Here are a few books that I have come to find as essential to my home as furniture, plants and pets
My favourite reads: Sarah Maisey
I am a bit of a bookworm and read as widely as I can, falling asleep most nights mid-page. I see books as being as essential to a home as furniture: treasured pieces to be revisited. My mother once told me to “never trust a house without books, plants or animals” – advice that has stood me in good stead.
From Beirut to Jerusalem by Thomas L Friedman (1989)
When I arrived in this region, like many others, I struggled with the complex politics that have shaped this part of the world. I was given this book as an introduction and it is still the most concise and measured book I have found. Filled with humanity and pleas for reconciliation, it is essential for anyone trying to understand the deep underlying issues at stake.
Mog the Forgetful Cat by Judith Kerr (1972)
I was tiny when I first discovered the charming world of Judith Kerr’s books, and fell head over heels in love with Mog, her illustrated cat that was always getting into trouble. Soft and round, Mog was, for me, the perfect companion, so imagine my delight when we adopted her real life doppelganger a few years later. I loved this cat beyond measure.
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (1960)
This was the book that opened my eyes to the inherent cruelty in the world. The sheer injustice of the court case around which the book rotates, and Atticus Finch’s grace in confronting it, were mesmerising. As uplifting as it was frightening, I desperately wanted to be Scout – the 6-year-old narrator, as she very much fitted with my tomboy mentality at the time.
Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (1985)
I was a hot mess of teenage hormones and angst when Love in the Time of Cholera was first published, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s poetic tale of a lifetime of unrequited love reduced me to a sobbing wreck. I have read it countless times, and even to this day I only have to pick it up, and my eyes start filling with tears.
A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson (2003)
I love a book that fills in any gaps in my knowledge, and this tome had me yelling, “Oh, I never knew that” at every page. Unfortunately, as I seem genetically incapable of retaining anything regarding maths or science, I have to sporadically revisit it, but still get a thrill when I glean something new. A fascinating journey through space and time.
Sarah Maisey is Deputy Luxury Editor.