Best-Loved Novels of the Past 225 Years?

So I've been following WHSmith's search over on Twitter of the nation's best-loved novel in the past 225 years, as this year is WHSmith's 225th anniversary! So I wanted to share with you some of my favourite books written in the past 225 years.

20 Best-Loved Novels of the Last 225 Yearscheck out WHSmith's picks here

My personal choice is a book that I've been a fan of for many years and it's an absolute classic. 

Title: Dracula by Bram Stoker
Published: 1897
Synopsis: Jonathon Harker travels to Transylvania in Eastern Europe to do business with a mysterious man, Count Dracula.

On his way to the count's castle he is warned by many, even provided with crucifixes, and almost attacked by wolves. 

To his surprise, upon reaching the castle, Harker is confronted by a professional and gentle man - that is up until he realises he has been made the count's prisoner. While he is under serious threat in the castle, strange things happen elsewhere - a Russian ship is wrecked and a woman is found with bite-marks on her neck. 

The great power and ambition of the count manifests itself in deaths and looming evils, causing a group, including the escaped Harker, to hunt Dracula down and kill him. 

I remember being around 15 years old when I picked up this novel for the first time. I had a love for vampires (I still do) and I wanted to read the origins of the most infamous vampire, Dracula. I thought it would be difficult to read, as obviously it was written a long time ago but I remember being instantly in love with the style of writing and the storyline. The book is just stunning and I have acquired so many versions of it over the years as it's always been a book that has captured my heart.

My favourite pick from WHSmith's top 20 list is an easy one for me and has been one of my favourites for a while.

Title: The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Published: 2003
SynopsisAfghanistan, 1975: Twelve-year-old Amir is desperate to win the local kite-fighting tournament and his loyal friend Hassan promises to help him. But neither of the boys can foresee what will happen to Hassan that afternoon, an event that is to shatter their lives. After the Russians invade and the family is forced to flee to America, Amir realises that one day he must return to Afghanistan under Taliban rule to find the one thing that his new world cannot grant him: redemption.

I have a real special connection with this book. When I was 16, I was told we were to study this book as part of our A Levels. I'd never heard of it and was so worried I wouldn't connect and fail my ended up being the only A grade I ever achieved in English Literature. It was a book I could talk about for days and found myself making everyone read it. It is incredibly heartbreaking and gut-wrenching, yet absolutely beautiful. 

20 Best-Loved Children's Books of the Last 225 Yearscheck out WHSmith's picks here

Again, my personal choice was easy as he was one of my favourite authors growing up and still is, to this day. 

Title: Night of the Living Dummy by R.L Stine
Published: 1993
SynopsisDiscover the original bone-chilling adventures that made Goosebumps one of the bestselling children's book series of all time! Something scary is happening in GOOSEBUMPS HORRORLAND, the all-new, all-terrifying series by R. L. Stine. Just how scary? You'll never know unless you crack open this classic prequel! Discover the fan-favorite thriller and chiller that first introduced the world to the wooden face of fear. The puppet who pulls all the strings. None other than Slappy the Dummy! Now with all-new bonus material revealing Slappy's secrets and more.

Can I just point out that even the cover of this book and reading the synopsis brings back nightmares?! R.L Stine introduced me to the world of horror from a very young age and I have been in love ever since. I read all of the Goosebumps books when I was younger (and I re-read them fairly recently actually) but this one has always been the one that scared the hell out of me. Even now, I can't watch the Goosebumps episode without feeling genuinely scared! R.L Stine made me the lover of horror that I am today...even to the point that when Goosebumps Alive played in London, I had to go and it was one of the best experiences I've ever had (it was immersive theatre). R.L Stine, I salute you.

My choice from WHSmith's picks was also one of my absolute favourites growing up.

Title: The Enchanted Wood by Enid Blyton
Published: 1939
Synopsis: The Enchanted Wood is the first magical story in the Faraway Tree series by the world’s best-loved children’s author, Enid Blyton.

When Joe, Beth and Frannie move to a new home, an Enchanted Wood is on their doorstep. And when they discover the Faraway Tree, that is the beginning of many magical adventures! Join them and their friends Moonface, Saucepan Man and Silky the fairy as they discover which new land is at the top of the Faraway Tree. Will it be the Land of Spells, the Land of Treats, or the Land of Do-As-You-Please? Come on an amazing adventure – there’ll be adventures waiting whatever happens.
The Faraway Tree stories have been delighting readers for over 75 years. 

This book brings back such wonderful memories of when I was little. My mum used to read me these books over and over and when I was old enough, I enjoyed reading them myself. Not only was it one of my favourite books growing up, but it was also my mum's when she was younger. For a book to span the generations and still be a favourite, decades has to be a good one, right? I haven't re-read this series in years, I think now is the time to change that.

What has been your favourite book over the past 225 years? Leave a comment or tweet me at @zcollins1994 using the #WHS225Books or #WHS225KidsBooks

No comments