Thursday, March 02, 2006

Happy World Book Day!

Also in addition to music, today should be devoted to books, what with it being World Book Day and all. So I've been asked what my favorite book ever is. This is a tough decision as my taste when I was a child (or younger at least) was much different to today. So rather than a favorite book period, I think that there are favorite books for different periods of my life.

One would be Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Recently I seem to have seen the new film quite a bit, but that is nothing compared to the number of times that I've read the book. The first time was when I was in infant school and my teacher, Miss Harris, decided that I should probably push my reading ability and lead me into the staff room to take a look at the selection she had brought over from the junior school. Among them was Charlie boy, and I was immediately drawn by the fantastic yet mystical purple and green cover (covers of books have always appealed to me just as much as the contents, that's how I discover new authors, on the looks alone). I took it home ad read it in over the weekend, absorbed by the images that the words created in my head. For a 6 year old, this was a big book, and I may not have understood the hidden messages contained within the pages, but I did enjoy it. When I eventually arrived at the junior school, I sought out the book again, and when reaching home with it in my book bag, was greeted with groans from parental unit XX who once again had to listen to it all over again. This process was repeated about 5 times over the next 4 years, and it is still a book that I look for when I want to remember a more innocent time.

My time at Grays Convent is marked by 2 great literary discoveries. One of these can be attributed to a certain female English teacher who made a comment about stout to Elyse and I. We had this teacher in year 9 and she further instilled a great appreciation for literature in me. I can remember that we used to have reading periods in the library once a week, and they were one of the best bits about English, when I could read what I wanted to read. During one such period I forgot to bring my book from home (it was probably a Discworld novel of some kind) and so had to run to the nearest bookcase and grab something to make it look like I had previously finished my current read and was merely looking for something for the lesson. The nearest case to the door was the 'H' case and the first novel I found was 'Tess of the D'Urbervilles' by that great man, Thomas Hardy. I was reading the first chapter and it wasn't really grabbing my interest, it was merely a stop-gap for that particular lesson. That was until I reached the end of the first chapter. If you've read it you'll know what I mean. Anyway that particular part is rather confusing when you first read it, and this must have been displayed on my face as the teacher in question came over and grabbed the book to see what I was reading. Presently she began to explain how Hardy is her favorite author ever and that she was glad I was reading such a book. To keep in her good books, I carried on reading it and greatly enjoyed it. Cue much hidden conversations between Elyse and myself between the stacks as she began reading the wonderful book as well, just to compare notes and make sure we did actually understand what was happening!

Another great Convent find, and probably my favorite book ever has to be 'Wild Swans' by Jung Chang. It was a random book find while on librarian duty (yes I was a librarian at school). It is a beautifully crafted book, but it isn't a story. It is in fact an autobiography of 3 generations of women growing up in China under the various regimes that have occupied it since the 19th Century. It is a book that I urge all women to read, it will teach you a lot about what it is to be part of the XX race.

At college my love for reading was hampered by the enormous workload I had (no where near as much as uni is though). But this didn't kill my love of literature and I started to read more for pure entertainment rather than pleasure. This is where I discovered Dave Gorman. The man is crazy, he decides to travel round the world to find people that have the same name as him for a bet that gives him nothing. This then inspires the great novel 'Are you Dave Gorman?' and other such adventures.

Now I'm at uni, my life revolves around textbooks and not much else. However I am attempting to work my way through the top 200 books, and already being about a quarter of the way through is kind of impressive without really trying. So everyone go out and try to read something today!

posted by Em @ 4:09:00 pm


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