So many books, so little time – Frank Zappa.
First of all, Happy World Book Day! It seems a little unfitting that we only have one official day of celebration when books should be celebrated all day, every day. They are certainly celebrated every day in my house because I wake up to my books and fall asleep next to my books, which is all I need at this time in my life. I really wanted to share my love of books today to celebrate World Book Day. Old editions of ELLE UK had a page dedicated to Books That Made Me where a celebrity would talk about their favourite books, or books that had an impact on them during their life. It was my favourite page of the entire issue, and I wanted to recreate it for myself.
It was difficult thinking of ten, and then it became difficult to narrow it down. I ended up with eleven books, including some series’, which have either been childhood favourites, gotten me through a difficult time, or are the first books which shouldered the transition to a new kind of reading journey for myself. Without a doubt, there will be many more books to come in the future years – I am only 25 after all – that will be significant to future periods of my life. For now, these are the ones I treasure most.
THE BRAMBLY HEDGE TREASURY
Alongside my Mr Men and Peter Rabbit books, The Brambly Hedge Treasury is one book that never quite made it to the loft. Instead, it has sifted around my room for twenty-odd years. I always remember looking at the intricate illustrations as a child and wanting to climb into the book, or the nearest tree. It is still one of the most beautiful books on my bookshelf. There is something about any of the Brambly books that is just extra special, which is why they are now my go-to for gifts for children. I hope that Jill Barklem will have the same effect on them as she did on me – playing a part in making me the avid reader I am today.
THE BFG & THE WITCHES
Roald Dahl has to be mentioned because he is by far one of the best authors on the planet. I have no idea where my two mahoosive books have gone (probably the loft), but I had the pink book that contained The Witches and two other stories as well as the yellow book with The BFG, The Twits and one other Roald Dahl classic. I remember taking both on holiday to Wales, either a caravan trip or visiting an old family friend, and I remember devouring those books in the back of the car. It was summer and the sun was shining, gorgeous landscapes were passing us by. Roald Dahl made it a happier time for me as a child, and entertained me on long car journeys!
ANGUS, THONGS & PERFECT SNOGGING
The perfect book series for every teenager has to be the one about nunga-nungas, thongs and snogging, as well as periods, popularity and finding young love for the first time. As someone in an all girls school, I felt lucky that I didn’t have to deal with some of the occurrences that Georgia Nicolson did, but she taught me a lot growing up. It always felt as though she was another crazy friend to talk to, despite it being her telling you all of her problems with hot Italians and whatnot, which aren’t exactly problems, if you ask me. Give me a hot Italian. Thanks.
Sarah Dessen is one of my all-time favourite authors. I first came across her through Just Listen. I can’t remember how old I was exactly but I think it was late teens. Reading Annabel’s story was heart-warming and eye opening; I read it in one sitting. The characters of Just Listen are vast, true and just like us. This book was a door to the rest of Sarah Dessen’s books which I have continued to collect over time. All of them have helped me in one way, or another – coming just when I needed them too and letting me know I am definitely not alone in heartbreak, joy, love and other life scenarios.
THE WORLD’S WIFE
The only anthology of poems on this list, and the only one that has even stuck in my mind. Carol Ann Duffy’s The World’s Wife spins classic fairy tales and tales of men on their head, making the woman of the story the protagonist. Particular favourites of mine are Little Red – Cap, The Kray Sisters and Salome. Duffy has a way of mixing comedy with history and a beautiful style of writing. Working with The World’s Wife during my A Levels cemented my need to continue studying English Literature in university, and although I haven’t taken to much poetry since, I know there is at least one poet who I will forever be enthralled by.
THE THORN BIRDS
The Thorn Birds is another book I read when I was in Sixth Form. It wasn’t on the reading list, but I read it anyway, pouring over the characters and making a lot of notes. It is a story about family, about its trials and tribulations, about each person’s identity and the role they play within the family, about breaking free of that role. The copy I have was my mum’s, which is why it means that little bit more to me. My mum never keeps books, and so if she kept this one, it must have been a good story. It is. It’s a great story.
THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS – CITY OF BONES
The first of The Mortal Instruments was a book given to me at Christmas one year, many moons ago. I had never heard of the series, as it was pretty new, but it was the gateway to an entire new form of reading for me. I have always loved fantasy and, yes, the whole vampire-werewolf thing was a complete trend about a decade ago. However, it was Cassandra Clare’s story that had me wanting more. Her story about unrequited love tore at my teenage (inner romantic) heartstrings, just as the fantastical element had me excited about all things supernatural. The Mortal Instruments also gave me something to talk about with a new co-worker a couple of years ago. He’s now one of my best friends. Books have power in life.
A children’s classic which turned into a huge part of my university life, and life itself. I have always been obsessed with Peter Pan, even before I read the book. My cousin and I used to watch the film as well as Hook over and over again when we were younger. I first read the book in my second year of university and I was so taken by the story. It has a lot of darkness and is actually quite sad. I chose Peter Pan as the centre of my final dissertation because of that darkness. It is primarily a children’s story after all. Since then, I have collected various editions from across the globe, including Australia and Bali. I’m due another read.
OH, THE PLACES YOU’LL GO
During one of the darkest times of my Australian travels, my only friend – who I could trust where I lived – gave me this Dr. Seuss book. He had rewritten parts of it so it would reflect me and him too. It really helped me get through that time in my life and I will always be grateful to him for giving me that book. I carried it with me through the remainder of my travels and still have it, now. I haven’t needed to read it again since, although I’ll probably take it with me when I next go travelling.
When I worked in the local pub, a man started talking books with me. He told me about Robin Hobb and her great stories about old worlds, kings and murder. I’ve written an entire review which you can read. I read this book during my travels in Bali. It is definitely the first in the adult fantasy genre that I have read, and so it is another one of those gateways to more books in the future. Robin Hobb has written a load of books about the Six Duchies. I am excited to delve into all of them at some point.
MY NOT SO PERFECT LIFE
Sophie Kinsella is famous for her witty narratives and quirky protagonists. I’ve never read her books before, but I picked this one up and I’m so glad I did. The full review is here. I read this just after my ex and I split a few months ago. It was a shit time, but this book really helped. It reflects what every woman in their mid twenties is going through during this millennial age: building a career, meeting a decent guy and getting that Instagram perfect picture. Whenever I feel as though my life is going to pot (hello, now…) I’ll pick this one up again.
What are the books that have made you?
Love, Faye xo