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Castle Book Club: Our Favourite Books

Published 10 November 2014

"The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go." - Dr. Seuss, I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!

Here at Castle Asssociates we love to read and while the pressures of daily life means we can't read a new book every week our favourite books stay with us; constant companions influencing and comforting us on the journey that is life. That being said, we decided to share our favourite book and what it meant to us.

 

Diana: Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

 

Into The Wild

 

“Happiness only real when shared.”

Into the Wild tells the story makes one live the story of Christopher McCandless, a top student from Emory University USA. Alexander Supertramp, as Christopher renames himself, will abandon his possessions, giving his $24,000 savings to Oxfam and hitchhike to Alaska to live in the wilderness.

The experience of travelling through the unknown, brings remarkable characters that help, inspire and motivate Alexander to continue his adventure and stick to his principles. 

The most intense parts of the book are not the ones that describe Alexander's life in Alaska, which had to be recreated based on his diary, but the memories of people that have met Alexander on his adventure. There were people that Alexander had worked for, people that had offered Alexander a place to stay, or simply people who gave him a ride. 

I was particularly moved by the generosity of people to whom Alexander was still a stranger...and by the intense friendship that Alexander had with an old man who let himself convinced by Alexander to also give up on his possessions and enrol in a life changing adventure, because... "one shouldn't judge a life by its end or duration, but by its content".

A beautiful, inspirational book, full of real life stories that will give one goose bumps.

 

Nader: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

 

The Hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy

 

“The chances of finding out what's really going on in the universe are so remote the only thing to do is hang the sense of it and keep yourself occupied.” – Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to The Galaxy

When I was 17 I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease and was very ill to the point of being bedridden. I can describe the experience as having your life suddenly halted by a large inconsiderate ape with boundary issues, who has decided that your abdomen will make a suitable pillow. Despite one’s abdomen offering little comparative comfort, the stubborn ape repeatedly beats said bedding substitute in the futile pursuit of trying to getting a restful night sleep. When faced with such a dilemma one’s mind naturally spirals into an existential whirlpool as they try to make sense of what is and why.

At the time, I took to reading to try and distract myself. The book(s) that had the greatest influence on me and gave me the most comfort at the time was “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to The Galaxy” series. They tell the story of an average man who finds himself well and truly out of his depth as his world is (literally) destroyed. He is saved by his best friend who turns out to be an intergalactic hitchhiker. As we follow our protagonist and his delightfully incompetent companions trying to make sense of the inexplicable chaos that is the universe, we are taken on a hilarious journey exploring the wonderful irony that is life the universe and everything.

Douglas Adams’ masterstroke made me laugh and gave me comfort at a desperate time in my life. The book(s) helped me to realise that life/the universe, by its’ very nature, is unfathomable. It helped me to reconcile the idea that while we feel the need to ask why, one cannot hope to find all the answers and while life rarely goes to plan we can take solace in one simple piece of advice, “Don’t Panic!”

 

Marie: Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

 

The Lovely Bones

 

One of my all time favourite book is Lovely Bones written by Alice Sebold; which has been made into a film. I enjoyed the film but I think the book is a must read. The story is about a Young girl who is assaulted and murdered, she then was watching from heaven seeing how her family and friends was dealing with her death it goes through how she was trying to get messages to her dad, then at the end what happened to the person who murdered her. It’s a heart warming story that really touched me.

 

Sara: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

 

Pride and Prejudice

 

This is an absolute romantic classic one which I would highly recommend. I studied Pride and Prejudice as part of my English Literature A level so it evokes fond school memories but I’ve revisited the novel a couple times and found it to be a really enjoyable read. It follows the story of a family of teenage girls who are trying to find their path in life under the constraints of the culture of the time.

 I love the fact that although it takes place over a century ago, the trials and tribulations that the family go through could be happening today. Jane Austen was quite ahead of her time using strong female characters in a time where social/economic pressures limited the choices that women were able to take in Iife.

Although Pride and Prejudice isn’t necessarily the easiest of reads to begin with, once you’ve read the first chapter you find yourself enchanted by the story that unfolds. Well worth a read and so much better than a TV adaption.

 

Yvonne: Fear The Worst by Linwood Barclay

 

Fear the Worst

 

It’s a thrilling story of a father investigating the disappearance of his daughter; where later on realising that everything he had known to be true were in fact lies.

The story may start off slow, but it unreels into a mystifying puzzle with unease, tension and paranoia throughout to which you are unable to put this book down until the very last page.

 

Mark: Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China by Jung Chang

 

Wild Swans Jung Chang

 

The story of three generations in twentieth-century China that blends the intimacy of memoir and the panoramic sweep of eyewitness history. It is an engrossing record of Mao's impact on China, an unusual window on the female experience in the modern world, and an inspiring tale of courage and love, Jung Chang describes the extraordinary lives and experiences of her family members: her grandmother, a warlord's concubine; her mother's struggles as a young idealistic Communist; and her parents' experience as members of the Communist elite and their ordeal during the Cultural Revolution.

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