I’ve now seen a lot of my favourite Booktubers do this tag which originated with Jen Campbell (see her original video here) and I wanted to tackle it myself here on the blog. The idea of the tag is to talk about books which take you back to a specific time and place, and what memories they evoke. The books I’ve picked are all from over at least 5 years ago, mainly because recent years still feel exactly that, too recent to include. So I’ll look forward to re-visiting this tag in the future.
I’m not sure if I have mentioned before that this is one of my favourite books. It takes me back to a difficult time as a just-turned-21-year-old (oh the days!) coming out of my first serious break-up. I have always been an avid reader, but there are a few times in my life when it is like that was blocked out of me, and when I look back on those times they are often filled with some kind of unhappiness. Coming out of this break-up, feeling like I’d never recover (note to any younger readers, it’s OK you will recover!) I picked this book up and was transported and transformed by it. I was so drawn into the characters, the world and the emotions that I forgot my own troubles and experienced again the joy of reading. It also had some positive messages about recovering from loss which really spoke to me, and I have held onto ever since. I will always hold a special place for this book in my heart.
I’m sure I ought to be including all sorts of cool books in this tag, but lets be real these books, whatever you make think of them, are addictive. I started them extremely skeptical, but decided to put that aside and go for it. I read them at university as an older reader, so had some perspective on the quality of writing etc.
That aside however, they take me right back to the struggles of being a student and recent graduate. Of cold nights in unheated flats and far away families. Of needing a little light relief ahead of the next shift at the hated tide-me-over job. Thinking of these books and this time makes me remember how far I’ve come, and I will probably always keep them on my shelves for that nostalgic reason.
I came to the Harry Potter books a bit later on than other people my age, I started the first one after the third came out but then was 100% hooked. Goblet of Fire was when I, and it felt like the rest of the world, really got hooked. I don’t know if you remember but for the last 3 books, many bookshops started doing midnight openings for people to buy the latest books as soon as they could. My bookshop was one of those and it was as magical as reading the books themselves. One year we had people dressed up as all the characters walking round the shop – which was always packed to the rafters with people queuing up to get their book. I never knew people could be so excited about books before this, and I’ll never forget the atmosphere which always makes the memories of these amazing books even more sweet. It was very special to be a part of.
Growing up. Becoming a woman. Wondering about sex. All of these emotions and more were encompassed in reading this book. Blume books always felt like a right of passage for a young girl, they would teach you more about being a girl than your teachers ever could. All I have do is see this book somewhere and my stomach contacts remembering how I identified with some of Margaret’s confusions in her life. I really appreciate what Blume gave to us with her books.
Unsurprisingly, I was an English Literature nerd at school. Me and my best friend loved it. We were always first with our hands up to discuss the books, sitting attentively, scrawling notes to each other about other peoples attempts to understand the books they probably didn’t even read (we MAY have been a little snobby about our reading, maybe just a little). Thinking of this book takes me back to the classroom and the joy of learning about something I loved, with my best friend, from teachers who inspired me. It didn’t matter really about the rest of the class, I didn’t care that they thought Forster was a bore because I sure as hell didn’t, and still don’t! The story itself has also stuck with me, as a story of a young woman coming to terms with what she wants, as I’m sure I made parallels with my own life within it. I’d like to re-visit this and other Forster books now as I think I would get even more out it.