I've started this a couple of times and abandoned it as there are so many but here goes with a few and I can always add to them later.
Some other Rainbow - by John McCarthy and Jill Morrell. I followed the kidnap of John McCarthy and remember the joy and not a little surprise when he was finally realeased. This is the story of his lengthy kidnap ordeal and his girlfriends tireless efforts to help get him released. I found it very uplifting to read about how he coped with an ordeal which one can barely contemplate.
Riding the Mountains Down - Bettina Selby. The travel/biography of a middle aged schoolteacher who decided to jump on a pushbike and ride through the himalayas alone! Brilliantly inspiring and well written and had quite a big impact on me. She went on to make further journeys and wrote about them but this one was the defining one for me.
Fingersmith - Sarah Waters. Must be my favourite read in the past 10 years. So many twists and unexpected turns. So many books are predictable but I couldn't second guess this one. It begins with an almost Dickensian quality and is the story of two young women whose lives intertwine in many ways. I was totally gripped by it.
The Book Thief - Marcus Zusak. Fabulous story about a young girl in Germany just before and during the second world war. Narrated by "death" a sympathetic and tragic character it tells the story of the war from the aspect of people on the other side and not only tugs at your haert strings - it ties them in knots!
The Book of lost things - John Connelly. This is a fairy story for adults and an epic tale of love and loss and heartbreak. I found it transported me back to my childhood making me feel about 6 again - then broke my heart in a very adult way. Spellbinding.
The Crimson Petal and the White - Michel Faber. A HUGE book set in Victorian times. The story of Sugar and her life. Could not put this down it really painted a vivid picture of the seedier side of life in pasttimes and the characters were brilliantly well created.
There are just So many books I've loved I'm finding it pretty hard to choose favourites however there are a few more from years ago which have come to mind:
Fluke - James Herbert. I read this a few times - a superb story of a dog who has strange thoughts and human type memories of a time in the past.
Flambards - K.M. Peyton. There was also a great tv series from this series of books. Set around world war one they begin as Christina is orpahned and sent to live with her cruel uncle and follows her life through to early adulthood with a little romance. I read this as there is quite a bit about horses and I was pony mad as a child but its a superb beautifully written series for any age and I think I'll have to try and make time to read them again sometime soon.
When Marnie was there - by Joan G Robinson. I was 11 wehn I first read this book and I adored it. A rather spooky story about a lonely girl went to live in a rambling old house with her aunt and makes a friend, its pretty sad with a poignant twist at the end. The author also wrote the wonderful Teddy Robinson stories which I also loved as a small child.
A slightly similar book to the above which I read at around the same time is
Marianne dreams by Catherine Storr. In this book a girl who is ill and confined to bed begins to create a slightly sinister world in her sketchbook which starts to come to life in her dreams. Sinister and creepy it had a huge impact on me as a child.
As an only child living in a fairly isolated house myself books played a HUGE part in my formative years.
The Runaways, Flight of the grey goose and the red tent by Victor Canning are books I also remember with great fondness.
I forgot I havn't updated this in a while and felt I must add a few more including a few I've read more recently
Nights of rain and stars - Maeve Binchy
I've read most of her books and some of them I haven't liked that much and a few I've really enjoyed including Tara road and Evening class. However I've picked rain and stars because it helped me get over a really bad bout of readers block. I'd gone for about 2 or 3 months without finishing a book - just picking one up and reading a few pages and being unable to get into anything at all and it quite scared me to be honest This was before Risi days when I got most of my books from the library and would get them home and discover I'd picked ones I just didn't really fancy. Then I picked up a copy of this book, brought it home and read it in a couple of days - Bingo I was back into reading with a vengeance Hooray! OK its a light frothy holiday read but I think ist superbly written the characters are so real you feel you know every single one of them and there are enough twists and turns to keep you engrossed - Lovely writing Maeve.
The Time Travellers Wife - Audrey Niffeneger
This book had been on my tbr for ages and I was never really drawn to it - in fact I took it to the caravan and left it on the bookshelf there as an "emergency read" Sure enough I found myself staying there and finishing the book I was on with and just reached up to the bookshelf and grabbed the first thing my hand fell on and this was it.
Wow what an amazing read. I was so completely engrossed I sat up half the night reading which isn't something I do very often these days. I couldn't put down this most imaginataive and unconventional of love stories which even after I'd finished it I've kept on thinking about.
Neverwhere - Neil Gaiman
Highly imaginative fantasy about and alternative London, gripping, fun and totally amazing.
The 199 steps - Michel Faber
By the author of Crimson Petal this short novellla (so short its really just a short story) is in total contrast to that huge tome. A sweet little romance a faithful canine companion and a bit of spookiness set in Whitby. Just the nicest quick read possible.
More added 2012
The Tenderness of Wolves Stef Penney
The Outlander - Gil Adamson
The Unseen - Katherine Webb
The Snowchild - Eowyn Ivey
The Vanishing point - Mary Sharratt
Me before you - JojoMoyes
Mudbound - Hilary Jordan
The personal history of Rachel Dupree - Ann Weisgarber
Karen Maitland - The Owl Killers, Company of liars, and, The gallows curse - Brilliant writer
Hotel on the corner of bitter and sweet - Jamie Ford
The Sandalwood tree - Elle Newmark
The love of my life AND the Secrets Between us - Louise Douglas
Jamrachs Menagerie - Carol Birch
Into the darkest corner - Elizabeth Haynes
The wives of Henry Oades - Johanna Moran
Room - Emma Donoghue ( also Slammerkin by same author)
Water for Elephants - Sara Gruen
Sabriel/ Lirael/ Abhorsen - Garth Nix
His dark materials trilogy - Philip Pullmann
The Hunger games - trilogy - Suzanne Collins