Friday, October 16, 2020


Our Round Robin Blog for October 17, 2020 asks: What is/are your favorite book(s) of all time in your favorite genre(s) including children’s books, non-fiction books or magazines?


Hmm. Let me see. Have you got time? This is so difficult to answer. There are so many good books out there. Going into a bookstore is an adventure. I never know what I will come across. Never mind the title and story, what will the pages be like to smell or touch?

As Helene Hanff says in 84 Charing Cross Road of one of the books she received, ‘I’m almost afraid to handle such soft vellum and heavy cream-coloured pages. Being used to the dead-white paper and stiff cardboardy covers of American books, I never knew a book could be such a joy to the touch.’

Like Helene, I still have books that are a joy to touch. An old, first edition copy Kipling’s Thy Servant a Dog, an illustrated copy of The Wind in the Willows and Nicolas Bentley’s Tales from Shakespeare, are just a few that I pull out from time to time not only to read but to smell and touch.

Quite apart from their tactile properties, what about the content? Horses have always been a passion of mine, so from my childhood reading my favourite book is Anna Sewell’s classic Black Beauty. I don’t know how many times I have read it. Close behind it is Rumer Godden’s The Dark Horse, set in 1930’s India and based on a true story.

Reading came first and foremost in my family and I don’t remember a time when I didn’t have books around me. My mother collected Mazo de la Roche’s Jalna books while my dad was a fan of the Brother Cadfael books. I discovered Regency romance with the publication of Georgette Heyer’s Frederica in 1965 and have been a fan of that genre ever since. Frederica remains a firm favourite as I still find it as fresh and funny as the first time I read it.

I enjoy reading thrillers too, and at one time owned all the Dick Francis racing thrillers. Out of all his titles Smokescreen, set in South Africa, was my favourite. More recently I’ve become a fan of   Lee Child’s Jack Reacher novels and am working my way through his titles. There’s the law and then there’s justice and I can’t help liking Reacher’s sometime rough take on that.

Non-fiction is not at the top of my list, but I have recently become reacquainted with Stevie Cameron’s Blue Trust: the Author, the Lawyer, the Wife, and Her Money, which reads like a novel and is the story of tax lawyer Bruce Verchere who included amongst his clients the author Arthur Hailey. I found this an intriguing as any thriller, loaned it to a friend and never saw it again. If I really enjoy a book, I will read it again and again, so I am very happy to have this one back in my collection.

As far as magazines are concerned, any edition of National Geographic will keep me happy. I think the most iconic cover for me, and for many people, is the image of the young Afghan girl with green eyes. I don’t often buy magazines, but if I am going to indulge these days I will always buy the Hello! Magazine, either the U.K. or Canadian edition. If I am visiting the U.K., I will always bring back with me a copy of The Lady Magazine which has been in continuous publication since 1885 and was a
favourite of my grandmother’s.

I’m off now to check on my fellow bloggers’ favourites and don’t mind betting that several will end up on my wish list.


Anne Stenhouse
Skye Taylor
Diane Bator
Connie Vines
Dr. Bob Rich
Fiona McGier
Helena Fairfax
Beverley Bateman
Rhobin L Courtright


  1. Hi Victoria, I do hate having to ask for a book back when it's been out on loan, but sometimes you just have to take a deep breath... I've never read a Jack Reacher book, so I've got a name to add to my tbr list. thank you. anne

  2. Thanks for the comment, Anne. I'm usually very careful about loaning books for that very reason. I did have some fancy bookplates made up and stuck them in all my books. Hope you enjoy Reacher when you get to him.

  3. Two of my favorites - Georgette Heyer and Lee Child - couldn't possibly be more different, but that's the joy of reading books instead of being stuck in front of a television. Instead of being captive to whatever the network execs think sells best, we can read ANYTHING WE LIKE and the variety is endless. Heyer is long gone and Child is turning Jack Reacher over to his brother Andrew, but new favorites are out there ready to be discovered.

    1. I did not know that Lee Child was turning Reacher over to his brother. Thanks for that snippet? I wonder if that's anything to do with the rumour that Reacher is going to be turned into a Netflix(?) series? Regardless, I so agree that we can read anything we like. Another book I have brought back into my fold is Daniel Hood's magical fantasy Fanuilh, and yes, I enjoyed it as much as I remembered.

  4. So many of you seem to love Regencies. Not me. I don't care for the time period--all manners, along with the low-caste of females, even in the upper-class societies. I think their clothing was too fussy, and their hygiene must have been abysmal, what with no toothpaste, and doctors who didn't even wash their hands before touching patients. Penicillin saved my life repeatedly when I was a child, so maybe that's why I prefer contemporary writing. My only exception is Greek mythology. If I'd have known I could pick more than one book, I'd have chosen Edith Hamilton's Greek Mythology. But alas, I thought the prompt asked for one. Good thing, or my post would have been twice as long!

    1. It's a good job we're all different, Fiona! Hygiene was pretty awful regardless of what rung of Regency society's ladder you were on. However, a shower bath was invented in 1810 and toothbrushes and tooth powder were available for those who wanted it. Amongst the choices were TROTTER’s ORIENTAL DENTIFRICE, or ASIATIC TOOTH POWDER.

  5. Yes, horses are great people. But as for books you can smell and touch, they are history as far as I am concerned. To read them, my old eyes need good lighting and glasses that constantly need cleaning. Onscreen, I zoom in, and use backlighting.

  6. Kipling. I'd forgotten about Kipling.

    If you can keep your head when all about you
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
    If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;
    If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
    Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

    If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
    If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same;
    If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
    Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

    If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
    And lose, and start again at your beginnings
    And never breathe a word about your loss;
    If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,
    And so hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

    If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
    Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
    If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
    If all men count with you, but none too much;
    If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
    Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
    And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

    I can still recite most of "If". I must have been impressed. During 6th grade when I was reading Mark Twain, I found Kipling in our public library.