Opening Credits: Favourite childhood book
So, I was a pretty bookish child. My husband likes to make fun of me for the fact that I basically never went outside as a kid and all my childhood memories start with “this one time, at the library…” It has to be Matilda. Until quite recently, I thought I was probably going to develop telekinetic powers too so we could be exactly the same. I have (almost) got over this now.
Waking Up: A book that got you out of a reading slump
After I finished my English literature degree, I wasn’t reading as much as I should have been (especially when you consider that I was actually studying for my Masters degree at that point. Whoops.). I received a book called Passion is a Fashion for Christmas that year; it’s an anthology of non-fiction writing about The Clash, and that got me into the music journalist Lester Bangs, and then my life changed forever.
School: A book you had to read for school that you ended up loving
I’d say The Handmaid’s Tale for this but that will probably be my answer to everything, so I’ll mix it up and say Persuasion by Jane Austen. When I was in sixth form (so 17-18 years old), we had a brilliant teacher called Dr Woodman, who introduced us all to feminism and the radical concept of reading books by women. She had us read all 6 of Austen’s novels and Persuasion has remained my favourite ever since. I try to reread it every couple of years and it never gets old.
Falling In Love: An author you love so much you want to read all of their books
I developed a pretty serious Thomas Hardy obsession last year and read all his major novels: Tess, Jude, Far from the Madding Crowd, Two on a Tower, Return of the Native and The Mayor of Casterbridge. This year I’ve read Under the Greenwood Tree already, and I hope to get to the novels I haven’t read soon, partly for the 2016 Classics Challenge and partly so if I am ever haunted by Hardy’s ghost (you have to dream), we can converse about his tropes and imagery.
Fight: A book with the best action sequences
Illuminae! The action in this book is amazing and it is IN SPACE, which is obviously a winner; the way I felt reading it was very similar to how I felt watching Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which is basically the best compliment I can pay the book.
Break Up: A book or series you didn’t finish and do not intend to finish
Ahh. So many. I read the first two in the Divergent series and can’t be bothered to read the last one. I tried reading the last Maze Runner book and realised I actually didn’t care what happened. I can’t read Monsters of Men because I read the first two in the Chaos Walking series when I was pregnant so the very thought of them makes me ill. I have serious series commitment problems.
Hanging with Friends: Book you think everyone else should read
I have convinced several people to read Ready Player One by Ernest Cline and they’ve all enjoyed it, so I’ll stick with that.
Breakdown: A book that seriously affected you/had you crying your eyes out
My husband came home once to find me in hysterics on the sofa. I couldn’t speak and was basically hyperventilating. He assumed someone had died. They had. But it was a fictional character so he lost sympathy pretty quickly. Thanks for that, Goodnight Mister Tom.
Road Trip: Your favourite series (more than 3 books)
More than 3? I am ignoring that part of the question. Of completed series, I love the Southern Reach trilogy by Jeff Vandermeer. It is weird and unsettling and stays in your brain long after reading. I also retain immense love for The Hunger Games.
Getting back together: What book can you not stop rereading?
The Handmaid’s Tale. I read it all the time and every time I do, something different occurs to me. The last time, I was deeply traumatised by the passages about Offred’s daughter; having a little girl myself, this book now upsets me on whole new levels.
Wedding: A book that is really special to you
Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby. When I first started going to watch football with my dad, he gave me a copy and said “if you’re going to be a proper fan, you need to read this book.” He was right.
Moment of Triumph: The longest book you’ve ever read
Les Miserables (1200 pages). In two days. I was younger then. I also once read a 1000 page long book about the Spanish Civil War. Seriously, I was crazy before I grew up.
Death Scene: Book or series you wish had ended differently
Anything written by Donna Tartt. All her books are really good until the end, when she clearly gets bored or drunk or lets a bored, drunk toddler finish up.
Funeral: A book with the best or worst epilogue
THE HANDMAID’S TALE! It has an epilogue which is simultaneously brilliant and awful. The Historical Notes are so annoying and offensive, but that’s the whole point. Honestly, Margaret Atwood is so smart.
This was fun. I love bookish reminiscences. Leave a link below if you do this too. I am generally terrible at showing an interest in other people’s lives but, when it comes to books, I am all ears.