My soul in ten books.
This week’s theme for Top Ten Tuesday is ‘series I’ve been meaning to start but haven’t’. Having written about books left on my shelves a fortnight ago, I decided to turn the theme on its head, and write about books I have revisited so often, their pages have crumbled to tissue. You may have realised, I initially skim-read, and thought the them was ‘books I have been meaning to start’. Huge apologies … except, I loved putting this list together.
Initially, I decided to set a criteria that I must first have read the book in childhood. For the purpose of the post, ‘childhood’ meant under 18. This wasn’t such a challenge. At 27, that included 2/3 of my life. It didn’t merit cutting out the other third. I lowered the bar to eleven, and something interesting happened.
I answered the question in a heartbeat. My bookish soul emerged. If my house turned to pixie dust overnight, these are the books I would buy the next morning.
Given the extent of their readership, I discounted Harry Potter, Narnia and His Dark Materials. A hundred similar lists include all three, and it gets repetitive. Many of these authors are as well known as Rowling, but you didn’t know I would include these books before you started reading.
These are books I own in multiple editions. Books I have paid out of my nose for in a beautiful binding. Books I have traipsed across town to buy. Instead of giving you micro-reviews, I will tell you about these gestures of love.
1.) Song for a Dark Queen by Rosemary Sutcliff – kept tabs on the copy in the local library for a childhood, hoping I would find it in a clear out. Traipsed across London in my early 20s to acquire.
2.) The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson-Burrnett – chose special edition, illustarted by Lauren Child.
3.) Carbonel by Barbara Sleigh – ‘Til three Queens save a princely cat‘. Own multiple editions. Paid silly money for a first edition on my 18th birthday. This gesture was supposed to mark the start of adulthood, and new found finances to collect rare books …
4.) Charm School by Anne Fine – shared with children’s book group when I worked as a bookseller. They loved it as much I do.
5.) Lady Daisy by Dick King-Smith – aside from thumbing on a near-annual basis, I have not made any gestures of love towards this old favourite. As a child, it sent me into a porcelain doll phase. These dolls were disappointing. None of them came to life.
6.) Charlotte Sometimes – do not believe anybody who tells you there are two endings. The ending seems to vary with every edition.
7.) The Mousehole Cat by Antonia Barber and Nicola Bayley – formed a presentation around this for an interview.
8.) The Naming of William Rutherford by Linda Kempton – a small publisher did a reprint, but changed the dates in the book. This was apparently to be ‘with the times’, but it did not fit. Families in the noughties were less likely to eat breakfast over a newspaper, and there was no explanation as to why Tom didn’t find the crucial piece of information on Google. I found an older copy in Hay-on-Wye.
9.) Skellig by David Almond – in September 2016, I did a three day writing course with David Almond. On the last afternoon, he signed my books. Meeting an author helps you connect with their work in a whole new way.
10.) The Fantastic Flying Journey by Gerald Durrell – began by childhood tradition of buying the class book, because I could not wait to find out what happened next. Last year, I found an older copy in a charity shop. I couldn’t leave it.
Have you read any of these books? Tell me about ridiculous and beautiful gestures you have made towards your favourite books!
If you would like to know more about these books, check back on Friday. This post has inspired me to start a Flashback Friday series.