Welcome to a new weekly feature called 'Chapters In My Life'. Over the next few months, I'm going to be asking guest bloggers to choose 5 books which have been influential, in both their working and personal lives. There are some wonderful guest bloggers lined up to participate in this new series but for starters, it's my turn to tell you about my 5 chosen books.
Before undertaking this, I thought that I would be easy to choose 5 books. However there are so many that I could have chosen from, that it was nearly impossible! Here are the 5 books that have made it into the 'Chapters in My Life':
'Winnie The Pooh' by A.A Milne
My first choice 'Winnie The Pooh', was the first book I ever owned at about the age of 3 or 4 years old. This book introduced me to the world of books and imagination. Even though I was unable to read at the time, I would spend hours looking at the illustrations.
The copy I owned was hard back, covered in a rough orange material and had a gold embossed illustration of Winnie the Pooh, Piglet and Christopher Robin on the front. Inside, was a detailed map of where Winnie The Pooh and his friends had their adventures. The story was so vivid, that I remember playing 'Pooh Sticks' on a bridge my mum and I had to cross, to get to my hospital appointments. I will always remember 'Winnie the Pooh' fondly, because it helped me to bring adventure into my life, even when it was not physically possible for me, in the real world.
'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' by Roald Dahl.
In my opinion, Roald Dahl is one of the greatest children's writers ever. I was first introduced to Dahl's novels when I was about 6 or 7 years old, during reading practise at school. After reading all of the 'Janet and John' type books, we were allowed to choose other titles in the library to read from.
Once I had started with 'Charlie and The Chocolate Factory' I was hooked and read every Roald Dahl book I could lay my hands on. However I loved 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' so much, I had my own copy at home. When I was supposed to be sleeping, I would read the book from cover to cover in the moonlight and then once I had finished, would start all over again. I would never get bored of this book. As I reached my teens I passed the book on to my niece, who loved it as much as I did. I think that every child should have the opportunity to read 'Charlie and The Chocolate Factory' and any other of Dahl's fantastical children's books, because they are not condescending and transport children into wild and wacky adventures.
The 'Point Horror' series.
When I reached about the age of 12 or 13, I became addicted to any book that was dark and scary. The 'Point' series of books were divided into many different genres (Point Crime, Point Romance etc...), but I mainly read the horror collection of novels. They were quite silly books, mainly revolving around cheerleaders and babysitters, but I devoured all of them. I suppose they were the 90's equivalent of the 'Twilight Saga'. I think what makes this type of literature popular with teenagers (mainly girls), is that they don't just deal with the mysterious, but also they subtly deal with issues such as growing up etc.
'Misery' By Stephen King
From my 'Point Horror' phase, I progressed to reading Stephen King novels. This was the time when I began to write more and also to deconstruct novels, to find out how they were written. I still particularly like Stephen King's 'Misery' because not only it is a brilliant read, but also King gives an insight into how a writer goes about creating characters and stories. Being an apiring writer myself, I can relate to the character because his thoughts processes when writing, are the same as mine.
'Emotionally Weird' by Kate Atkinson
'Emotionally Weird' was given to me by a friend, to take on holiday. I had never heard of Kate Atkinson before, but thought that I would give it a go. What I discovered, was a wonderful writer who can combine suspense, humour and a multi stranded story that did not confuse, but made me want to read more.
From this first novel I have read many Kate Atkinson's novels and I love the 'Jackson Brodie' series the most. Not being a fan of traditional crime fiction writers for example Agatha Christie, the Jackson Brodie novels are easily accessible and concentrate on human nature, as well as being a 'whodunnit'.
Kate Atkinson's ability to manipulate a complex plot, with realistic, likeable characters is something I aspire to, as a writer.
Well these are my choices. Come back next Saturday for another 'Chapters In My Life'.