By 'Top Reads' I don't mean my family (although they're likely to become another topic during my self-imposed 'Appreciative August' blogging challenge), but books.
I've loved reading ever since I clapped eyes on J Eastman's 'Go Dog Go' and gazed in awe at the wonderful dog party illustration on the last page. I also wanted the little birdy to find out 'Who is My Mother?' and felt very sad when 'The Diggingest Dog' looked likely to be returned to the brutally cold cement floor of the pet shop.
Later, Mum found boxes of her childhood books from the 1940s, which I devoured. Enid Blyton (who I thought was 'Gnid' Blyton due to the weird signature logo she had on each tome) was very dated and English but anything the Famous Five, Secret Seven, folk from the Faraway Tree or Naughty Amelia Jane did, I read. Over and over again, blowing away the squashed, dried dead moths and dust from each page. I did wonder why the kids in her books were always really excited to be eating "Bread and jam, and lashings of ginger beer" for picnics or when they got an orange in their Christmas stocking, but the evil smugglers and nasty men who hung around in the darkness with torch lights and bad manners deserved everything they got. "Oh do buck up Timmy!"
University disappointed me greatly in terms of the 'literature' I was required to read (at breakneck pace, thus with no chance to truly enjoy or feel the beauty in any of it) and pontificate on uncertainly about each one in painfully hand-written essays for three years, so afterwards I sought out the novels that I had really wanted to read and learn about. Old classics were discovered such as Catch 22, Exodus, Shogun, everything by John Steinbeck, James Michener, PG Wodehouse, Thomas Hardy and the delicious intelligence of Jane Austen. Dad and I made a further connection through our love of the same books and I ventured further. Nabokov's Lolita, Tennessee Williams, Oscar Wilde, Dickens, Anne Tyler.