Facebook – Book Nomination

I was recently nominated by a friend on Facebook to select the 10 Books that have ‘stayed with me’ – So I thought it would be nice to share them here too (you will notice some repeats from my previous posts and lists) but here it goes, in no particular order.

1) The Harry Potter Series by JK Rowling – I know it’s not a singular book, but the whole series captivated my imagination and gave me an incredibly immersive reading experience. I felt that Hogwarts was my home and I will always love Jo for giving me, and many others like me, a truly amazing book series with some of the best characters created.

2) To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee – This is a book I read at High School and I remember falling in love with it straight away. It was easy to imagine the surroundings, the characters and the tensions. It’s probably one of the first books I read that made me feel heartbroken at the injustices and ignorance of society.

3) Matilda by Roald Dahl – I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, minus the horrible parents and scary Miss Trunchbull, I felt that Matilda was a reflection of myself when I was younger. I found more contentment and happiness in books and powered through as many novels as I could get my hands on. It warms the heart.

4) Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfield – The copy I own is literally falling apart, I’ve had to cello tape the spine together and have to be very careful with the pages, as some of them are loose. I adore this book, about three very different girls, who become sisters at an early age because of various tragedies. But each one with a different life ambition to the other. This book taught me that it’s ok to be different from other girls and that no matter where you come from, you are capable of achieving great things.

5) The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath – A book, I sadly, only read this year and one I regrettably wish I would had read a lot sooner. It takes an unflinching look at living day-to-day life with depression, and the painful journey to recover some normality and become you again. Quite heart-breaking but incredibly poignant and well written.

6) 4.48 Psychosis by Sarah Kane – Technically this a play, but again it deals with loss and depression and was written after Sarah Kane’s partner passed away. It’s quite a harrowing read as Kane reflects on her incredibly personal experiences of dealing with grief. It’s quite fragmented as a read, but it provides an insight into subject matters that are usually pussyfooted around. A fine piece of writing and theatre.

7) Dracula by Bram Stoker – Incredibly atmospheric, well written and one of the first vampire novels I read. This is an absolute classic and is partly responsible in my life long fascination with vampires, much better than Twilight and the book to film adaptation by Francis Ford Coppola is an absolute feast for Gothic Horror fans everywhere.

8) Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen – It is a truth universally acknowledged, that I adore this book. It was the first book by Austen that my dad gave to me. And I became absorbed in the time period, I thought, and still do think, that Elizabeth Bennet is one of the strongest female literary characters ever written. So intelligent, headstrong and outspoken. A classic book, which I will never tire of re-visiting time and time again.

9) A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens – Not only have I always loved Christmas more than anything, but also this book has so many morals and lessons to teach. A book that can save the soul and give a whole new perspective to just how beautiful and lovely life can be, if only you step back and stop being so self involved.

10) King Lear by William Shakespeare – This tragedy is probably one of Shakespeare’s finest pieces of work and yet doesn’t seem to be as favoured as other work. Truly heart-breaking but incredibly well written and filled with plenty of drama. If the ending doesn’t have you sobbing, I don’t know what will (Psst! I’m referring to the bit where Lear carries in Cordelia) Feel free to share your Top 10 in the comments section below.

Happy reading fellow bookworms!

x

My Top 10 Favourite Childhood Books

I think, even now at 29 years old, it’s always a good idea to pick up one of your favourite childhood books and give it another read. For me, it keeps me grounded, reminds where I’ve come from, helps me get in touch with that little girl I used to be and helps me feel incredibly nostalgic as I reflect back on my happy childhood. With that in mind, I thought I’d share my 10 Favourite Childhood Books. These are in no particular order and are books that I read in the 90’s.

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Matilda by Roald Dahl – Oh, Matilda. I lost count of how many times I snuggled down with this book. Roald Dahl created something of perfection here, and in this blog alone, I have referenced how often I felt an affinity with the girl genius that was at her happiest getting lost in books. As well as being a delightfully intelligent, it’s also life affirming, humorous and warms the heart. What more could you ask for?!

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Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfield – The edition I have of this is all tattered and the pages are falling out, but I will never throw it away as I bought it when I was with my dad. Aside from being something of sentimental value, it was probably one of the first books I read where I feel I learnt the lesson that’s it’s ok to be different. It’s ok to not like ballet, or acting or things that are viewed as more suitable for women. The bond between the sisters was lovely and I loved reading the book to see how they changed over the years, and loved the way they turned their fortunes around. This will always be one of my favourites.

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The Secret Island by Enid Blyton – This book taught me a sense of adventure. There was something fascinating about a group of children escaping to their own island and creating a habitable place to live. Fruit, milk, eggs, making their beds out of the leaves and wood on the island. There was just something incredibly romantic about it all.

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Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by JK Rowling – The book that changed my life. I was 12 years old and had just started High School. From the first chapter I was hooked, and I experienced the same magic and sense of true content that I felt whenever I read a Roald Dahl book. I felt like I was home. The storyline was incredible, and obviously the famous line that eerily came true “every child in our world will know his name!” Just writing this paragraph makes me want to re-read the series again.

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Heidi by Johanna Spyri – A charming little read about how the gift of joy can help lift the human spirit. You will fall in love with the scenic beauty of Switzerland and the way Heidi touches and changes the lives of those around her and helps them overcome their own pain.

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A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett – This one taught me how life can change so quickly, but by staying positive, whether that be through using your imagination to cope with the difficulties you face, or befriending others, you will be ok in the end. I loved the film adaptation of this too, and loved how close Sara was with her father.

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The BFG by Roald Dahl – The book that introduced me to human beans, which has stuck through my life and is now the way I refer to the people I love in my life. My fiancé, for example, is one of my favourite human beans. The BFG started off with the “witching hour” and Sophie, our protagonist, spotting a giant stalking the streets and blowing things through bedroom windows. When the giant snatches Sophie, it was easy, as a child, to feel scared, but that’s part of the book. It teaches you not to judge by appearances, as he is a friendly giant. That’s one thing I will always admire about Dahl’s work, is his ability to take something hilarious and exciting, yet underlay real life lessons. The BFG is a delightful novel that shows the triumph of kindness, good winning over evil and will introduce to you some rather delightful words, like snozzcumber.

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Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by JK Rowling – The second book of the boy wizard, that came out in the 90’s. Things were really kicking off at this point, and the development of the storyline was really coming together. I remember how intrigued I felt, trying to discover who was petrifying the characters. Not only that but we also meet the loveable Dobby for the first time. Now excuse me whilst I go and cry.

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Tall Thin and Blonde by Dyan Sheldon – It wasn’t that this book was particularly well written or had much intelligence or humour behind it but it spoke to me because I wasn’t like the other girls. I know we have all experienced that time in our High School years, where we feel like the ugly ducklings or have a social awkwardness, which prevents us from saying anything remotely cool to our crushes. But this book taught me that it’s ok if you’re not tall and slender, or have curly hair or highlights, what matters is that you stay true to yourself and the things in which you believe. It was also my first introduction to guys with piercings and a more alternative look, it had me hooked.

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Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen – It is a truth universally acknowledged, that I love this book. A book that was given to me by father, and I watched the BBC’s adaptation with my mother. I didn’t ‘get’ the scene where Colin Firth jumps into the lake when I was younger, but now I’m older, I can understand why my mother exhaled and blushed. But I digress. I genuinely cannot fathom why some people dislike Pride and Prejudice or do not understand Austen’s writing style. It has often been said that she was a shallow individual who only bothered with the monetary aspect of love. This is ludicrous, it’s all about women having a choice and a voice in a time when they were just meant to sit there and look pretty. It was about having the power to refuse and say ‘no’ I fell in love with Elizabeth Bennet. To me she was intelligent, wise and outspoken, she played her cards close to her chest and was someone I admired. Mr Darcy, although a pompous, arrogant snob at first, soon became easy to love, especially when you found out about Georgiana and Wickham and the way he dealt with the issue. It’s a perfect novel; Austen was and is, one of the finest British authors. I can’t wait for her to be on a £10 note. Long live Austen.