Thursday 7 March was World Book Day and like true librarians, we celebrated it by asking you to submit, via a lovely little bubble card, your favourite book. Over the space of a day, we received nearly 80 completed bubbles and picked up some further suggestions on Twitter and Instagram.
What makes a book a favourite? It may be that it was an important book from your childhood or it brings back happy memories of starting to read independently? We had a glorious array of children’s and young adult texts from classic titles – Swallows and Amazons, Winnie the Pooh, Alice in Wonderland, Black Beauty etc. to more contemporary titles – Kensuke’s Kingdom, Skellig, Everything, Everything, Witch Week and The Explorer. For those of us who want to explore some of these titles further, it’s worth remembering that Harcourt Hill has a brilliant collection of children and young adult fiction to borrow.
We had a smattering of 19th century novels, Pride and Prejudice, Around the World in Eighty Days, Dracula and Great Expectations, but fewer that one might expect. No Middlemarch, or Jane Eyre or Sherlock Holmes; no Mrs Gaskell or Wilkie Collins or Thomas Hardy. However, we had a host of early and mid 20th century classics suggested; Parade’s End, Great Gatsby, Our Man in Havana, Catcher in the Rye, Tender is the Night, The Outsider and Grapes of Wrath to name but a few. In fact, Salinger’s, Greene’s and Fitzgerald’s titles were submitted twice by different people. Other later 20th century titles were also strongly represented with Slaughterhouse 5, One Hundred Years of Solitude, Good Omens and Nineteen Eighty Four submitted, most of which can be found in the library at Oxford Brookes.
Is your favourite book one that you read recently that touched you? We had a strong list of contemporary titles, with Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See and Morris’s Tattooist of Auschwitz submitted twice. Others included Kite Runner, Girl with the Pearl Earring, Purple Hibiscus, The Road, Shantaram, Poisonwood Bible and His Dark Materials Trilogy.
As with any list of books, there were titles that were not widely known that bring the promise of new authors to explore, eg Alfonso Wong and Torcuato Luca de Tena. But perhaps not surprisingly the most represented title was the Lord of Rings Trilogy which was suggested three times, more than any other. JRR Tolkien’s epic narrative remains a firm favourite.
Thanks to everyone who submitted a title – it’s always fascinating to see what people read. A full list of what was chosen is available here. We’ll be building on this theme for the rest of the semester, encouraging people to let us know of the ‘unknown books that we should know about’…
– Kate Alderson-Smith, Customer Services Team Leader