In Celebration of World Book Day, some of us at Lingua Translations decided to write about our favourite books!
My favourite book is The shadow of the wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón. I love it because it is set in Barcelona (my hometown) and I could imagine what the city was like after the Spanish Civil War. It is a mix of suspense, history and love.
The main character is Daniel Sempere, a young boy. Daniel’s father takes him to the secret Cemetery of Forgotten Books. A huge library of old, forgotten titles carefully preserved by a select few initiates. According to tradition, everyone initiated to this secret place is allowed to take one book from it and must protect it for life. Daniel selects a book called The Shadow of the Wind by Julián Carax. That morning he takes the book home and reads it completely. He then attempts to look for other books by this unknown author but can’t find any. All he can find are stories about a strange man called Laín Coubert. Laín is named after one of the characters in Carax’s book. He has been seeking out Carax’s books for decades, buying and burning them all.
Suzanne Collins – The Hunger Games. This is one of my favourite books to read! I first read the book after finding out that it was turned into a film and have since read the trilogy a few times. The Hunger Games is similar to a film I had watched when I was younger called Battle Royale. Battle Royale is a Japanese story where schoolchildren were forced to fight and kill each other in an arena until one was victorious.
The Hunger Games
The Hunger Games is set in a post-apocalyptic Panem. A country consisting of the wealthy Capitol and 12 districts in varying states of poverty. Every year, children from the districts are selected to participate in a compulsory annual televised death match called The Hunger Games. The protagonist Katniss Everdeen from District 12 volunteers as Tribute for the 74th Hunger Games in place of her little sister Primrose. We follow Katniss and the other District 12 Tribute Peeta Mellark through the gruesome games.
During the Games, the tributes are alerted to a rule change that allows both tributes from the same district to be declared victors if they are the final two standing. Katniss and Peeta begin to work as a team until it is just them remaining, then the game-makers revoke the rule change. Katniss leads Peeta in a double suicide attempt to eat poisonous berries. Hoping that the latest change will be reinstated, and that they will both be victorious. Their ruse is successful, and both tributes return home victorious. In the sequel, we see that their ruse is the undoing of the Capitol and Panem!
One day by David Nicholls. This book is essentially a love story but, with an unexpected twist. It is essentially about two characters Emma (Em) and Dexter (Dex) who had a one night stand on their final night at University. Em who was not the promiscuous type had met Dex who.. essentially was.
The story spans over the next twenty years of their lives as they meet on one particular day every year, 15th July which is known as St Swithin’s Day. It shows their highs, lows together with their loves and heartbreaks. There was always that underlying connection between them that kept me hooked throughout and whatever was thrown their way. It gives me goose bumps thinking about it now!
The main relationship between Em and Dex is a fascinating one.
Emma clearly sees something great in Dexter that he has failed to notice. She is always sending him books to read, telling him he can do anything and should push himself harder. She frowns (a lot!) at his run of ditzy but gorgeous girlfriends and worries for him as he falls deeper and deeper into a very dark place. Simultaneously, Dexter is oddly drawn to Emma. He thinks of her often and she is the first person he wants to call when he needs to talk to somebody. While he is surrounded with people who adore him, he realises there is a loyalty in Emma he is unlikely to find elsewhere. He grows to really love her.
He also seems to fully acknowledge that he might just have it in him to be the man she wants him to be. Dexter longs to reach her high expectations of him. The main issue seems to be that their timing is always off. And as they find other relationships and move further and further away from each other. But the chemistry always remains intact. There is a passion in their relationship that cannot be equalled by other partners, who are more complacent and resigned to a quiet, content life which you just know is never going to be enough for either of them.
Time sensitive references
One of the things I really loved is the time-sensitive references to the 80s, 90s and noughties. The change from phones to mobiles, letters to emails, tapes to CDs and the start of the internet is brilliant. There are many references, too, to political situations and changing fashions (the hair is constantly changing on Emma’s head!)
I think the author pinpointed a part of human nature that we often think can be forced or controlled, love. When it grabs you, it really won’t let go except in this case! Cupid seemed to mess about with these two, it became frustrating in parts yet annoyingly compelling to read.
Mine might be a bit of an obvious (you might think unimaginative) choice for favourite book(s), but I would have to choose the Harry Potter series by J K Rowling.
The Harry Potter books came out at a perfect age for me. I was around 8 when I read the first book, which was the smallest and easiest to read. From then on, each book became more and more complex and ‘older’ in writing style. So even as I reached my teens, the latest books were still an appropriate age for me.
By the end of the series, it was not just a story but a whole world that J.K Rowling had created, with so much depth and various back stories which accompanied the main plot. The detail throughout the books meant it was so easy to put yourself in the story. It really felt as though I was friends with the characters too, as you get to know so much about them. There was so much going on in addition to the main story-line that the majority unfortunately had to be omitted from the films. Which is why the books will always surpass the films for me (although I’m a big fan of those too!).
The story is so much more than just a ‘good vs evil’ tale
The story is so much more than just a ‘good vs evil’ tale, with various different relationships between characters. From romantic, to family (or the feeling of “adopted” family for Harry). The building and breaking of friendships, loss of loved ones, inner moral battles (as Albus Dumbledore says – “…we must choose between what is easy and what is right”). So much more than can be listed here. There have even been a couple of text books released for charity! One of which (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them) has recently inspired another hugely popular film.
I couldn’t pick just one book from the series to me they are all chapters in one longer story. But for me it’s the series that I could happily read over and over again. And I’m sure there are plenty of others who feel the same way!
World Book Day is organised by UNESCO and helps promote reading, publishing and copyright. Hope you enjoyed reading about our favourite books!