So this is somewhat inspired by three sources, there is Cinzia’s (C.A. DuBois) video, Lauren’s (Reads and Daydreams) Bookish Beginnings tag and also Jen’s (JenVCampbell) tag called The Time and Place tag. Now, I wanted to do Jen’s tag desperately but I just don’t think of enough books to warrant it so I combined it with Lauren’s and threw in a bit of Cinzia and… came up with this today. So it’s a bit ad-lib and somewhat hurried but hopefully not lacking in content.
I’m going to share with you a few stories about my relationship with books and books that shaped me in one way or another. I’ve split it in to 6 categories and hopefully it makes some sense!
Tomorrow I will hopefully do a real tag and then Saturday will be a review all being well!
The Book That Made Me a Reader
I used to go to the library a lot as a child, I loved reading time at school and while I remember loving books like Each Peach Pear Plum and Owl Babies as a child, I think the books that really defined me as an independent reader were Roald Dahl (The Twits and Fantastic Mr Fox!) and as I got older books by Jacqueline Wilson (Lola Rose!). I realised non-fiction could be fun too when I discovered the Horrible Histories and Horrible Science series and, honestly, I still have a few of those at home! Oh and of course Harry Potter!
The Book That Took Me Out of the Children’s Section
Going to the library and being able to take out books from the adult section was the pride of my 12th year on this planet, my reading age was well above that of my friends and I often got told off for reading at school when I was meant to be doing work – teachers often ignored the fact I’d already done the work! The first adult fiction I read was very much the chick-lit trope. I loved Marian Keyes and Cecelia Ahern, then I moved on to Jodi Picoult. I also really loved historical fiction, books by Philippa Gregory were a firm favourite of mine. I remember distinctly reading My Sister’s Keeper and actually, that book helped me ace an essay in my GCSEs.
The Book that Made Me Love Classics
When I turned 13 I asked for books as gifts from my uncle. I told him the authors I liked (see above) and he bought me 3 or 4 but he also bought me Jane Eyre. He said to me that he asked the woman in the bookshop and she recommended it. I waited a little while to read it, I was nervous, but when I did read it I fell in love with it – and classics generally. From then on out I started trying a lot of classics with vigour and found that they weren’t all bad, even then I wasn’t a fan of Austen but I discovered a lot of children’s classics which had sort of swept over me. When it came to studying classics for school, I was a head above the rest because I had actually read Bronte and Austen and Stoker, I wasn’t daunted by them.
The Book that Made Me Broaden my Horizons
I thought all books were written in English for a long time. A very long time. I had probably come in to contact with a few translated works but not many. I only started reading translated works in the last 4 or 5 years, the first I read was 1Q84 by Murakami and I did love that book. Since then I’ve been less daunted. Translated classics have always been a bit daunting but after reading Homer and since then I read some Dumas and now Tolstoy I’ve realised that it’s just a matter of finding a good translator which for classics is a bit more challenging as there are many to pick from!
The Book That Made Me Find It
I was comfortable reading chick lit for a long while until I realised I wasn’t those women. I was never going to be those women. They were all interested in guys and getting married and I wasn’t. I realised I was at least bi when I was about 13, I’ve since realised that sexuality is fluid and that I don’t really want to label myself but as a 13 or 14 year old girl all I wanted was a book I could connect with. I wanted a book about two girls, a book about a girl like me, I wanted to have something to just relate to. I found Tipping the Velvet. It wasn’t exactly the book I was hoping for but it was just the book I needed. I will always be very grateful to that book for opening doors for me and helping me understand myself a bit more, I went on and discovered people like Ali Smith and I think that was when the direction of my reading changed. I found literary fiction!
The Book That Made Me Feel…
This final honour goes to The Book of Strange New Things. My sister bought me this book the day our grandma died as I needed to be out of the house, she chose to join me and I saw this book. I’d seen people (Jen) talking about it and I knew I wanted to buy it and my sister offered to pay. I started it that same afternoon and finished it 3 days later. This book gave me the comfort I needed without being overtly preachy or difficult for me to read because of the religious aspects, if anything it made me feel peaceful which is a very weird thing to say about a book about an apocalypse. When I couldn’t sleep, I picked this up and when I needed to get away from the reality of it all I picked it up. It gave me solace in some of the darkest hours of my life and for that I will always hold this book as a book that made me who I am.