March 4, 2020

Fanclub favs: Books

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Fanclub

To celebrate World Book Day we've decided to share our favourite reads with you. Enjoy.

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As parents will know, it's World Book Day, today. To celebrate, rather than coming into work dressed as our favourite character, we've decided to share some of our favourite reads with you. Enjoy.

Amy Hall: 'When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit', by Judith Kerr

I have always been a voracious reader and as a child I got absolutely lost in books, so it’s impossible to pick one all-time favourite. But one book that has always stayed with me and that I read over and over again as a child was When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit by Judith Kerr.

I think most people have encountered and been touched by one or more of Judith Kerr’s beautiful stories at some point in their lives and I am so enjoying reading all of the Mog series to my two young girls. But Pink Rabbit was just so enchanting to me. It’s frightening (especially knowing as I did that it’s based on Kerr’s own life), thrilling and emotional and takes place before the start of the second world war so the tension is palpable. Quite a big theme for a 6-year-old (which is when I first read it) but so sensitively handled. The rest of the trilogy is no less brilliant.

Fabian Castellani: 'Utopia for Realists', by Rutger Bregman

I can safely say that this work from Rutger Bregman gave me a little glimmer of hope for our world. It’s a huge claim, but once you’ve read this, you’ll understand exactly what I mean.

The way our society is structured isn’t conducive to living our best lives, but many of us don’t understand what we can change or are told that the solutions we have aren’t suitable by everyone from business owners to politicians. Rutger argues very convincingly for Universal basic income, a 15-hour working week and open borders, as well as presenting solutions for homelessness. And these aren’t just simple ‘oh let’s try this’ ideas; they’re fully researched concepts that have actual studies to back them up (including a study by charity Broadway to tackle homelessness in the City of London by simply giving homeless people grants).

It will honestly open your eyes as to how we can create a ‘utopia’ aka the lives we truly deserve, whilst still in-keeping with the notion of capitalism we’ve come to accept as ‘normal’.

Hannah Kalyan: "21 Lessons for the 21st Century", by Yuval Noah Harari

If you’re looking for an easy-read or a feel-good story, this is not the book for you. But, what Yuval does provide is refreshing clarity on the todays most debated and complex issues, something that can feel incredibly rare in a world dominated by fake news and click-bait headlines.

While you might need Alexa to help you define a couple words (or every other word in my case!), it is a must read for the new generations who have the tricky job of navigating the moral and political implications of biotechnology to human irrelevant in the face of Big Data algorithms.

Emilee Senchyna: "The Outsiders", by S.E Hinton

I have to admit, I am not a big reader… Nothing against books, I just have a short attention span - so any book I am going to read needs to entice me within the first chapter.

Thinking back to the books I have read, 'The Outsiders' by S.E Hinton has always had a special place in my heart. The story follows a young Ponyboy Curtis as he details the conflict between two rival gangs divided by their socioeconomic status: the working-class ‘Greasers’ and the upper-class ‘Socs’. I started out by watching the film and maybe it was the hunky 80’s star-studded cast that got my attention – but after watching, I was hooked. After finishing the novel in record time, I was then one of those people who now claimed, ‘the book is better than the movie’.

Lucky for me the year after I read the book – it was chosen as the novel study for English class, so you could say I was an expert in all things Greasers and Socs. Till this day, I can recite monologs from Ponyboy and still shed a tear up when Jonny passes away (sorry for the spoiler). For a long time, I even wanted to get ‘stay gold’ tattooed on me, and who knows maybe I still will.

Adrian Ma: "One Hundred Years of Solitude" by Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s

I’ve always enjoyed ‘magical realism’ since reading Louis de Berniere’s (of ‘Captain Corelli’s Mandolin’ fame) Latin American Trilogy as a teenager. In a world where science rules, it’s comforting to escape to a place where mysticism and greater forces play with the fate of the story’s characters. It’s a place where in a post-rational (or ‘Post-Truth) world, we may once again find ourselves.

To me, there are three books that really stand out in this genre, Isabelle Allende’s ‘House of Spirits’, a beautiful tale that follows four generations in Chile in which characters have paranormal powers, Salman Rushie’s ‘Midnight’s Children’, a tale about a generation of Indian children - born on the hour of India’s independence - who develop supernatural talents, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s One ‘Hundred Years of Solitude’. Of these, Marquez’s story about the fictional town of Macondo, which transforms from a place of magic, to one that, after generations of contact with the modern world, falls into a ruin is my selection for this year. This story paints a powerful cautionary tale for the world in which we live today, where we’re discovering the true cost of economic progress to our natural environment.

Emily Barnes: "On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous", by Ocean Vuong

Given my indecisiveness, I don’t think I could pick a favourite book of all time. But a book that I read recently which I really loved was “On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous" by Ocean Vuong. The author is actually also a poet, and the structure of the novel reads like a poetry collection. It’s about a gay immigrant boy in the US, written as a letter to his illiterate mother; compelling and honest on the complicated relationship between a mother and son. I really loved it and it was like nothing I had read before.