Wednesday, March 07, 2012

My Life in Books

I almost didn't watch My Life in Books as I can't bear the way Anne Robinson treats her contestants on The Weakest Link. Any kind of rudeness or belittling makes me angry. It's just NOT FUN. 

But I'm glad I came across it in iPlayer and decided to give it a go because it's such a great programme: two guests each show talking about their life through four chosen books. 

It made me think which four books I'd choose from throughout my life and these are what I came up with:
Marianne Dreams by Catherine Storr. Marianne is confined to bed with an illness and starts drawing pictures in pencil during the day to entertain herself. Then she realises that the house she's drawn is appearing in her dreams. Everything she draws during the day she then dreams about at night. I loved this book when I was a kid because it was so imaginative and a bit spooky. My parents took me to the library every Saturday, a habit I continued through my whole life until I moved to Edinburgh actually (and am hoping to resurrect).

War Poems by people like Wilfred Owen, Siegfried Sassoon, Rudyard Kipling etc. I was first introduced to the war poets by my amazing English teacher Mr Girvin. He took us through the poems line by line and explained the poetic devices, the history and background. Dulce et Decorum Est is so incredibly moving. As is My Boy Jack.  And just the title of Anthem for a Doomed Youth is breathtaking.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. I first read Pride and Prejudice properly when I did my first degree as we were looking at adaptation. For me, it's such a perfect novel as it is so economically written, the plot or characterisation is continually being driven forward. Anyway, I've written about how I feel about it before. I re-read this book at least once a year.
The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters. Again, I've written about this here fairly recently. When I was studying for my first degree I was introduced to Tzvetan Todorov and his theory on the Uncanny, the Marvellous and the Fantastic. And Sarah Waters pulls this off perfectly. I loved it with relish.

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