In the second in a series of guest posts about the three most influential books on your life, Emma Taylor blogs on about how Penguin, rebellious foxes, and a graphic novel has shaped her reading life.
Ever since I can remember there have been books. What I mean to say is, I grew up surrounded by books. Cupboards and shelves around the house bursting with titles, collections of my Mum’s psychedelically patterned Penguin reads looking as much like an art collection as anything else, bedtime stories being read aloud to me and then that joy of sneaking a torch out from under my pillow and continuing, with that weeks written adventure, on my own.
So it’s fair to say books have been by my side through my best of times and my worst of times (see what I did there?). They are my constant companion, shaping my attitude to a day just with their punctuation. Clever little sods.So when I was asked by Sarah to choose The Three Books That Shaped My Life I had to make sure my selection was a careful one . . .
This was by far and away by favourite childhood book. I loved the adventure, the rebellious quality and all that talk of geese and stolen cider after hours just made me long for a midnight feast. Reading Fantastic Mr Fox was my gateway into reading for escapism. Armed with my torch, I would sit up for hours forgetting the worries of the day. To be honest this probably explains my great love of cider, although oddly has no bearing as to why I ended up as @OandtheFoxes on Twitter.
No. 2 – Behind The Scenes at the Museum by Kate Atkinson.
I studied this gem for my English lit A-Level, and even discounting the many times I read it across those two years, it’s my most visited story. It tells the tale of Ruby Lennox from conception to adult life, wonderfully weaving in vignettes of her family tree. You jump through time, with the help of footnotes, on each occasion after our ‘present day’ narrator comes into contact with a seemingly random object. So the discovery of a button by our protagonist, transports us the reader back to its original owner and the significance it holds. It’s a joy of a book.
No. 3 – The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Vol.1 by Alan Moore.
Now although this isn’t on my personal Top Ten Reads of All Time, it does mark a significant milestone in my life as a reader. Reading the first League volume was a gateway for me, it introduced me to a new way of story telling. Actually perhaps introduced is the wrong way of describing it, because it’s not as though I didn’t already have any comics. It’s just this one has a special way about it. It’s political, funny, it nods to classic literary figures and it’s rude. I mean what more can you want? Moore and illustrator Kevin O’Neill hide little visual jokes amongst the pages too, it feels like a right of passage when you find them too. As though by finding them you’re ‘in’.
Have you read the books described by Emma? What three books have influenced your life?