Saturday, 29 June 2013

10 Books That Made Me

Image from Waterstones

As most of you know I work at Waterstones as a Children's Bookseller and at the moment a campaign is running called The Book That Made Me! You can pop into a shop and jot down on a postcard your thoughts or you can pop over to the special Waterstones microsite to tell them all about the book that made you: , and you can also  follow the discusssion on Twitter using the hashtag #tbtmm!

Waterstones says "The Book That Made Me... is an on going collection of stories about lives that have been changed by books." They are powerful things books and it can be hard to just pick one book that defines you, sometimes it more. Books seem to play a vital role in our lives and the right one always seems to come along at the right time.

I noticed a fellow Waterstones staff member posted his top 10 books that made him and I really liked the post so thought I would do the same. You can see Darren's post here over at his blog, some brilliant books I think you'll agree! Now onto my picks.......................

I have a collection here of all kinds of books for all different reasons and I'll do my very best to give reasons as to why I picked them. I'm sure my reasons won't be all that deep but hey, they are my reason no matter how big or small.

The Hobbit: J R R Tolkien
The Hobbit (Middle-earth Universe)

My first book is The Hobbit, although I may have read books before this one & had books read to me this book was the first book I really paid attention too. I often hear people say 'you like it because you're meant too, it's a classic so that's why you like it' NO! I like it because as a 10/11 year old my school teacher, Mr Flatly, read this story to the class. Usually every Friday afternoon before school finished, and on other occasions when the class had been extra good. I fell in love with the characters right away and was swept along on a journey that would start my love of reading. Once Mr. Flatly finished reading The Hobbit and it was time for a new story, the whole class voted for The Hobbit to be read again. It's the kind of story that everyone can fall in love with and a class of 10/11 years olds proved that. My favourite book of all time!

The Complete Tales
The Complete Tales by Beatrix Potter

This collection was bought for me by my parents back in about 1989/1990-1. My two case box set was of the newly printed images and I loved them more than anything, I still do actually! Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle is my favourite of all the stories that Potter wrote, I just love the character. I was about 7/8 years old when this set was given to me and it was the first time I remember falling for the beauty of books, the images and the cases the books came in just blew me away. I think they are still my pride and joy and possibly the thing I would save from a burning building. My parents are both avid readers, my bothers not, but I don't think they knew just how much an impact these books would have on me in later years. A set I love to recommend to customers at the bookshop.

The Book Thief
The Book Thief: Markus Zusak

Oh. My. Word. Where to start with this one!?!?! The Book Thief is a book I would always pick up in work & put back down. I would often chat to a colleague of mine about it as she loved it but said there was a fair amount of back & forth which I'm not always keen on. But in February of this year I became rather sick and was unable to read so I decided to buy the audio of The Book Thief, It's one of the best things I ever bought! My edition is read by Allan Corduner which I believe gave me a completely different feeling for the book than I had I read it. Corduner really bought this book to life for me. This is the kind of book that celebrates the power of words and the effect those words have on people, it's a book full of anger and hurt yet somehow remains restrained and a book that is written and told with such beauty that we rarely find these days in fiction, or maybe I haven't read enough!? It's the kind of book that should be read in schools along side To Kill A Mocking Bird and Of Mice & Men. More than anything I love that Zusak is true to the setting and era of this book and his characters live & die just as would be expected from a story set in WW2. A must read for all book lovers!!!!!

Degas and the Dance
Degas and the Dance: Jill DeVonyar & Richard Kendall

I don't often read non fiction other than art books, as I come from an art background. I have a Degree and a Masters within the art field and my Degree dissertation focused on Edgar Degas. This book has to be one of the most informative books I've ever read and so beautiful! Without this and my trip to Pairs, for research or course, I don't think I would have gotten that dissertation done! I ended up with a 2:1 degree and it was thanks to books like this one and the pure enthusiasm of authors that got me to where I am now. As well as working at Waterstones I also work in an art gallery as education facilitator, my dream job!!

One Seriously Messed-Up Weekend in the Otherwise Un-Messed-Up Life of Jack Samsonite (Jack Samsonite, #2)
One Seriously Messed-Up Week-End: Tom Clempson

First of all I LOVE TOM CLEMPSON! Don't tell him I said that though!!! His wife Laura is super talented too and is the mind of Cupcakes for Clara and she is so very lovely!! Now Tom's very funny, sometimes crude but funny book has made my list because when I was very ill at the start of the year I wasn't able to do anything including reading but when I could I picked up Tom's book. He actually sent it to me after drawing pictures of poo & cake all over it! This story, along with Tom's art work almost made me pee myself several times and honestly, it was just what I needed! My illness became very serious at one stage and this book got me through it all! I'm rather sure Tom still doesn't understand how much this book means to me and no matter how good an author you tell him he is he still won't believe it. I'm so very glad Atom sent me his first book and we got chatting on twitter after me reading it. I'm happy I get to call him a friend and I thank him and his writing abilities for getting me through my rubbish illness!
(For Tom's eyes only: You can pay me later for this! And if I'm not a character in book 3, well, no more cake!;)

Poison Study (Study, #1)
Poison Study: Maria V. Snyder

Yelena is one of the strongest heroine's I think I've ever encountered! She's the kind of character that makes you think about yourself and put things into perspective and I kind of think I did. Poison Study was my way back to fantasy reading and I finished the trilogy within a matter of days. I hadn't read any fantasy in a very long time and when I read Poison Study I remembered just how much I loved the genera and went on a buying craze! It's funny how we slip in & out of reading and the things we read. Although I read a lot of YA I try and make it a point to read from all generas so I'm not missing out. This is a series I would recommend to everyone as well as Snyder's other titles too.

The Sugar Queen
The Sugar Queen: Sarah Addison Allen

Now and again I like to read a good fairy-tale ending book and with Allen that's what you usually get! I'm not a fan of chic lit as it were and I need something a little more to keep me hooked and Allen gives it me every time. There is always a magical element with her books and her characters are so accessible, likeable & the kind of people you can relate too and that is why The Sugar Queen makes my list. I can sooooooooooo very much relate to Josey, I think most females can and do at some point in their lives. Although I may still struggle with things this book made me realise that people will always love you for who you are no matter what you think and the things you hate about yourself are the things that someone will love the most about you. An author I often talk too much about at the shop :)

Skin Deep
Skin Deep: Laura Jarratt

Books like Skin Deep always surprise me! I had a copy of this and never actually thought about reading it until it was announced as a contender for the Waterstones Childrens Book Prize for 2013. So as you can tell it was a book I read for work and I loved it. The story really struck me because my mother suffers with mental illness which is touched on and our main protagonists has an unsightly scar down her face, my father is an amputee. So for me this story had similarities to my own life and it came just at the right time for me! It made me realise that no matter how bad things seem they will get better and Jarratt encourages us to make changes by starting with ourselves and from then things will only get better. This was just the perfect story at the perfect time in my life!

Ink Exchange (Wicked Lovely, #2)
Ink Exchange: Melissa Marr

I think on the surface this may seem like an odd choice but not for me. Another perfect book at the perfect time. A book that lets all survivors know they are just that and not a victim.
And that's all I need to say about this one!

Holy Bible: King James Version
 Holy Bible

I'm adding my Bible as the 10th book that made me because without it I'm not sure where I would be sometimes. I am not the most perfect Christian and I'm not the type of person to force my religion on to people. But if asked about it I will talk about it.

So they are my picks. If you have 1, 2, 5 or 10 books that made you why not do a post and let us all know. I think it's a brilliant idea and one of Waterstones better ones and it's really nice to see people taking the time out to write into the website or post their cards in the shops.


Michelle @ Much Loved Books said...

I have read 4 of these books, although I tackled LOTR before actually reading The Hobbit.

Great post and I will have to check out some of these books :)

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