Thursday, 5 March 2015

83. World Book Day

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It's World Book Day today. Don't you just love it when there is a day dedicated to celebrating something as wonderful as books? Books have been such a part of shaping my life, from childhood to the present day. 

Simply put, I adore books. As an only child there were times where I spent a lot of time to my own devices as there weren't any other children around to be playmates, and I have to thank both my parents, and my grandparents for instilling in me a love for the written word. I would lose myself completely in the pages of various books. 

As with all children I had a rich, vivid imagination growing up, and it is something I am very happy to cling to now. I can easily while away the hours in a world of my own creation quite happily. I have my family to thank for this, from the imaginative way they told me bed time stories - my Nan wove her own versions of traditional fairy tales, and I can remember hanging on every word as she told me a completely unorthodox version of Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf!

I had a book about Goldilocks and the Three Bears, that Papatron would read to me before bed, and it had three little bears that you put to bed when you reached the end of the book. This ultimately resulted in me telling my entire class that my dad wrestled bears for as his job (which wasn't strictly false, they never did ask if he wrestled real bears in my defence!).

It was my grandparents who furthered my love of history too, by gifting me with Horrible History books as soon as the newest publication had been released, something that my parents were also involved with. As my taste for history developed, so did the maturity of the books I was reading. My parents didn't seem to think twice about buying what must have been quite a heavy reading for a seven year old, they knew I'd consume it hungrily. 

World Book Day is a celebration of literature, and the stories closest to our hearts. The stories that held our hands as we were growing up, that mended our souls when we needed to put the world to rights or just to lose yourself in the pages of a different world for a an hour or two on a rainy Sunday afternoon. It is a love affair that I know will go on, and on for many, myself included.

My must read fictional books are:
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'The Magic Faraway Tree' by Enid Blyton - This will forever remain my favourite book from childhood. I remember not being able to wait for bedtime when Paptron would come and read me a few chapters, sometimes I was successful in convincing him to read more than planned! I think he got a lot of joy from sharing this book with me as well. I still get so much enjoyment flicking through the pages of this book, I don't think the joy will ever diminish. 


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'The Picture of Dorian Gray' by Oscar Wilde - This book began my lifelong love affair with Oscar Wilde. I remember picking a copy of this book up in my local library and reading it cover to cover. I didn't return it for ages, renewing it constantly until I forgot and wound up getting a hefty fine from the disgruntled librarian who regarded my behaviour as a capital sin in her holy place. The richness, and depth of Wilde's writing is magnificent, on a subject matter that I feel is very much relevant in this day and age, as much as it ever was at the time of publication. Fella gave me a hardback of this for Christmas, and it means so much to me that he tracked down a beautiful version of one of my favourite tales. 


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'The Sunne in Splendour' by Sharon Penman - If you've followed this blog or my twitter for a while you will know that I'm pretty keen on Richard III. I had heard a lot about this book, but up until his grave was found this had been out of print for some time. Aside from some ridiculously expensive copies floating around Amazon USA there was nothing until Fella found one and surprised me with it. I was over the moon, and couldn't put it down. I read it cover to cover, and with a slight impending dread towards the end, as we all know what his ultimate fate was. I read it to the point that it started to fall apart, and then the very kind 

Penman wove such a beautiful tale that is believable despite the lack of proven facts. It is quite lengthy, but it is easy to read, and challenges the reader to see another side to Richard, beside the child murdering nephew he has so constantly been branded. I like even more so that it begins in Richard's childhood, and the inclusion of his brother Edmund, who fascinates me as one of the great 'what ifs' from history. What if he hadn't met his fate the way he had? Would it have changed anything? If start with any Ricardian novel - let this be the first one. I assure you, you won't be disappointed. 

I could write for hours and hours about the books that have touched my life, but the above are the main ones I find myself coming back to again and again. I'm creating another post for a later date about my favourite non-fiction books, which I do hope you will also enjoy.

If you enjoyed this post and would like to see more content like this please let me know in the comments below! 

What your favourite books were/are and why? 
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