Happy World Book Day!

Did you know that reading for just six minutes a day reduces stress by a huge 68%?

Reading not only expands our general knowledge, but it’s also a great memory exercise, can increase our emotional intelligence, and can help people lead more peaceful lives. Plus, reading doesn’t have to be expensive – you can beg, borrow (try not to steal), or read online!

At Tower Mains, we enjoy a good book! Here, some of the team give an insight into their reading habits and their favourite books.

How many books did you read in 2021?

Judith: I usually read about 3 books a month but with a new job and a house renovation, I didn’t come near that last year, not more than 20 maybe (if you don’t count cookery books!).

Fiona: I read on average 2 books a week so that’s roughly 100 books a year. I read on my Kindle in the wee small hours, and I currently have about 2000 books waiting to be read. I have a real fear of running out of things to read!

Nicole: I think I probably read about 5-6 books last year, I’ll need to do better this year.

Rita: I tend to read on average a book a month, usually that doubles during the holiday period making it to 14 books last year excluding newspapers and artbooks. As George R.R Martin has said: “A reader lives a thousand lives, and one who doesn’t read lives only one.”

What was your favourite book from last year?

Andrew: Not a book, but a series of books. I’ve enjoyed historical fiction from authors such as Conn Iggulden and last year I got hooked on the “Last Kingdom” series by Bernard Cornwell. Closer to my profession I also enjoyed “Unnatural Causes” by Richard Shepherd and “Do No Harm” by Henry Marsh because they give a human, “warts and all” perspective in the practice of medicine.

Judith: My favourite book last year was called Rachel Ryan’s Resolutions by Laura Starkey. I used Amazon’s Kindle lending library and it was recommended to me on there. I used to read only Fantasy but since I got older, I will read anything if it holds my attention.

Nicole: My favourite book from last year was ‘Let your Mind Run: a memoir of thinking my way to victory’ by Deena Kastor and Michelle Hamilton because it really focused on how negative thinking can drag you down, but if you think positive, it’s half the battle.  Deena was an US Olympic marathon runner.

Rhona: Taste by Stanley Tucci – he writes exactly how he speaks, the similarities between Italian American and Irish families are uncanny, gorgeous funny man and Italian recipes to boot – what’s not to love!

What is your all-time favourite book and why?

Judith: My favourite all time book is a fantasy book, Waylander by David Gemmell. It’s a story about an assassin perceived to be bad but going out of his way to do good without understanding why. I’ve read it about 20 times, and I keep it at my bedside so if I’m bored with the book I’m reading or not ready to start a new book I read random chapter from Waylander instead.

Rita: My answer would change if asked again next year, I have to recommend two personal favourites which include a Portuguese one: The Lusiads by Luís de Camões, to all those who love history and poetry a must read; and War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy. It‘s a work of realism  not solely historic fiction, characters come alive in each page I will share one of my favourite quotes “The strongest of all warriors are these two — Time and Patience.”

Fiona: I have 2 all-time favourite books. One is by Erich-Maria Remarque called All Quiet on the Western Front – it is about the First World War, not written by the victors but by the ‘enemy’ soldiers and it made me realise these events have winners and losers on all sides. There were terrible things asked of young men and much was forced upon them whether they were ‘our’ young men or ‘their’ young men. A total tragedy for everyone involved. My second favourite book is ‘Children on the Oregon Trail by Anna Rutgers van der Loeff. I read this when I was 14 and it has stayed with me ever since.  It’s about a family in the 1840s crossing America for Oregon and a new life.  For various reasons the parents left the wagons and the children stayed on their own. I remember the fear I felt for these children when it started snowing and they were excited to be playing in the snow without realising that it made them so much more vulnerable.  There is a line in the book that made me shiver with fear for the children – ‘Winter set in with a beauty that belied its murderous intent.’ I have never forgotten that line in 56 years.

Andrew: Difficult to pick a favourite but the most influential book recently has been “The Culture Map” by Erin Meyer. This gives a great insight of those of us who have work with and understand people from different cultures.

Shona: This varies depending on my mood…  But maybe Timeline by Michael Crichton.  I love the mix of science fiction and history.  The characters feel real and the interactions they have with each other and the situations they find themselves in resonate with me.  Having said that, I read the Jack Reacher and Charlie Parker series of books over and over, but I couldn’t point to a single book in either series as a favourite.

Rhona: Wow – you guys make my life tough – how can I choose just one? Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier who ever forgets Mrs Danvers?