It’s World Book Day and what’s a better way to celebrate than with a list of our team’s favourite books? From Bradbury to Knight, here are our social media experts’ top picks:
Kate chooses two books for two different reasons:
My first favourite book is The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch. It is a collection of true personal anecdotes that Randy wrote as a time capsule of the most important lessons he wanted to hand down to his kids, when he learned he was diagnosed with a terminal illness. Reading this book during a difficult time in my own life tangibly changed who I was in meaningful and measurable ways. It made me a better person.
The second is Wild Horses by Dick Francis, which I have read more times than any other. It is the story of a filmmaker who, while making a movie about a macabre death that happened nearly thirty years prior, attempts to deal with mysterious and frenzied efforts to stop filming. What I love about this book is that, having read it numerous times over many years, the significance of the scenes and my understanding of them has changed as I’ve grown up and learned more about the world, relationships and life.
Joaquin embraces the future with Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451:
I’m going to have to pick Fahrenheit 451 as my favourite because of the foresight that Ray Bradbury had as a Sci-Fi writer in terms of the technology he described and how the book acts as a warning towards the changing times and the digital era we are currently living in.
Olivia dreams of the Roaring Twenties with Fitzgerald:
In typical English Literature graduate style, I’m going to have to go with The Great Gatsby (and not because it’s the only book I actually read during my degree…although it is one of them). I’m a big fan of metaphorical language and symbolism and Fitzgerald’s novel is full of it – from the green light that Gatsby strives for, to the creepy eyes that watch over the story’s event. F. Scott Fitzgerald is a master of words and takes readers on a journey that makes love and hope whimsical notions. Also, the 1920s were a golden era I would’ve loved to experience, so reading about Daisy’s beautiful outfits and Gatsby’s cars and parties are the closest I’ll ever get to being in 1922 sipping prohibited alcohol and wearing a flapper dress.
It’s taught me a lot about dreams – you’ll never reach them by staring at the end of your garden and hoping that something happens. Go out there and get what you want – it’s never too late to start a childhood dream or backtrack to a path you think you’ve already missed.
Also, a quick shout out to The Gringo Trail by Mark Mann too. As an individual that suffers from wanderlust, Mann indulged my love of travelling in a dark and comic way. It only just missed out on top spot as it didn’t have Leonardo DiCaprio as the starring role in a film adaptation.
Phil shoehorns his selection with Phil Knight’s inspiring memoir:
My favourite book would have to be Shoe Dog by Phil Knight. It is the business memoir of Phil Knight, the founder of Nike. He tells the story of how the brand came to be, from its unlikely beginnings to its consistent challenges and setbacks. As a business owner, I found both comfort and inspiration in the trials and tribulations a brand the size of Nike has had to endure to be where it is today.
We take larger-than-life brands like Nike, Starbucks or Apple for granted. It’s easy to forget that at some point Phil Knight borrowed money from his Dad and flew to China to negotiate a deal to import an athletic shoe without even having a business or brand yet; or that Howard Schultz had to first have the idea for Starbucks all those years ago whilst spending time in Milan, before there would be a Starbucks every 10 yards in the world; or finally that Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak had to dream up the technology, which we all now don’t leave the house without before Apple existed. I really enjoy reading these stories, because they remind me of the importance of dreaming big, pursuing your goals and never giving up.
Jamie backs Bradbury’s fantastical and nightmarish novel:
My favourite book is Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes. Set during the great depression and just before Halloween, it’s the story of two best friends, Jim Nightshade and William Halloway who encounter an evil travelling carnival, Cooger & Dark’s Pandemonium Shadow Show, which has the power to give you your heart’s desire…at a terrible price.
I love it because it’s so many things – a thumping good adventure, a horror story and a tale about youth and growing old, but mostly I love it because it’s just pure poetry.
Shelly’s Rowling in Literature:
I am constantly reading, so my favourite book changes almost every year, but my current favourite is The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (a.k.a. J. K. Rowling). I think the reason it’s my favourite is because it’s so different from her coveted Harry Potter series (which coincidentally also consists of some of my favourite books), however it’s not your typical ‘whodunnit’ novel. The Cuckoo’s Calling and the rest of the books in the series follow a detective – Cormoran Strike – as he works his way through complex murder cases of high profile individuals in the bustling cosmopolitan setting of London.
When I read these books, I feel like I’m on a journey. It’s as if I’m a fly-on-the-wall camera crew making a documentary on Strike’s process. Mostly, the story is through either Strike or his assistant Robyn’s eyes which gives the reader a rather bittersweet torture. Partway through the book, you realise Strike knows who the culprit is, but you must piece the evidence together yourself to arrive at the right conclusion at the same time Strike does. I can’t wait for the next book Lethal White to come out – this series truly is a page-turner, and I would highly recommend!