Today's 10 Day You Challenge Post has been the hardest to write so far! I have been a bookworm since I was very young. I used to spend hours after school in the library, doing my homework then choosing some books as a reward. It was my happy place at a time when school was a battlefield for me. As things got better, I gradually drifted away from the library, and I regret that a bit. There was something special about going in, taking a book from the shelf, and curling up on the beanbags, with a bar of chocolate, and reading it until they closed.
I did keep reading after I stopped going to the library, but I focused my attention on buying books from car boots and charity shops. There were the odd exceptions, the Harry Potter series, for example. Then after two years of outright refusing to buy an E-Reader, the deterioration of my hands meant I was unable to hold some of my favourite books. I was really upset, so we went to try out some different ones, to see how well my hands would cope with them. I ended up with a pink Sony one as a Christmas present, and I haven't looked back. I find it sad sometimes, not to have the physical pages to turn, and that lovely book smell lingering, but it meant I could revisit some of my old favourites again.
So here are my top 4 books!
4. Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, by Roald Dahl. I believe that every child in the world should read this book. Roald Dahl is very unique, in my opinion, in the way he managed to synchronize his imagination with that of children everywhere. I have never met anyone who didn't enjoy his work, and Charlie and The Chocolate Factory is one of the best examples. Not only was he able to produce a story that made children excited, made them laugh, and want to be in that world, he managed to subtly insert some values in there, which I have never forgotten. The importance of family. The fact that honesty is important, even when you may have done something wrong. Bad behaviour is not something to be rewarded. I adored this book as a child, and still do as a 26 year old (although I never really grew up!). His imagination was a phenomenal place, and he would be one of my dream dinner guests.
3. Hold The Dream, by Barbara Taylor Bradford. My mum used to have a bookcase in the hall, stacked full of books which I was not allowed to read until she felt I was old enough. When she finally let me choose a book from the shelf, I was drawn to the bold writing on the spines of the "Woman of Substance" series. I read all three from the original trilogy, but this was my favourite. It covered so many themes, which I hadn't really encountered in my reading career until then - love, power, sex, death, feuds, crime, money, to name a few - and even though the books were older than I, and set before my time, they taught me things that still apply to me now. I didn't really go for any other books from Mum's bookcase, but I had to repurchase Hold The Dream, as I read it so much, it fell apart!
2. Polgara the Sorceress, by David Eddings. I was introduced to Eddings by a very special English teacher. I was taking the English A-Level totally alone, and it meant that I developed a strong rapport with the three teachers I had for the course. This lady was absolutely amazing, and we had very similar tastes in books. She knew I would love his stories, and brought me in the first book from the "Belgariad" series. I opened it when I got home, and could not put it down. I took it back the next day, and she had the next one ready for me. I absolutely loved it. Shortly after, she went on maternity leave, so I never got to truly thank her for introducing me to such an amazing author. It was so hard choosing which book I loved most from the series, but I chose Polgara's story. I don't want to give anything away, but if you choose to read the series, this book fills in so much back story, and gives you a real insight into a strong, beautiful and amazing woman. She is my favourite female character out of all the books I have ever read, and there have been so many!
1. Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince, by JK Rowling. This was a very bittersweet book for me, as it marked the end of a series that I was (and still am!) absolutely transfixed by. I am not ashamed in the slightest to admit that I am a total Potter geek. Even though the series has finished. I devoured this book on the day it came out, in around four hours. I experienced so much emotion whilst reading it. I laughed, raged, and cried (more times than I could count). I still do, whenever I read it - even though I know how the story works out. JK Rowling did a brilliant job with the final book in the series. There is always hope with Potter fans that she will write another book, but if she doesn't, then it ended on a high note, and for that, I am grateful.
This was so difficult to narrow down! There are so many stories that I have read and loved, and so many that I go back to again and again. I am regarded by some as strange in that respect - a lot of people can read a book once and once only. I am actually grateful that this is not the case for me. I can enjoy these stories many times over.
I can't recommend any of these books highly enough, and wish I could have listed more! If you do decide to read any of these books, or the other books from the series, do let me know what you think of them by leaving a comment! Also, tell me your four favourites - I'd love some new reading recommendations!
As always with this challenge, don't forget to have a peek at Karen's top four books!