lower classes.
I must admit I do love the North and South adaptation and it’s a very lovely adaptation – well shot, well written, well acted. :)
I think using Pride and Prejudice is a very good touchstone for people since you do have the two main characters experiencing a similar trajectory in terms of the moving from hate to understanding to love. I also love Pride and Prejudice, but I’d agree that North and South has a bit more… meat to it? The love story in N&S, for me, is in the background compared to the rest of the plot so I think it’s the more overtly socially conscious of the two – and Gaskell is very much an author of those 19th century social novels about the plights of the working classes. Have you read Mary Barton? I studied that and N&S at university and found a lot of people really engaged with the themes in both of the narratives.
I completely agree re: N&S having more “meat” – it definitely gives a greater depiction of 19th century life.
I much prefer N&S, but at the same time it’s a bit hard to compare the two, because Austen and Gaskell could only write what they knew about so I guess Austen is at a bit of a disadvantage. But she did well with what she had!
I haven’t read Mary Barton but I’d like to get to it one day. The only other Gaskell novel I’ve read is Cranford and I didn’t really like it that much. I read it not long after N&S and I probably went in with super high hopes for it. I think it’s one of those books I need to read more than once for me to connect with it.