It will probably come as no surprise to learn that the Harry Potter books are probably my all time favourites (I think I’ve mentioned it several times on here). And I love completing tag posts, so when I saw this particular tag floating around – I think it originated on YouTube – I absolutely had to complete it.
1. Expecto Patronum: A childhood book connected to good memories.
There are countless books that could fill this space (I wrote a blog post on my Childhood Favourites here), but one that brings about some great memories (That I haven’t already mentioned) would probably be The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, by CS Lewis. I remember getting this book from my primary school library, and sitting on my bedroom floor by the radiator until midnight because I HAD to finish it, but if my mom caught me up at that time I’d be in so much trouble.
I also remember reading Alice in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll around this time, and enjoyed it so much I begged my Mom to buy it for me. She brought me a hard-backed illustrated version which I still have to this day.
2. Expelliarmus: A book that took you by surprise.
Life of Pi, by Yann Matell. I found the first 100 or so pages a little slow to get into; still good, but it wasn’t as I expected it to be. Once Part 2 started, and main character Pi describes the storm that destroyed his ship and killed his family, I was completely hooked. Martel uses such richness in his vocabulary choices to describe Pi’s life aboard the boat and his adventures, I could not put this books down.
And the ending completely knocked me for six. I had to go back to the beginning of Part 2, in order to reread it all again and see for myself what Pi had confessed at the end (I won’t give away any spoilers in case you want to read it), but I was absolutely FLATTENED by the real event revealed in Part 3. I completely did not see the ending coming, and to this day it remains one of the best endings I’ve ever read in my life.
3. Priori Incantato: The last book you read.
I used to read around 100 books a year, not even joking. Anyone with small children knows that this just isn’t possible, and as a result the amount of books I’ve read recently had significantly dropped.
The last book I read was Me before You, by Jojo Moyes. I saw the film and absolutely loved it, so downloaded the book onto my Kindle and read it whenever I got the chance. I really enjoyed the way that the character Lou and Will help each other in their own way; Lou helps Will see beauty in life again, whilst Will allows Lou to see a future for herself again. The ending definitely had me in tears, and whilst it wasn’t a happy one, it was a fitting and sensitive one. I really enjoyed it.
4. Alohamora: A book that introduced you to a genre you had not considered before.
A few years ago I read 11.22.63, by Stephen King. I’d read King before, and whilst he is the ‘King of Horror’ (No pun intended), I actually prefer reading his more dramatic novels – The Green Mile and Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption, to name a few.
This book, although being Sci-fi based, is actually more historical. It tells the story of Jake, who goes back in time at the request of a friend to try to stop the assassination of JFK, pinpointed as the moment in history where the world changed for the worse.
The level of detail and research King must have done to make Jake’s investigation of Lee Harvey Oswald’s actions leading up to the assassination is impressive. I hadn’t read anything like this before, and it definitely opened my eyes to more historical novels.
5. Riddikulus: A funny book you’ve read.
Now, I don’t know if this would count as funny in a traditional comedic sense, but I found Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman to be funny in a Black Comedy kind of way. It might be the way Gaiman writes, but I find his dry sense of humour highly appealing, and I absolutely LOVED this book.
This is about Richard, who meets a girl, bleeding and weak, named Door. He helps her and inadvertently enters ‘London Below’, which is a warped version of the London we know and love. This book is like an urbanised version of Alice in Wonderland, which is probably the reason I love it.
I’ve read a few of Gaiman’s books now, and this remains my favourite for its clever details and humorous descriptions. A must read for any fantasy book lover.
6. Sonorus: A book you think everybody should know about.
There are quite a few books that I would recommend everyone should read, but there would be far too many to list! The first one I’ve chosen is The Great Gatsby, by F.Scott Fitzgerald, purely for the message Gatsby presents. He spends his whole life fabricating an existence that he thinks he should have, to try to win Daisy back, but it was his obsession with this existence that brought about his demise. He remains the ultimate tragic American Hero, and I think this books provides a strong moral message in the dangers of pursuing a false life.
Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte remains one of my favourite books of all times, so obviously I recommend that everyone should read it! Jane is one of the original feminists; she is strong-minded, independent and sure of herself. She doesn’t let her love for another blind her; she leaves him for this reason, only to return as an equal in every sense. I admire Jane for so many things, and she has in turn taught me so much about myself.
7. Obliviate: A book or spoiler you would like to forget having read.
50 Shades of Grey, by EL James. I read them all purely to see what the fuss was about when they were first released, and I wish I’d never bothered. So badly written and completely cringe-worthy! I can’t say any more about them than that!
8. Imperio: A book you had to read for school.
I remember reading To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee when I took my GCSEs a number of years ago. I didn’t really give it much of a chance; I was 15 at the time and I was far more concerned with messing around with my best friend (who I sat next to in the lesson). It was a slow burner for me, but by about a third of the way through I completely fell in love with it, and do so the more I read it. It contains such amazing moral messages that you learn as a child, and some of the characters are so well written and developed, you can’t help but love them. Atticus Finch to this day remains one of the best characters in Literature; I haven’t read Go Set a Watchman for fear of it ruining this perception of him.
9. Crucio: A book that was painful to read.
I read Flowers for Algernon, by Daniel Keyes on my Honeymoon a few years ago, and couldn’t keep it together long enough! This book completely broke my heart, and it was so difficult to make it through to the end. It is a short science fiction story about a man with an extremely low IQ, who details the events through a series of laboratory reports. Charlie is basically the first Human test subject for a study on Intelligence, where he undergoes surgery in order to increase his intelligence through artificial means. It is successful, and Charlie becomes more intelligent than anyone around him and is able to form lasting friendships as a result. But the surgery is a short-term fix, and as Charlie slowly starts to lose his intelligence, we (the audience) are forced to watch as the previously lovely and sweet character becomes bitter, hostile and angry at his former self. It raises very serious issues about the morality and ethical considerations behind surgeries like this, as well as the treatment that the mentally disabled face on a regular basis. This story completely broke me, and every time I’ve read it since I’ve never been able to make it to the end, I find it so difficult to read.
I still can’t believe that this next books is passed off as a children’s book series. His Dark Materials Trilogy, by Phillip Pullman has to be some of the most dense and rich in all of literature. There are quite of number of times that this book took my breath away and made me ache with sadness, namely surrounding the main character Lyra and her relationships with her friends. It is so sophisticated and beautiful in its description, several events haunt me even to this day, almost 10 years after I originally read it.
10. Avada Kedavra: A book that could kill (interpret as you will).
The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood is completely terrifying to me. I read it most recently about 6 months ago, and this story becomes more terrifying when you consider it in light of today’s society, too. It is a Dystopian story in which a Totalitatian Government has overthrown the United States, and where women are suppressed and gender roles limited. The main character Offred is used solely for her reproductive ability; it is her job to only birth the children she carries, those of “The Commander”, whom she serves sexually for reproductive purposes only. In light of America’s current struggles with a woman’s reproductive freedom, we appear to be edging ever-closer to this future, a thought that is singularly terrifying. I would highly recommend you read it, solely to see the dangers of this path we are on.