I can’t remember when it was that I first came across Sanne from the beautifully bookish Books and Quills – or indeed whether I first started following her blog, her Instagram or her Youtube channel – but suffice it to say I’ve been a big fan of hers for a while. Originally from the Netherlands, Sanne now lives in London and works as a social media producer for Penguin Random House. Her blog is a brilliant online space that covers everything from her favourite succulent shops to vegan food, to bakeries and beyond, while Sanne talks about books, films, productivity and travel on her popular Youtube channel. Meanwhile her Instagram is a fabulous feed of all things bookish complete with creamy coffees, stylish cafes, and picture perfects glimmers of quintessentially British countryside. I was thrilled when Sanne agreed to take part in my Desert island Books feature, and loved finding out which eight books made her selection. From a Dutch children’s classic to a much loved Bronte, read on for some literary inspiration from one of the best bloggers about.
Sabriel by Garth Nix
While trying to come up with this list I very quickly realised that a lot of these books we’re going to be picked predominantly based on characters and stories that made me feel comforted or at home. This is definitely the case for Sabriel by Garth Nix. The way the characters play off each other, and the incredibly immersive magical world of the Old Kingdom makes this a no-brainer for me.
Kruistocht in Spijkerbroek by Thea Beckman
This Dutch children’s classic (though it’s definitely meant for teenagers), translates to Crusade in Jeans. I’m not sure if the translation is still in print, but it’s probably the book that set off my love of time travel. It’s the story of a boy who accidentally gets stuck in medieval Europe, has no choice but to join the Children’s Crusade that happens to be passing by and uses his contemporary knowledge to try and make things better for the massive group of children, led by a young shepherd and a group of monks. I think this book taught me so much about history and really made my imagination go wild, and I’d be very happy to have it with me. I wanted to make sure I picked at least one Dutch book, and this has to be the one.
Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
An Irish child genius and his massive bodyguard plot to kidnap a fairy in the hopes of getting the gold ransom. But they quickly realise that they’ve picked the wrong victim, as she’s part of the fairy police squad. Mixing ancient underground magic, high-tech gadgets, a very angry team of fairy police officers and a giant troll, this book is endlessly entertaining and another childhood favourite.
The Host by Stephanie Meyer
I started my YouTube channel when the Twilight craze was just beginning, and though I was tempted to put Twilight on my list, as it reminds me of so many lovely moments and friends, I opted for The Host by the same author instead. Things it has going for itself: it’s over 600 pages, combines my love of end of the world narratives, sci-fi and rebels hiding out together somewhere, contains some excellent make-out scenes and lots of witty dialogue. It’s also one of the very few books that I’ve considered instantly rereading after finishing the last page (I’m still waiting for that sequel Stephenie!). I’ve already read it six times, but that won’t stop me.
Collection of Romantic poets
I don’t have a particular edition in mind for this one, unless perhaps I’m allowed to bring one volume of my Norton Anthology from uni? I absolutely loved the Romantic poets when I studied them and I get a lot of comfort from reading poems out loud. So what better time to get into them again and perhaps even discover some new ones. I’ll have plenty of time to really think them through and perhaps memorise them when I get really bored.
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
An all time favourite, plenty of pages, a headstrong main character and it fulfils my need of something gothic. While I read it I can also imagine the amazing BBC mini series and dream back o the time I visited the location where it was filmed.
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
Wuthering Heights is the book I tell people is my favourite when they ask. It’s such a difficult question and while it’s not the easiest one to read, it’s a book that has always really captured my imagination and it’s definitely one I’d like to read again. A love for all things supernatural, doomed, a bit dramatic, and of course, the English countryside, makes this the perfect book for me.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J. K. Rowling
No surprise, of course my list includes a Harry Potter. Why number 5? I found the series, like many others, in the long break between the fourth and fifth book. When it finally came out in English, I remember walking by my local bookshop and wishing the Dutch translation wouldn’t still be weeks away. I ended up picking up the English one, struggling through it (probably only understanding about half of what was going on), but feeling very proud afterwards. Harry Potter will always have a special place in my heart.
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