B is for Books!
Ahh, books! Who doesn't love the crisp sound of a turning page, or the musty smell of a well-read favourite? I am a bit of a series lover, myself. One book is never enough, and even at the end of a series I still find myself feeling empty with the loss of cherished characters. When I am reading a good book, it is all-consuming. The story and the characters trickle into every aspect of my life, feeding my over-active imagination with pictures which, over time grow to include my own image in them. Anyone else do that? Find yourself dreaming that you are in the book you were reading before you fell asleep, glasses still on, drooling on the page? I must admit, I even day dream about the fantasy worlds I am reading! Shocker!
Anyway, here are a few of my favourites, in absolutely no order whatsoever (that would be comparable to picking a favourite child! Or chocolate flavour! Unspeakable!):
Ahh, my sweet, sweet babies! Betcha didn't see that one coming, eh? There's no way you could tell from my Harry Potter related crafts that I am obsessed! Honestly though, I think these are the stand-out books of my generation. In writing these books, J. K. Rowling (that clever, clever woman) united the world! People old and young alike have read and enjoyed these books and watched the subsequent movies countless times. I know I have read them something crazy like 5 times and am planning on reading them again this winter, curled up on the couch with my Harry Potter mug full of steaming hot chocolate. Plus, not a week goes by that one of the movies isn't played in my house, and quoted line for line! I don't know what it is about this magical world which J. K. Rowling created, but I just cannot get enough of it! She is brilliant and so are the books. And if you haven't read them, what are you even doing on my blog?
I know it's a stretch away from Harry Potter, but honestly - I am head over heels in love with this book! I first picked it up in year 11 to use as an extra text in Extension English. I wasn't expecting much - it was just a dusty, old book on the list of recommended readings, after all! But I have since read it three times and still would read it again! This is by no means an easy book to read (in fact, you'll probably have to read it twice to understand it) but once you get used to the language, it is clear that Emily Bronte is a literary genius! I can't even describe the way that Wuthering Heights makes me feel - all I know is that it is the most intense, passionate and enthralling love story I have ever read! I often think about a few of the quotes in it, "I cannot live without my life, I cannot live without my soul" “If all else perished, and he remained, I should still continue to be; and if all else remained, and he were annihilated, the universe would turn to a mighty stranger.” “He's more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.” and think, wow - did Emily Bronte jump into my brain and pick out exactly how I feel about Jake and put it on paper? The intensity of Cathy's love for Heathcliff, and Heathcliff's for Cathy is something I know all to well, being the hyper-emotional person that I am, and that, I think, is what so lures me into this story.
The Da Vinci Code
This might be a bit of a controversial book to put on here, or maybe even an eye-roller, but this book literally changed my life. You see, I went to a Catholic primary school where I was basically brain-washed into thinking that Catholicism was the only religion there was and hat all atheists would go to hell when they died and burn in a pool of hot lava for all of eternity. Not a very great concept for a kid to be fed day-in-day-out in the peak of their mental development. A friend of mine, when we were in year 6, gave me this book to read and immediately my eyes were opened! Not only did I love the story in the book, I loved the idea of other religions and of atheists not actually being horrible, demonic people, and of Christianity actually being a religion which borrows all its bits and pieces from other religions. It lead me to research different religions a little more thoroughly and make my own decisions on my beliefs. Decisions which have changed slightly over time, to bring me to the position I am currently in as far as "the big questions" are concerned. Many people aren't into ths book, I know, but I am and it has led to some great things happening in my life.
Cloudstreet is one of the best Aussie books ever. It follows the lives of two families, the Lambs and the Pickles, who share a great big house. These two families could not be more different, but the ways in which Tim Winton weaves their lives together are absolutely awe-inspiring. Set in the time of Robert Menzies' Prime Ministership in Australia, Cloudstreet gives a voice to the minority groups in Australia. This book, while possessing a deeper meaning, retains an entirely raw entertainment quality which is greatly appreciated by the reader. I would recommend this book to anyone, but think that it would especially strike a chord with fellow Australians.
The Millenium Trilogy
This is another series by a literary genius who sadly passed away long before his time. If you like a good mystery/thriller, then I strongly recommend that you read these books. They will not disappoint! I also strongly recommend that you do not watch the American version of the film under any circumstances. It is terrible. Absolutely terrible! I have the Swedish versions here ready to watch (I gave them to dad for Christmas. Gotta love a present which everyone can enjoy!) but I haven't gotten around to it yet. Promise I'll give you all the verdict when I do though! Oh, and another thing - if you are sensitive to issues such as domestic abuse and rape, you will want to pass on this one. It is quite graphically detailed and not at all for the feint-hearted! If you can deal with that stuff though, read them1 You'll thank me for it!
And since this post is going way too long, honourable mentions to John Marsden's The Tomorrow Series and The Ellie Chronicles, which are great Aussie books about a group of teenagers trying to survive in the Aussie bush after Australia has been invaded, to Anne McCaffrey's Dragons of Pern Series, and to Jean M. Auel's Eath's Children series which al history-lovers would enjoy immensely! As well as any other people who love a good story!