Books that changed me: Hannah Richell

Hannah Richell is the author of three bestselling novels, Secrets of the Tides, The Shadow Year and The Peacock Summer. Her latest, The River Home, is published by Hachette.

Charlotte’s Web
E.B. White
When I need a reminder of the beauty in the world, I reach for Charlotte’s Web. I have loved this book for most of my life and think I’ve taken even greater pleasure revisiting it with my own children. Wise and gentle, there is something so fundamentally tender and illuminating about this story. The message that without each other – without kindness and friendship – we are nothing resonates today as deeply as ever.

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Daphne du Maurier
First read as a teenager, Rebecca grabbed me by the throat and showed me that beautiful, haunting writing can also be exhilarating and utterly gripping. Du Maurier is an absolute queen at unsettling her reader. This is a novel I can read and appreciate over and over, noticing new details each time. Timeless and beguiling, I just adore it. I think this might be the novel that inspired me to become a writer.

Bird by Bird
Anne Lamott
Recommended to me by the author Favel Parrett as I set out on my own career, this is one of those books I like to keep close when I am deep into my writing. It’s too easy to lose heart and doubt yourself while facing the long haul of creating a novel, but Bird by Bird is like having an enthusiastic cheer squad at one shoulder and a straight-talking mentor at the other.

All of Us: The Collected Poems
Raymond Carver
It was my late husband who introduced me to Raymond Carver’s writing. This volume of poetry came with him when we moved into our first home together. We read a Carver poem at our wedding, and another at his too-soon funeral a few years later. Lines in this book sing to me with presence and truth, and remind me to appreciate the simplest moments of each day. ‘‘Pure gravy. And don’t forget it.’’

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