Your First Memory of Books

My first prominent memory of books and reading comes from my grandmother.

My grandmother was harsh, stern and silent from my memories (she passed away when I was 12), but in her home there was always a locked glass cabinet of books. All of them is various stages of disrepair. I remember always looking at the books, wondering what they were about.

I remember once getting brave enough to ask to read one, and she produced a key seemingly from nowhere, and unlocked it. I wasn’t given a choice, but I was given a book.

I really struggled with it. I wasn’t very old, and the words were foreign and in small writing. I’d never read a book in English before, not on my own. My schooling was all through the medium of Welsh, and thus, all the books I’d ever learnt to read were in Welsh. I’d never encountered an English book on my own before.

Sitting there, I found it really hard, but I remember loving the feel of the pages, turning the pages. But, it had sparked something. I needed to know more.

She never read those books to me, and I struggled to form the sounds of the words in my head as I read them. English words are a lot different to Welsh words, and the letters sound different.

I haven’t seen those books in a long time, and I don’t even remember what they were called. I remember the bright red and yellow covers, I remember the sellotape holding some of them together. But, they were my grandmother’s prized books, and I remember being so excited to get to finally read them.

There are two people in my life who I can thank for my love of literature, and my desire to study literature. The first would be my grandmother, for allowing me to read those books, or at least attempt, and then for her unwavering loyalty to my growing hunger for the page. I remember she used to collect stamps from the paper and get books from stamps just for me.

The second would be my English teacher in comprehensive school. Her passion and enthusiasm for the written word and the joys fo understanding the words presented in front of you inspired me to try and understand literature in the same way.

I have a lot to be grateful for, and I owe these two people a lot for who I am today.

What’s your first memory of books? Let me know!

What Book Are You Reading?

We have a choice of three books for this months book club, and which did you choose?

If you aren’t sure of the choices just yet, you can find them here:

  1. House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski
  2. People Who Eat Darkness by Richard Lloyd Parry
  3. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

I’ve decided to read House of Leaves which is quite the hefty book. It’s also a little confusing to read. Which way have you decided to read it? The footnotes in some sections are really long, so I’m reading them all as they come, but then the main text is also important, and it’s getting my mind in a boggle.

Let me know what you think so far!

Are there any other scary reads you plan on reading this month? Let me know!

It’s October First! Let’s Get Reading

Happy 1st of October, everyone!

If you aren’t sure of what we’re reading this month, and want to know your choices, look no further!

Our reading this month includes:

  1. House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski
  2. People Who Eat Darkness by Richard Lloyd Parry
  3. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

I hope everyone enjoys, and let’s see what they have on offer!

[Book Club] October Reading!

As this is the first month of the Long Readers Book Club after our short hiatus, I’m giving something new a try.

I figured halfway through my time off that perhaps setting one book is perhaps too constricting, so this month, we’re trialling a new format.

I’ve gathered a list of three books, from which you can decide which book you would like to read for the month of October for the book club.

Since October is the month that houses Halloween, I’ve gathered some books that seem scary for us to read!

You can find the list below!

  1. House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski
  2. People Who Eat Darkness by Richard Lloyd Parry
  3. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

I hope these books cover a taste for everyone, and I hope everyone enjoys reading them!

Why Would You Ban a Book?

As Banned Books Week continues, it’s given me a chance to think about why you would ban a book.

Reading has multiple purposes and it’s purposes vary between the reader.

For me, reading is about learning and relaxing. Reading gives me pleasure and entertainment. For some it is a chore.

But what makes someone think that a book is outrages?

What makes The Perks of Being a Wallflower bad? What makes Harry Potter bad?

I’ve thought about it a lot over the last week, and I can’t figure it out. A lot of the books that appears on the lists of the most challenged books in the US are ones that I clung to growing up. The topics in The Perks of Being A Wallflower are admittedly heavy, but for some they are necessary. Yes, there is drug use and memories of child molestation, but it is also a book about acceptance, and learning that you don’t need to fit into society.

It’s boggles me how anyone would want to stifle literature in such a way that someone would not be able to access them?

If you have any thoughts on this let me know! I think weeks like this inspire discussion on censorship and the way we handle the content of literature, and something that definitely needs to be discussed.

[Book Review] And The Ocean Was Our Sky by Patrick Ness

And The Ocean Was Our Sky is a novel by Patrick Ness with illustrations by Rovina Cai and tells the tale of Bathsheba as her and her hunting pod hunt down the devil himself, Toby Wick.

The novel itself is an interesting insight into the mind of a whale as they travel throughout the ocean, and how they view the humans. On a deeper level, this novel discusses the ideas of life, humans and purpose.

Giving oneself purpose is a theme that runs throughout the novel, and how our actions define us. From believing in prophecies, to how we conduct ourselves. Bathsheba and Demitrius consistently question each other on their moral standpoint, one from a whale, and one from a human. It’s deeper meaning of understanding the people and things that you do not understand shines through, and how getting to know someone will help you to understand the other person. It is a necessary topic in the current world that we live in.

Our main character is Bathsheba, and Bathsheba is a complicated one. One destined for the life of a hunter, but is one that questions the idea of being a hunter, and what makes someone a devil, or evil.

Patrick Ness has always had a way with words, and whilst I did enjoy this novel, I personally didn’t enjoy it as much as his others. It is still a great read regardless.

Banned Books Week!

The 23rd to the 29th of October is Banned Books Week!

This is an important week of the year for literature, as it’s a week that celebrates books that have been challenged, either for their authors or their content.

Banned Books Week is an initiative started by the American Library Association and Amnesty International, and highlights the books challenged or removed from libraries and school libraries. Some of them are pretty absurd. Books challenged for LGBT characters, books banned for their drug use, magic, etc.

Is there a book on the list below that you’ve read and loved, but is challenged?

Take a look here and let me know!