The Books That Made Us Readers

I saw this blog post originally made by Golden Books Girl, and immediately knew that I wanted to write my own. Full credit for this post idea goes to her; you can read her post here. After a discussion about which books would make our list, my friends and I decided to turn this into a collab. You can find Natalie’s list here, Amber’s here and Patsy’s here. In no particular order, here are some of the books which made me a reader.

IMG_5257#1: Alice In Wonderland 

couldn’t write this post without mentioning Alice in Wonderland. Anyone who knows me knows just how much I adore this book. As a child, my Grandad had a hardback copy of this book in his garage which included beautiful colour illustrations and from the moment I saw it I fell in love. I can remember fighting with my brother over who’s turn it was to have AIW and who would get stuck with the copy of Wind in the Willows. I spent pretty much every World Book Day dressed in a blue dress, white knee socks and a white apron that had been lovingly made by my Nan, with my hair scraped back with a blue ribbon.

I think the thing I love so much about Alice in Wonderland, is just how crazy it is. In Wonderland, truly anything goes, from the wacky and eccentric character of Mad Hatter, to the horrific Jabberwocky. It’s a book which takes you on a magnificent adventure, from the first page to the very last.

#2: A Series of Unfortunate Eventss-l300

Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events holds a solid position in this list. I was utterly mesmerised by the life of the Baudelaire children, refusing to take a break until I’d read all thirteen novels. My brother had a 3-in-1 edition of the first three stories, and I can remember staring at it on his book shelf for years, desperately wanting to get my hands on it. Of course, being the awful siblings we are, he wouldn’t let me read it, despite never actually reading it himself. My discovery of ASOUE came at a time in my life where we spent the summer living in my aunt’s living room, sharing a blow-up mattress on the floor. My main goal for that summer quickly became an obsession of having to complete the series, and so my mother and I spent the 6 weeks driving to every library in Hillingdon on a mission to find the next book. If one library didn’t have it, then we’d be straight back in the car driving to the next. Somehow I was successful in my mission, long before the 6 weeks were up and to this day, those books still have a very special place in my heart.

georgia-nicolson-series#3: Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging

If you’ve never heard of The Confessions of Georgia Nicholson series, honestly where have you been? This 10 book series had me laughing out loud, cringing and screaming at Georgia’s bad choices all at the once. I remember sitting in bed huddled over the books, shining a dull book light over the pages, quickly turning the pages in a desperate need to know what happens next.

The film was released in 2008 and quickly became an important rite of passage for British teens. I can remember going to my local cinema at 11 years old, and being turned away with my group of friends as we didn’t have an adult accompanying us. Luckily, my mum had been in the shopping centre and after convincing her to escort us, I think she ended up enjoying the film even more than we did!

#4: Harry Potter5985956549_8d54418688_b.jpg

Would this really be a list complete without the Harry Potter series? Harry Potter and The Philosophers Stone was released in 1997, when I was 9 months old. Growing up, these books had a HUGE hype and I was first introduced to them when my Grandad and Aunt began reading them. In all honesty, I don’t remember how old I was when I began to read them, but I have a distinct memory of sitting under my bed in my bean bag, next to my bookshelf, with my copy of The Goblet of Fire in my lap. I also had a copy of the So You Think You Know Harry Potter? quiz book which I would make various members of my family test me over and over and over again.

kid0144#5: Journey to River Sea 

If I’m being completely honest, I struggle to remember the full plot for this book as I sit here and type. This book was given to me at in Year 5 at school, as one of the books on our “book club” list. Journey to River Sea is one of those books which has stuck with me for years, not necessarily for its plot, but for its ability to completely captivate me. The second I opened this book, I couldn’t put it down. It’s the first book I ever sat and read in one sitting and to this day I still remember the feeling it gave me.

#6: Rainbow Magic daisy-meadows-rainbow-magic-sporty-fairies-pack-7-books-set-franscesca-the-football-fairy--87050-p

I feel as though these books stand out so much compared to my other choices, but again, I couldn’t write this list without including them. The Rainbow Magic books were a collection of books, where each series focused on a different type of fairy, eg. The Rainbow Fairy’s, The Party Fairy’s etc. Each time a new series was released I would beg my mum to take me to Waterstones and buy me the whole lot. I can remember giving up my future pocket money for the next two months, just so she would buy me the books. And then, I’d sit and read each book in a matter of hours. Thinking back to it, these books aren’t really anything special but they added a bit of magic to my childhood.

IMG_5260#7: The Twilight Saga

Yes, the dreaded Twilight Saga has made it onto this list. When I was 12 years old my friend handed me her copy of Twilight and declared I had to read it. And so I did. And the other 3 books. Over, and over and over again, to the point where I had to repurchase the series because the spines were destroyed and the pages kept falling out. When I look back at my love for Twilight, it quite frankly makes me want to cry. I won’t turn this into a discussion of every thing that is wrong with the Saga.

As a Creative Writing graduate, there are a number of books that made me want to write. The Twilight Saga did just that for me. I discovered the world of Fanfiction and found myself writing pages and pages about what might have happened if Bella had died in Breaking Dawn. I uploaded my story to and to this day it’s had over 120K hits. When I re-read it now, 8 years down the line it makes me want to cry at how bad the writing is, but I refuse to be ashamed of it because we’ve all got to start somewhere, right?

#8: The Giant’s NecklaceIMG_5262

The Giant’s Necklace, a short story found in Micheal Morpurgo’s From Hereabout Hill, is a story that I still think about regularly. Once again, it’s another one of my brothers books. I used to steal this off his shelves when he wasn’t in, run to my room and quickly read one of the short stories, and then rush back to return it to his shelf before he noticed it was missing. The Giant’s Necklace is the first story in the book, and therefore the first one I read. The ending to this story honestly shook me to the core, I didn’t see it coming and I think it kinda terrified an 8 year-old me. It’s definitely one of those stories that sticks in your mind for the rest of your life.

Over to you: What books made you a reader? Did any of mine make your list?


To Be Read #1

img_5219-e1500562513289.jpgSince finishing university at the end of May, it suddenly dawned on me that I finally have the free time to read what I like. As mentioned in my previous post, I’ve just completed a Creative Writing degree, which as you can imagine, involved a lot of required reading. After the initial “Now what?” the realisation that I can now read whatever I wanted hit, and since then I can’t. stop. buying. books.

The kindle vs. book debate is still a touchy subject, but I, dare I say it, usually opt for the kindle versions. For me, who was constantly travelling backwards and forwards between uni and home, having all my books in one handy place for train journeys was ideal. Recently however, after a trip to Waterstones left me lusting after all the pretty book covers, I’ve been buying so many more books and my kindle has been abandoned in my desk drawer.

Between May and July I’ve already powered my way through at least a dozen books, and yet my to-be-read pile just keeps on growing. In no particular order, here’s the books I’m going to be reading.

IMG_5231#1: Sad Perfect- Stephanie Elliot

This book is probably the one I am most excited to read. I recently discovered the BookTuber emmmabooks (here), where she spoke about this book. I’d never heard of it before, and after looking for it on Amazon I believe it may not have been released here in the UK yet. I managed to order it via a seller from NY however, and it arrived this morning after a long 2 weeks. Sad Perfect tells the story of 16 y/o Pea who is living with the eating disorder ARFID. What intrigued me the most about this book however, is that it is told entirely in the 2nd person, something that is not very common in literature. At my time at university I explored the use of the 2nd person pronoun and wrote several assignments using it, so this instantly made me want to read this book. The opening sentence “You float.” instantly throws you straight into the action and forces you to imagine yourself in the shoes of the MC. I can’t wait to read this, and I’m sure I’ll be writing a review once I’m done.

#2: The Hate U Give- Angie ThomasIMG_5227

The Hate U Give has been on my radar for a few weeks now, after seeing it cause a stir on social media. THUG is inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement and follows 16 y/o Starr who is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend by a police officer. I’m so excited to read this, I’m sure it’s going to be one of those books that really hits the nail on the head and leaves me thinking about it long after I’ve turned the final page.


#3: Speak- Laurie Halse Andersonimg_5223-e1500565696439.jpg

Speak is one of those books that I have been meaning to read for years and have just never gotten around to it. I must admit, I didn’t realise who the author of this was until I held the book in my hands. I’ve recently read Wintergirls, also by Laurie Halse Anderson and really loved how raw and true-to-life the characters were written so this has just made me all the more excited to read Speak. Published in 1999 when I was just 3, it’s already been made into a movie (2004) starring Kristen Stewart which I’ve watched multiple times. Being a third year university student, over the last year I’ve been working on my dissertation piece which, like Speak, followed the life of a girl with Selective Mutism. I’m still not entirely sure why I didn’t read this whilst I was writing, but now I have oodles of free time I’m finally going to cross this one of my list.


#4: Vanishing Girls- Lauren Oliver

I bought this book on a bit of a whim in the middle of JFK airport coming home from my trip to NYC. I had $12 left to spend and including tax, this book cost me $11.98. If I’m being honest, I don’t really know a lot about the book, but the blurb grabbed my attention enough for me to want to purchase it for the plane ride home. (I ended up getting distracted by the extensive movie list on the plane instead, so this one has made its way to the pile!) The blurb informs me it’s about two sisters, Dara and Nick. Dara vanishes on her birthday and leaves Nick to put the piece together in order to find her. On a side note, I can’t help but notice how thin the pages are in this book! At first I thought it was just the publishing company, but I’ve now realised it’s all books printed in the USA. Vanishing Girls sounds like it’s going to be one of those ones you stay up late reading because you simply can’t stop reading, so I’m predicting some late nights are going to be around the corner!

#5: Eden Summer- Liz Flanaganimg_5224.jpg

Similar to Vanishing Girls, Eden Summer follows the MC, Jess who’s best friend Eden goes missing, with her boyfriend Liam as the prime suspect. Jess begins to retrace her steps, questioning everything that happened that summer. To be perfectly honest, I picked up Eden Summer because Waterstones had their buy one get on half off offer on and I already had 3 books in my hand and thought “Might as well.” This book hasn’t grabbed me as much as some of the others I bought that day which is why it’s still in my to-be-read pile, but it will definitely get it’s turn! The premise of Eden Summer actually reminds me of another book I’ve read before, who’s name I can’t think of for the LIFE of me (typical), and I loved that one so I’m sure Eden Summer will be a hit.

IMG_5229#6: Every Last Word- Tamara Ireland Stone

About a year ago, I found Every Last Word on Goodreads and knew that I wanted to read it. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find it on the Kindle store, or Amazon and somehow I ended up forgetting about it. Thanks to a binge-watch session of emmmabooks, I found her raving about it in one of her videos and I rushed over to Amazon and purchased it immediately. Every Last Word centres around Samantha McAllister, a high school junior who is keeping a secret: Sam has purely-obsessional OCD. The reviews found in the cover of this book describe it as “brilliant, brave and beautiful”, “characters to love and a story to break your heart”, and “a strong message about self-acceptance”. Overall, it seems as though it’s going to be a really powerful and thought provoking insight to living with OCD.

#7: A Tragic Kind of Wonderful- Eric LindstromIMG_5225

A Tragic Kind of Wonderful is a “beautiful, captivating story about living with bipolar disorder; and loving- even with a broken heart.” I actually started reading this a week ago and made it as far as 90 pages before I lost interest. I feel like this is quite a slow-starter, and quite bluntly, I had other books I was more interested in reading. I’d just made a trip to Waterstones and purchased Under Rose Tainted Skies, and my desire to read that first was a bit too much. As a rule, I don’t start new books until I’ve finished the one I’m reading, but in this case I couldn’t force myself to keep reading ATKOW. I’m sure however once I pick it up again and give it another go, I’ll be hooked.

img_5228.jpg#8: Our Chemical Hearts- Krystal Sutherland

Our Chemical Hearts is described as “John Green meets Rainbow Rowell”, and having enjoyed both authors in the past I knew I had to give this one a go. The book is about the first love of Henry Page, “a film buff and hopeless romantic”. Grace Town, the girl he’s falling madly in love with “dresses in oversized men’s clothing, smells like she hasn’t washed in weeks and walks with a cane.” I feel like this is going to be an easy,-going innocent and (hopefully) sweet, heartwarming read. It’s also not that long of a book and I think it’ll be a good one to read in one sitting.

#9: What I Lost- Alexandra Ballardimg_5230.jpg

What I Lost is another one of the books I desperately wanted to read, but couldn’t find it in Waterstones or in the Kindle store so I ended up buying it from an American seller and having it shipped over to the UK. The book is about a girl named Elizabeth who’s just entered Wallingfield, a treatment centre for girls with eating disorders, when she begins to receive mysterious packages from an unknown source. It follows Elizabeth’s journey through recovery, and reviewers of the book have said that it gives a really authentic depiction of life with an ED.

And that concludes my current to-be-read list! I dare say it’ll be growing even more in the near future!

Over to you: What books are you currently reading? Have you read any of the books on my list?