I’ve been on a hot streak with books lately, reading a lot of really great ones, from magical to unsettling to the downright funny. I’ve picked out three from a rather long list of really great books that I’ve read recently, and while all the books are definitely worth a look, these three especially hit close to home for me, for a variety of different reasons.
The first of these books is Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie.
Peter Pan has long been a story close to my heart, from Disney’s original animated version (excepting now all the incredibly racist and sexist parts missed from the innocent eyes of my childhood) to the beautiful movie of Finding Neverland (which everyone should see). I was always enchanted by the idea of Neverland, just as I had been with the idea of the land of Oz, those two fantastical lands being places I always wished to visit. So I’ve long been meaning to read Peter Pan but for whatever reason hadn’t until a few months ago.
I was browsing through the bookstore Chapters, as I so often do, and came across these amazing versions of some fairy tales, including Peter Pan, and to my utmost excitement, Beauty and the Beast. These versions are by Harper Design, an imprint of HarperCollins, with illustrations by MinaLima. (Currently they have three out – Peter Pan, Beauty and the Beast, and The Jungle Book – and I sincerely hope they make more. *Edit: I have just now discovered that The Little Mermaid and Other Fairy Tales by Hans Christian Anderson will be coming out in this version, which I am so excited for, even though I already have a collection of Hans Christian Anderson fairy tales, The Little Mermaid included. But I digress.) This version is really incredible. It’s got illustrations and interactive features and it is simply gorgeous.
Regardless of the imprint, everyone should read the story of Peter Pan. It’s a wonderful story, full of adventure and imagination, and it will put a smile on your face. It doesn’t at all read like a children’s book, plus it’s a classic, so there’s nothing stopping you!
My second recommendation is The Photographer’s Wife by Suzanne Joinson.
This book, oh my gosh, this book. Guys, you guys, seriously, this book, oh my gosh, this book is amazing. It takes place alternatively in Israel in the 1920s and England in the 1930s-40s, and it revolves around a girl named Prue who grows up in Israel and later moves back to England. There’s conflict, drama, war, and some deeply, deeply disturbing and scary stuff going on, and it’s so beautifully and poetically written that it made me want to weep. This is written the way I wish I could write. I bought this from Chapters on sale for $5, which is actually book sacrilege because it is so freaking good. This book has probably skyrocketed up to being among my top 10 favourite books of all time, which is a crazy feat to achieve. This book is amazing, and it is beautiful, and you all need to read it.
My third and final recommendation is The Diary of a Provincial Lady by E.M. Delafield.
This book is absolutely hilarious. The Penguin version I have is actually the combined series of these books, which were originally published separately. Written in diary format from the perspective of, you guessed it, a provincial lady, this book is witty and laugh-out-loud funny. The provincial lady is determined to become an author, but she’s also determined to shop, ignore her bills, bring up her children, and fathom her rather unfathomable husband Robert. She’s clever and literary, but nobody ever seems to understand her quips and so she’s left with many a query of What Is the Point. It’s a story filled with ridiculous characters and circumstances, and the provincial lady has a knack for making rather uneventful things eventful, such as when she went to the hair salon and wound up leaving it with purple hair, to her absolute horror and knowledge that Well isn’t This Typical.
This book is so funny, and so many more people need to know about it and read it.
So take your pick – fantasy, drama, or comedy (or why not all?) – and take a chance on these books. I promise you won’t regret it.