I was one of the lucky kids. My parents would both sit in my room before I went to bed, one on the rocking chair, and one next to me in bed, and they would read to me. They read me wonderful books filled with all sorts of magic and drama that made me the person I am today. I think it is because of them that I have always been a reader. Because of them, I have yearned to know more about different worlds and the stories that come from them. Because of them, I have the imagination of a writer…and I am so SO thankful.
It is because of this that when my friend Chloe-Mai mentioned a blog post she had read by Golden Books Girl about the books that made her a reader, I was pretty eager to join in. We quickly decided with some of our other writer buddies that maybe now would be a good time for a collaboration! So here we go! Don’t forget to check out Chloe-Mai’s list here, Patsy’s here, and Amber’s here!
#1: The Story Giant, by Brian Patten
When I think back to those days of my parents reading to me, this is a book that stands out so heavily. Even to this day I still refer to it if I’m in need of a bit of inspiration! The book is a series of stories within a story. It revolves around the story giant who is a collector of every story ever told, but he is missing a story, and without that story, he will die. In order to find the missing story, he weaves together the dreams of four children, all from different parts of the world with different social classes. These children tell him their favourite stories in order to try and keep the story giant alive. It is a beautiful book with beautiful illustrations (by Chris Riddell) and it taught me so much not only as a child but also as an adult. It made me, like the story giant, want to know every story in the world – Even if that story is one of my own 😉 (Does the word ‘story’ sound strange yet?)
#2: I, Coriander, by Sally Gardner
This will forever be one of my favourite books! I can read it again and again and have done at least once a year since it was gifted to me by a teacher back in primary school. I, Coriander is about a young girl who lives in London during the 1640/50’s. Not only is it a historical fiction novel, it is also fantasy. Coriander owns a pair of magical silver shoes that have the ability to take her to the world in which her mother was born in. The story deals with horrible topics such as death and abuse without making the book too heavy for children. This book encouraged me to read more historical fiction which quickly became one of my favourite genres.
#3: Alice in Love and War, by Ann Turnbull
Another historical book, but this time without fantasy. Alice’s journey is a difficult one. Orphaned at 16 during the English Civil War (I like this time period in stories!) She lives on her Uncle’s farm until a group of Royalist soldiers take base there; and a young soldier, Robin, takes a ‘shine’ to her. Alice runs away from the abuse of the farm to be with Robin and the women of the army baggage train. The story deals with the horrors of war from a woman’s perspective, not shying away from the details of murder, rape, pregnancy, and miscarriage, whilst also looking at the effects a small gesture of kindness can give to you. The story introduced me to the romance genre, as well as probably being the first story I had read with sex in it (which was a bit of a shock for a 12-year-old!). It also taught me that love and life doesn’t always go to plan, but you should never give up.
#4: The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis
Ah Narnia. If you went to school in England, I can almost guarantee that you have some kind of love for Narnia – even if you’re not a reader. Both the books and films had such beautiful imagery of a magically snowy kingdom with wonderful characters that it was hard not to be swept in. It’s hard to explain what the books did to me as I was so young when I first read them, but they not only inspired my love of reading, they also inspired my love of writing. I loved how the author didn’t always use the same characters in the different books, I loved knowing how the world was created and how it went on once certain characters were no longer there. If a new book came out today, I know for sure I would still want to know more stories of Narnia.
#5: The Sight, by David Clement-Davies
This book inspired me in different ways to the others on my list. When I first got my hands on The Sight, I picked it off the shelf because I loved the cover. A beautiful wolf on the front staring into my soul with its bright yellow eyes. The blurb was different to other books I had read before, there was something darker, something more mysterious. I NEEDED this book without really knowing why. So imagine my disappointment when I got home, curled up on my beanbag, opened the first page…and struggled to understand what was going on in the story. This was the first time I hadn’t really gotten into a book straight away and I remember telling one of my teachers about it, confused as to why I wasn’t understanding. She looked through the book and said that although I might be good at reading books above my level, she didn’t think I had reached the point of understanding this book yet. So the book gathered dust on my shelf while I read more and more, desperate to know more words, understand more about the world. Until, one year, I picked up the book again and those eyes stared into my own. I sat down and read like I had never read before about a pack of wolves tormented by an ancient curse. Not only do I now LOVE this story, but I love how it inspired me as a child to learn. I needed to read more so that I would be able to understand the complexity of plot twists and curses, to be able to read a book from an animals point of view instead of a humans, to fully immerse myself into a characters world for a few hours to the point that when I reached the end, I had to sit and think for a while before I could do anything else.
#6 Judy Blume
I couldn’t single out just one book written by Judy Blume for this post, yet I didn’t feel like I could leave her out either. I first heard of Judy Blume’s books when watching “Holiday In The Sun” (a Mary-Kate and Ashley film) in which the books were said to be the favourites of a character. After watching the film, I headed to the library and noticed so many books by this author, I was surprised I hadn’t heard of her before. I stocked my backpack full of her books: Tiger Eyes which dealt with death and how to recover; Forever was a love story for young adults unlike any other, it was rare at the time to come across a YA story about sex that didn’t involve the girl being punished and the boy being a jerk; Deenie dealt with medical conditions in young teens, how to deal with social pressures, and the effects parents can have on their kids when they ‘pigeon hole’ them; Are You There God? It’s Me: Margaret looked into puberty for young girls; Blubber dealt with the all important issue of bullying… I could talk about every single one of Judy Blume’s books easily but these are just a handful. I couldn’t get enough of her stories and I’m so grateful I found them at the same sort of young teen age that I was going through the same issues as the characters. Judy Blume encouraged me to read more teen books in order to have an escape from the pains of teen life.
#7: Confessions of Georgia Nicolson, by Louise Rennison
I couldn’t go through a teen book obsession without picking up Angus, Thongs & Full-Frontal Snogging. When the movie came out, everyone fell in love with Georgia Nicolson and her Ace Gang of hilarious friends. Georgia was SO relatable and her books so incredibly fun to read. I ended up writing a notebook full of Georgia’s favourite words and catch-phrases and handing them out to friends at school (NERD ALERT!) I wanted to know everything about Georgia’s life and how to be a perfectly-unperfect as her and because of that, her books went with me everywhere.
#8: Harry Potter, by J.K. Rowling
How could I write this post without including Harry Potter? It would be impossible! NEVER have I been more immersed in book world than I have with J.K.Rowling’s fabulous series. I don’t need to tell you guys what these books are about because you would have had to have spent the past 20 years under a rock to not know this story. I was given the first book as an incredibly young child, maybe 4 or 5 years old and I have grown up with Harry, Ron, Hermione, and the rest of the gang. I have a tattoo of a stag on my arm with the Deathly Hallow symbol, spells and all sorts and I can’t express how much I am in love with this world. I could talk forever about what Harry Potter did to me but if you’re a Potterhead like me you’ll know it’s Harry’s birthday very soon and I can guarantee you that I’ll have a whole post on him coming up!
If you’ve stuck around to read all my waffle on the books that made me a reader, I’m impressed. Thank you so much! I know it was a bit of a long one but once you’ve asked me to talk about books I could honestly go on for days!
I’ll try and write before Harry’s birthday but if not, you’ve just 6 days to wait for my next magical, Pottertastic post!
Let me know what the books that made you a reader are. Do we have any in common?