So my friend who has a massive brain trapped in a tiny body (we complement each other well) recently put out her list of "10 Books That Have Stayed With Me" followed by suggesting I do the same. Tee-dah! I think* it goes as follows...
1. How To Build A Girl - Caitlin Moran
This is the most recent book on the list. I read it last month and my abs still hurt from laughing. I love reading most things Caitlin Moran but this was special because it sort of hammers home the point of making and remaking yourself, not just settling and saying "Well that's just me!". At twenty years old I find it kind of reassuring (maybe slightly naive) that I'm still becoming the person I'm going to be (gonna be awesome).
2. 365 Days of Wonder - R. J. Palacio
So this is a book within a book (but has nothing to do with Leonardo DiCaprio, fear not). Technically the author is Mr Browne, a fictitious teacher from a book called Wonder (written by RJ Palacio). Anyhows Mr Browne teaches his kids a different precept ("a principle to live by") every month, and this book is a collection of his favourite 365 precepts. It's basically a cheesy book of quotes and proverbs and includes: "Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind."
3. Catch 22 - Jospeh Heller
This book is hilar, and I think it was the first time I'd read dry comedy like this and really absorbed it whilst sat there thinking this guy is fecking nuts and this book is fecking funny. You probably know the famous catch, Catch 22, and I hope you're chuckling away thinking about it. Another of my favourite parts that can be more succinctly quoted is: "The Texan turned out to be good-natured, generous and likeable. In three days no one could stand him."
4. Poetry in (e)motion, The Illustrated Words of - Scroobius Pip
I think I'm maybe cheating having this on here, but it is technically a book and it contains the words of my favouritest spoken word / rap artist: Scroobius Pip. I heard these words before I ever read them** but a lot of the pieces (poems? songs? raps?) are stories and so I feel like I've always know them as those stories just the same as any book. I also have a tattoo on my back that's symbolic of a quote from one of his characters: "But it's said that observation, not old age, brings wisdom / And I observe every single life lesson I'm given."
5. The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out Of The Window And Disappeared - Jonas Jonasson
If you've spotted a pattern that all of the odd numbers on this list are books that are high-larious, then I think you're onto something and I'm going to have to continue it. This is a book filled with lol (I can already tell I'm going to read this back and cringe, I don't care) and with action and basically says, in a slightly over the top kind of way: BRO, YOU'RE MAKING A DIFFERENCE TO THE WORLD. Or maybe it doesn't and it's all just a funny story, I don't mind, still loved it.
6. 1001 Ideas That Changed The Way We Think - Various Contributors
Kind of a cheat again, cause I haven't technically read the whole thing. But to be fair, it's bloody huge. I bought it for my dad as a Christmas present last year, but started flicking through it and decided I would have to keep it in order to change the way I think and get up to date with the rest of humanity. It actually still has the merry christmas message that I wrote to my dad on the inside page, sorry pop.
7. The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy - Douglas Adams
Similar to Caitlin Moran, I like me a lot of Douglas Adams. Reading this was the first time I laughed my face off over an existential crisis, a skill that has proved handy. A tattoo I plan to have done, but haven't yet, is of the sperm whale and the bowl of petunias that fall from the sky. It needs a whole page to explain it so the quote is here.
8. The Twits - Roald Dahl
Mr and Mrs Twit are the original pranksters and now they can follow they're legacy by watching youtube videos of couples basically living out this book through video pranks. Because I was young when I read it, I remember the book like a vague time of my life when my crazy aunt and uncle were doing crazy shit to each other all the time. If my aunt and uncle were illustrations by Quentin Blake.
9. Q&A a day - Me!
This book asks you a question every day and has five lines to answer on. So next year I'll open up at page one and start re answering all the questions and again the year after and again the year after that and so on. So, in five years time I'll have a log of how my opinions / ideas / circumstances have changed. Cool huh?
10. The Crucible - Arthur Miller
Another cheat, this is a play. I also wouldn't technically say I liked it because we studied it at school which means that when I think about it my emotions are kind of tangled with dread at the thought of a classroom. But equally it was one of my main higher english studies (and we studied it's nut off) so I kind of can't help but keep it with me inside my head, making me question the existence of true altruism and keep hold of my integrity (the two main bloody themes of the play) all the time. Well done school, it took many years but, just before I left, I absorbed some moral guidance. Job done.
So I think I went a bit OTT on what was meant to be a simple list, sorry Maddy. But in the essence of keeping the sharing going, I'd like Fiona (yes, you, I only know one Fiona... okay that's not true but you're the only important Fiona (sorry any other Fiona's that might be reading this.)) to supply her list of '10 Books Thats Have Stayed With Me'! Elaborate spiel of said-out-loud-thought not obligatory.
*I'm hopeful that I have another 50 years or so to have my life changed by various different books that I haven't read yet or that haven't been written yet.
**Similar to this, Tim Minchin is putting out a written version of his 'ten minute beat poem' called Storm, but I thought I'd be pushing it having two songs-come-books on the list.