As its World Book Day, I’ve decided to have a little think about books I’ve read throughout my life. Books are entertaining but can be inspiring too. I’ve always loved reading books. The first novel I ever read was A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett. I absolutely loved it and still do. It’s such a beautiful story about how, no matter if they be poor, in the most horrible circumstances and feel all alone in the world, people are still special and life can always get better. While I’m perhaps a touch more cynical these days, I appreciate that to a little girl, this was very comforting at times.
I spent much of my childhood and early teens reading Jaqueline Wilson books. I think these are brilliant as the characters are so realistic and easy to relate to. They cover a lot of the issues that kids face in ordinary life: parents divorcing, relationships and self esteem problems.
I started reading the Harry Potter books when I was about 12 and got through the first three really quickly. I then read the others as soon as they came out. It’s such a great series and I really do think it got lots of children reading. Certainly they were the only books some people I knew at school read of their own volition. Somehow it manages to be brilliantly fantastical, whilst still having elements that can be related to such as handling relationships during the awkward teenage phase.
During a holiday once during my mid teens, I read Chocolat by Joanne Harris. Rather nicely, I was on holiday in a little French village, very similar to the setting in the book. This tale of liberation from tradition and expectation inspired me to think that one day, I could be free to live how I wanted, rather than how others were dictating I should. It also made me think that maybe I should move abroad and open a chocolaterie but that dream was very quickly forgotten when I considered that I can barely look at a Mars bar without it being gobbled up rather quickly, never mind being around gorgeous looking handmade truffles and other little delicacies all day long without my waist expanding faster than a hot air balloon.
A little while after Pip was born, I had quite a bit of time on my hands during her naps. Someone recommended I see the film Twilight as they thought I’d like it. At the risk of enraging some readers, which this information for some reason sometimes does, I actually did like it and so, read the books. I really enjoyed them. Now, I’m not about to proclaim the series as works of art that will still be read and marveled at in hundreds of years to come, but they’re enjoyable or at least I find them to be so. I find it bizarre how much anger this seems to elicit from people. Husband actually said that he was disappointed with me for liking them and that’s one of the tamer responses I’ve had!
I think in the hope of showing me that better love stories exist, husband recently suggested I read Wuthering Heights. I did. I wish I’d read it sooner. What a brilliant tale of the dark, jealous, obsessive side of love. This book has inspired so many – just look at the list of songs about it, from the obvious single by Kate Bush to the beautifully dramatic All Coming Back to Me Now, written by Jim Steinman and performed by Meatloaf & Marion Raven. Yes, Celine Dion recorded a version too but, in my humble opinion, it’s nowhere near as brilliant.
Another recommendation of husband was to read was the Hunger Games series. I like that the main character isn’t a damsel in distress in the slightest. Katniss Everdeen is brave, smart and very handy with a bow and arrow. If Pip’s going to have any female role models from fiction, here’s a brilliant one. Luckily, a similar character exists in the form of Merida from the much more child friendly film Brave.
What books are in your list of favourites?
Happy World Book Day everyone!
Thank for reading.