A while ago, Bee of Vivatramp posted a Britney Spears book tag, and I thought I’d give it a go, because books + Britney = ❤
If you’d like to do it, consider yourself tagged!
Mickey Mouse Club
I honestly can’t remember a time when I didn’t read. I was lucky enough to have a mother who taught me to read when I was very young, so by the time I got to school I was already reading full books. I have no idea what initially sparked my love of reading, but Red Sky in the Morning by Elizabeth Laird was a book I read over and over again as a child.
It’s the story of a young girl called Anna, who is very excited about the upcoming birth of her little brother Ben. When he’s born, however, he has hydrocephalus. Anna loves him unconditionally but is worried about what other people will think. Gradually she introduces Ben to her friends, and discovers that they too can see what a wonderful person he is. Towards the end of the book, Ben dies and Anna is distraught. I always liked a realistically morbid storyline.
Oops, I Read It Again!
There are various books I revisit from time to time, but one of the ones I’ve read so many times I’ve lost count is Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli.
Stargirl is an unusual teenager in Arizona who moves to a new school, bringing with her a magic that no one can really resist. You’d think she’d be bullied by the other students, but in fact they embrace her pure eccentricity and she quickly becomes a feature of the school.
Born Susan Caraway, she’s changed her name several times and does pretty much whatever she wants. Plays the ukulele in the lunch hall, brings her pet rat Cinnamon to school, decorates her desk with flowers, and wanders into the desert in the evening to sit and contemplate life.
But of course, people will only tolerate difference for so long, and eventually Stargirl starts to encounter the less accepting side of her new school. Will she stay true to herself, or will she change her ways to fit in with the status quo?
I guess you could say I related to her a little bit. 😉 I also have the cover tattooed on the back of my neck.
I nearly didn’t read Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller because the cover looks really similar to A Year of Marvellous Ways by Sarah Winman (and also rhymes with the title), so I thought I’d already read it.
However, I’m glad I realised I hadn’t read it and therefore spent some time curled up with it one Saturday afternoon, even if it is creepy af.
It follows the story of eight-year-old Peggy, whose father is a survivalist. He takes her to live in a forest in the remote mountains of Germany, and tells her the rest of the world has been destroyed.
The book describes their lives together over the course of several years, as well as Peggy’s budding friendship with a mysterious boy she meets in the woods one day.
It gets dark. Very dark. But it’s good.
The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot.
Sure, you’ve probably heard of it, but it almost never turns up in lists of the best classic fiction. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, Sense and Sensibility, Jekyll & Hyde, Sherlock Holmes, and of course any old bumph by Dickens all get yelled from every rooftop. Christmas film adaptations abound. There are many copies in every library and bookshop.
But The Mill on the Floss sort of gets left behind, and that makes me sad, because it’s my favourite classic novel.
I like it because I think it’s quite Kierkegaardian, and because I related to Maggie when I first read it. And also because I enjoy a story that has a punchy realism, which The Mill on the Floss manages.
I wasn’t sure what to pick for this one. A book so bad I couldn’t believe it’d been added to my university syllabus (Warranted Christian Belief by Alvin Plantinga) ? A book so bad I couldn’t believe it’d been published, let alone won various awards (Love That Dog by Sharon Creech) ?
But I decided in the end to take the question quite literally. A book I can’t get over; a book that’s pervaded into the corners of my mind because it was beaten into me over time. A book whose passages I once knew so well I could recite many of them verbatim, even though I disagreed with a huge chunk of them. A book that was repeatedly forced on me until I finally managed to break free; one that kept me stuck in a way of life I hated until eventually I managed to drag myself away.
That’s right, people, I’m talking about the Bible. Specifically, the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures, aka the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ special translation that only they use.
Really I could have chosen any of the JWs’ books (and trust me, there are many), and weirdly perhaps the one I haven’t gotten over the most is the song book they use at their meetings, because even nowadays I can suddenly find an earworm in my head that I used to have to sing as a child.
I’m not sure this is quite what the question meant, but there’s nothing like needing years of therapy to define something you can’t get over…
I’ve already mentioned it in this post, but not as one of the main books so that’s fine.
When I received a review copy of A Year of Marvellous Ways by Sarah Winman, I was intrigued by the cover. I think they changed it before public release, or maybe I had a special edition or something, but I thought it was great.
Marvellous Ways is a woman who lives in the woods. She’s intriguing, eccentric and incredibly alone. One day a soldier walks through the forest and ends up at her hut, and the book is the story of the two of them becoming friends.
However, it’s not so much the story itself that carries the book along as Winman’s captivating writing style.
When I was eighteen, I discovered a second-hand bookshop near my flat. It was wonderful: curving staircase down to the basement level, a huge philosophy section, a space just behind the shelves where you could sit on the floor for hours and not be noticed.
One of the books I picked up there was an old edition of The Meaning of Relativity by Einstein. I took it home and started reading, and then I was hooked. At that time, I was using the closet at the end of the flat as my office; all my clothes were piled in the back or hung up on the rail behind me, and a little coffee table was wedged into the opening as a kind of makeshift desk. I perched on a stool in front of the desk and started reading.
At about 2am I decided to go upstairs and have a bath. The basement-dwellers had our own shared shower room and we weren’t really supposed to use the upstairs baths, but no one ever seemed to care if I bathed between 2 and 4 in the morning.
I took the book upstairs with me and carried on reading, because I couldn’t put it down. When I walked downstairs an hour or so later, my nose was still firmly wedged between the pages. I sat back down by the desk, and at about 3.30 I excitedly phoned my friend Ross to tell him some of the thoughts I’d had about the book. He wasn’t massively happy to be woken up.
My love of physics had already been sparked by John Gribbin’s In Search of Schroedinger’s Cat, but reading Einstein himself only increased my desire to know more about this branch of science.
Ohhh there are so many. Sue Grafton’s alphabet series, which influenced my decision to become a private investigator. How To Think Like Leonardo Da Vinci by Michael J. Gelb. Shadows of the Mind by Roger Penrose.
But I think the one I have to choose is Fear and Trembling by Soren Kierkegaard, because it shaped so much of my life.
I first read it when I was seventeen and heading to university. It influenced my decision to study philosophy, and backed up my desire to remain true to myself in the face of obstacles that were trying to prevent that. It made me realise philosophers were people too, and helped me to reinterpret things I’d known about all my life but had only ever thought of in a specific light.
I revisit it from time to time and I always love it.
So, there you have it: the Britney Spears book tag. There are more tags on the original one, which you can find here, but I couldn’t think of things for several of them.
If you do it, come comment so I can see what you chose!