R29's Best Loved Books – & Why We Keep Going Back To Them

Photographed by Serena Brown
Your best loved book probably isn't your best looked after – and that's no bad thing. Having been drawn back to those familiar pages time and time again, it's likely to be creased at the edges, loose at the spine and stained with tea and coffee (and red wine). A few crumbs from the bottom of the handbag it's been lugged around in. Corners folded and refolded, from the time you lost the train ticket you were using as a bookmark. The smudged annotations you made in a rush on your way to a meeting. Our best loved books have battle scars. Call us old romantics, but isn't that the most glorious indicator of a well loved story?
Don't get us wrong – the understated pang of excitement that comes only from turning the first page of a brand new book remains one of life's greatest pleasures. However, returning to the familiarly worn pages of one of your old trusty favourites is right up there as one of the top things we love about reading. This week Penguin is hosting a pop-up shop where they'll be displaying every single book in the Penguin Classics library (that's more than 1,200 books) and celebrating the love of books. To mark Happy Reading, their weeklong series of events and workshops, the publisher is asking authors to share their well-thumbed books – the books they return to and bear the physical imprints to prove it. Ahead of Refinery29's panel at the end of the week, we thought we'd ask the editorial team to do the same thing. Here you'll find some of team R29's best loved books and a little insight into why they mean so much. If you were looking for an excuse to revisit one of your old favourites, you're looking at it.
'What the F*** is Happiness Anyway?' an evening hosted by Refinery29 at Happy Reading: The Penguin Classics Pop-Up Shop takes place on 29th March. Tickets here.

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