I have been following some people on YouTube who talk about books (if you are not familiar with BookTube – have a look, it is addictive…) and there are a lot of tag videos out there on a variety of subjects. A tag is a set of questions normally that you answer, usually involving a lot of books. Now, as I don’t have a channel on YouTube (and am not very likely to start one!) I thought I would adapt a few of the tags on the blog instead.
The first on that caught my eye was on Victoria Harris’ channel and it dealt with the books of her life. She has just turned 20 and chose 19 (as the 20th has to be decided this year) books that have defined her years so far. She challenged others to do a response to this by choosing the books of their years so far. This means for me, having just turned 31, I need to choose 30 books that made me.
Victoria kind of matched her books to each year of her life, but I can’t seem to do that so well, so I am going to just list them instead… Here goes, in no particular order my 30 books and why they are so important to me;
1 – The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
I have a sneaky suspicion that this one might be on a lot of peoples lists. I remember this one from very early on in my childhood, and I loved it!
2 – Meg and Mog by Helen Nicoll
Another early childhood favourite – I love Jan Pienkowski’s illustrations, so vibrant and fun. Another firm favourite to be read over and over again.
3 – Mog the Forgetful Cat by Judith Kerr
Apparently I was very fond of cats called Mog as a young child. This one was a firm favourite along with The Tiger who came to Tea. Brilliant.
4 – The Usborne First Thousand Word in French
I loved the Usborne books when I was younger, the illustrations were wonderful (sense a theme here…) and I adored finding all the hidden ducks on the pages.
5 – The Janet and John books
I remember these books from my Grandma’s house, there were only a couple and they were really outdated even then, but they do bring back strong memories of learning to read for myself.
6 – Miffy in the Hospital by Dick Bruna
I got this gorgeous little book when I went into hospital as a child and I fell in love with Miffy instantly. Simple, lovely stories and simple, lovely illustrations. I still have a Miffy lunchbag.
7 – Ginger’s Adventures
Another find at Grandma’s house, this series of books all had the same pattern of rhymes and I remember my Dad reading from two books at the same time so they still rhymed but made no sense. We thought it was hilarious.
8 – A Necklace of Raindrops by Joan Aiken
I have to confess to remembering this one for the illustrations rather than the stories themselves. Another stunner from Jan Pienkowski!
9 – The Folk of the Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton
I still have my mum’s copy of this book, a little tatty now but very well loved. I didn’t realise until really quite recently that this is actually the third book in the series, and now I can’t read the other two as an adult – this one on the other hand I can happily reread.
10 – Where’s Wally by Martin Handford
Yes! Where’s Wally? There he is! I could spend hours looking at those intricate drawings and trying to find all the things listed in the back of the book. I am not sure I ever completed any of the books if I am honest, but it was great fun trying.
11 – Anything by Beatrix Potter
Who doesn’t love a bit of Beatrix Potter? These were a big part of my childhood, I think I may even have been lucky enough to have the whole set. I don’t know where they are anymore which is quite sad.
12 – The Island of Adventure by Enid Blyton
This one was part of a three volume bind up that I had when I was about 9 or 10 I think. I remember taking it on holiday and rereading the three books quite a lot. This book was my favourite of the three though, and I think it may even have been the first in the series!
12 – The Biff, Chip and Kipper books
Learning to read at school in England means the Biff, Chip and Kipper books. Not much more to say about those really, but they brought back so many memories when I saw them in the bookshop I worked at a few years ago – I didn’t know that kids still used them. Brilliant.
14 – The Finn Family Moomintroll by Tove Jansson
Another book that my mum introduced me to as a child. I remember this book (which I no longer own in it’s original guise which is a real shame as it had a much nicer cover than the reprint I have) and the TV series that went along with it. The book was enough to instil a life long love of the Moomins in me. Started a little bit of a collection now…
15 – Matilda by Roald Dahl
My absolute favourite Roald Dahl as a child. I think that most kids have some experience of Dahl during their reading lives, and I really can’t imagine that many of them don’t like him in one way or another!
16 – Charlotte’s Web by E.B.White
Another Grandma special! A lovely, although sad, story – I really much reread this one again soon to reacquaint myself with Wilbur and Charlotte and the others.
17 – The Winnie the Pooh books by A.A.Milne
Need I say more? I could read the Winnie the Pooh stories all the time. These were a huge part of my childhood and I remember both my dad and also Alan Bennett (via cassette of course) reading these books to me over and over again. Very comforting. We still recite certain parts of the books to each other on occasion.
18 – Goodnight Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian
This book was wonderful – I remember reading this when I was about 12 or 13 I think and being absolutely blown away by it. Sad in parts, but ultimately uplifting. I am scared to reread this one in case I don’t find it as amazing as a grown up.
19 – The Harry Potter Series
No words necessary surely?
20 – The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
I read this when I was fairly young – it is a kids book after all – and quite enjoyed it. I enjoyed it far more as an adult though, I read this and The Lord of the Rings just before the films started to come out – I can’t really bring myself to watch a film without reading the book first – and absolutely adored them.
21 – The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R Tolkien
One of my all time favourite books. At one time I reread this book every year, but in recent times I have slipped a bit. I am rectifying that now by journeying into Middle Earth again this year. I am thoroughly enjoying meeting old friends again!
22 – Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
I read this one on the beach in Majorca on my first proper grown up holiday when I left high school. I got quite a lot of stick for reading it actually – I suppose it is not standard beach reading material. I am so glad that I did though, it has stuck with me ever since and reread it numerous times since. A treasured favourite.
23 – Letters from Father Christmas by J.R.R. Tolkien
Love it love it love it. Another book I try and read every year. It is enchanting and I really enjoy it every time I read it.
24 – A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
I sound a bit like a broken record, but this is one I try to read every year. I have loved this story in various forms (from Muppets to the amateur dramatics production I was in when I was about 11) for years, and it is a joy to read it leading up to Christmas.
25 – I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
A recent reread for me as you might know, and it was an instant 5 star read for me. I love the writing and the story and could happily imagine myself living with the Mortmains.
26 – A Year of Mornings by Maria Alexandra Vettese and Stephanie Congdon Barnes
A book that showed me that not all photography needs to be “special” or of something “spectacular” – there are lots of moments and objects in your everyday life that are just as stunning and meaningful as a beautiful sunset or landscape. (It inspired me to write my own online photography course which you can find more information about here if you are interested.)
27 – You Can Buy Happiness and it’s Cheap by Tammy Strobel
This one was a recent find for me, it has added a lot of fuel to my “trying to be a minimalist” fire. It is a slow burning fire I have to say, and there is a lot that I need to learn, but one day I will have a tiny house and feel a bit freer from all this stuff that I don’t actually need!
28 – The Legend of Elizabeth Siddal by Jan Marsh
This book was so important to me at University – I wrote my dissertation on Lizzie Siddal and absolutely fell in love with The Pre Raphalites. Even writing that sentence has made me want to dig out all my Pre Raphaelite books and get stuck into them all again.
29 – The Story of Art by E.H. Gombrich
Another very important book to me. I was struggling at Uni with my original Psychology and English degree choice, and this chance purchase made me realise that there might be more options for me. So I swapped courses just after starting my third year at Uni (Nuts? Maybe. Did it make me happy? Yes!) and started to study The History of Art and Design instead.
30 – The Principles of Druidry by Emma Restall Orr
I was recommended this book by my piano teacher when I was about 16 years old. I have always been interested in alternative ways of life for want of a better phrase and this one was the beginning for me of finding out more.
What books have made you? I would love to read or watch your take on this one!