In the absence of any wisdom to share with 25,000 of you, I’m instead going to blab about some books.
Books are my passion and my job and a thing that I spend a lot of every day thinking about. I love creating stories and I love to be told them, too – so thank you, email-writing folk of the Listserve, for already sharing so many stories with the rest of us.
I thought I’d tell you about 5 of my favourite books from the different bits of my life so far.
As a baby: ‘The Little Red Car’, by Rosalinda Kightley:
I’ve been informed by reliable sources (parents) that, in my earliest years, I was deeply attached to this book. Apparently I handled it, chewed it and flung it around until the cover peeled into two. It’s no longer in print, but I’d love to get hold of a copy to try and work out what on earth was so good about it.
As a child: ‘After the Storm’, by Nick Butterworth:
A storm damages an old oak tree in the middle of a park, leaving some animals homeless. So, the park keeper and his animal friends work together to build a cool, new tree house. I’d like to say I loved this story because it championed teamwork and positivity, but I think it was more because it had a giant fold-out tree house poster at the back.
Growing up: The Harry Potter series, by JK Rowling (seven books, not one, thus ruining my nice, neat email title):
I was always the same age as Harry when each of these books were published, so I did grow up with them, really. They showed me that the right story could be magic for everyone, even people who weren’t usually into reading. I queued at midnight to get a copy of the seventh book, which came out seven days before my seventeenth birthday. I’ve never really outgrown liking Harry Potter (and, happily, don’t think I ever will).
As a student: ‘Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close’, by Jonathan Safran Foer
I bought this book in a charity shop for 50p. It has a strange tone and crazy typography, and I couldn’t stop thinking about it for weeks after I’d read it. It was the first book I ever really wanted to pick apart, so I wrote a dissertation on it as part of my degree. It’s a story that helped me understand disaster and loss, in a more beautiful and complicated way than I thought a story could.
Lately: ‘The Fault in Our Stars’, by John Green
There’s a lot of hype around this book at the moment, but I’ll never forget how I felt the first time I read it in 2012. It made me laugh and cry, on and off, like my heart was crumbling to bits. It led me to the Nerdfighter and Booktube communities (look them both up!). It brought me back to reading after I’d finished my degree and completely fallen out of love with books – for this I’m forever in its debt.
If you’re still reading, I’d love to hear from you! Tell me about 5 books from your life; tell me about your favourite book and why you like it so much. Say hi on Twitter, too – I’m @editorgabriella.
It’s been lovely writing to you; take care of yourselves, and be happy.