Words can change your world

In case you don’t already know, I love books. I’ve loved reading since I was a child. What really clicked with reading for me as a kid was watching Matilda on video. Granted, I’m very lucky to have had a good childhood with my family, but one things me and Matilda had in common was our love of reading and a thirst for knowledge. Matilda encouraged me to pursue my thirst to know anything and everything and get lost in books all the more.

By twelve and thirteen, I’d be getting through a decent sized book every three weeks and regularly used the school library. My form tutor would ask me what I was reading and comment on it. My mum was say that if you saw me, chances are I’d have my nose in a book. I worked my way through a fair amount of YA fiction in my teens, with the popular ones at the time being the A Series of Unfortunate Events series, Darren Shan’s Lord Loss series (Bec was and still is an absolute classic, and I’d happily read that again now at 25) Cirque du Freak, A Swift Pure Cry by the late Siobhan Dowd and many others to name but a few.

As I’ve grown older, my love of books hasn’t waned. I’ve got a bookcase full of books I’ve had for years and still need to work through along with one’s I’ve bought recently second hand. If there was D/s punishment dished out for me, it would be for buying books! I still love reading and voracious reader or not, there are some books that just stick with you. Those stories that are unforgettable, be it moving, chilling, entertaining, that you just have to tell people about and/or recommend.

So here are a few of mine:

  •  Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill

This is a book I have talked about a lot. Technically a novel aimed at a YA (Young Adult) audience, obviously anyone can read it, like Divergent or The Hunger Games. This is a dystopian fiction, where girls are no longer born naturally and the planet has basically gone to shit environmentally.

There are a series of ‘Zones’ around the world and this story is set in the ‘Euro Zone’, overseen by ‘The Father’. Girls are produced through labs and are trained in schools run by ‘Chastities’ to become the perfect women to serve the men of the zone. On turning 17 comes ‘The Ceremony’, where the girls are chosen to be in one of the ‘Thirds’: Companions, Concubines or Chastities.

The themes in it are suffice to say, not for the faint of heart. For me it’s like a futuristic Handmaid’s Tale that highlights very disturbing concepts that are in our everyday society. It’s speculative fiction if you look at it one way, and left me shaking and in shock for about three days after finishing it. Only a handful of books have ever had that powerful of an effect on me as a reader. This is one.

  •  My Dear, I Wanted To Tell You… by Louisa Young

I read this when I was 18, going through to 19 and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a WWI story that hits really personal accounts. It touches on classism, love, motherhood, sexuality, all the way through to what is generally expected in a WWI story: soldiering, nursing, combat and a lot of mental ups and downs. It goes through before the war and right through it from multiple character POVs and is incredibly moving.

  •  Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Need I say more? It’s an absolute classic!

  •  The Road by Cormac McCarthy

Again, this is one I’ve spoke about a lot, and note, comes with a major trigger warning.

Like Only Ever Yours this one is also not for the faint of heart. But Cormac McCarthy being Cormac McCarthy, The Road makes Only Ever Yours look like a cheery little walk in the park. It’s set in a post-apocalyptic setting with the cause kept deliberately vague. You don’t know what caused it, and given the narrative of a man and his son trying to survive, it doesn’t matter.

You never know what their names are, they are simply known as ‘The Man’ and ‘The Boy’, and the writing style is very drawly to fit the grim, grey landscape. With all the romanticising of Post-Apocalyptic stories, this one tells a story that is very realistic. It’s raw, ugly and terrifying. Use your imagination, it’s in the book. However, this is not for gratuitous violence’s sake, it is very much in context as in a realistic situation, these things would probably happen. It covers a lot about the Man’s relationship with God and the protectiveness over his child I’m sure any parent can relate to. Amazing book. Modern classic, but I guarantee you will need a sweet cup of tea or a stiff drink afterwards.

  •  Small Island by Andrea Levy

I first saw Small Island as a teenager, when the book was adapted to a TV Miniseries, starring Ruth Wilson, David Oyelowo, Naomi Harris and Benedict Cumberbatch as four of the leading characters. I was so moved by the story that when I came across the book, I had to read it. Andrea Levy was an incredibly author (may she rest in peace) and this book is simply outstanding. It’s set from before WWII and going through it, covering many themes, particularly attitudes spawned by British Colonialism and how Jamaican residents were treated when settling in Britain after the war.

 

 

*RE Thurs 26th March webinar: Looks like my webinar was removed from the platform. Apparently teaching adults how to write erotic fiction is a mortal sin -_- Gaaarrgghh!! Oh well, back to the drawing board we go. Further updates will be on my Twitter, followed by on the blog x

 

*Alternatively, if you like what I do and want to support me and my blog, please consider buying your girl a coffee 🙂 Thank you! ❤ x

38 thoughts on “Words can change your world

  1. Posy Churchgate

    Hey Violet, I loved reading your choices, most of which were new to me, but that’s probably because I look for ‘escape’ in a book, and some of your top choices are heavier, more thought provoking than the books I usually reach for. Small Island though – read it, loved it, felt both educated and entertained by it. Saw a great BBC interview with AL televised just after her death when she described how she accessed the ‘voices’ in it.
    Like you I love books, I’ve devoured them since childhood too and Maltilda is my reading hero! Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Posy! 😊 Thank you, I’m glad you enjoyed reading them. There are a bit heavy duty (I very much dive head first with those, so I apologise if they’re not the best choices given what’s going on right now x) I’ll be sure read some cheerier novels if I can! 😂 Small Island is amazing, it’s so good to find a fellow lover of the book! 😃 Matilda was so far ahead of her time and still like yourself is my reading hero to this day! 😊 Hope you’re OK xxx

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Posy Churchgate

        Oh please don’t think I’m criticising your choices, in fact you made me feel a little lightweight! I have read some more ‘heavy’ books but they aren’t my go to … for me White Teeth was heavy!!
        Small Island was so good, I didn’t want to watch the TV adaptation in case it spoiled it for me. I wonder if you’d like The Muse by Jesse Burton – I felt a very slight similarity in the ‘racial attitudes’ one of the protagonists dealt with.
        I’m just putting together my post of recommendations, you’ll probably hate it!! Too frothy!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh no the thought never even entered my mind! 😊 I was worried that given the times my recommendations were too depressing! 😂 I’ve not but I’ll have a look at it and there is no such thing as too frothy! I love a bit of froth so don’t put yourself down! 😊 Looking forward to seeing your recommendations! 😊 Xx

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Posy Churchgate

        Oh please don’t think I’m criticising your choices, in fact you made me feel a little lightweight! I have read some more ‘heavy’ books but they aren’t my go to … for me White Teeth was heavy!!
        Small Island was so good, I didn’t want to watch the TV adaptation in case it spoiled it for me. I wonder if you’d like

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Matilda is great I am a huge Roald Dahl fan – both his kids and adult literature. I loved your picks- this post highlights so many wonderful choices – I was in love with Mr Rochester before I even got to secondary school. 😉
    I do like the sound of “My Dear, I Wanted To Tell You” and will give it a whirl.
    I am so cross about your webinar – how backward of the platform – arrrghhhh!
    TY for linking this Violet – wonderful post
    Mayx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you May! 😊 At least with Rochester there was some understandable historical context, unlike Heathcliff (but that’s a debate for another day 😂) I highly recommend My Dear, I Wanted To Tell You, its such a brilliant book!
      Thank you, I looked into it and turns out my trial period has finished 😞 Whoopsie! But also they don’t take any ‘adult content’ lumping it in with pornography. I’m looking into Zoom, I’ve heard they’re pretty good from a few people 😊 xx

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Coming from a fellow dystopian fic and thriller lover, The Road is VERY dark. It’s a brilliant stand out novel but very, very dark and hits very close to home by way of the human condition, so brace yourself!
      One line that gave me chills and was a ‘I wish I’d written that!’ moment, was when he’s talking about protecting his son and what his son means to him. ‘He only knew that the child was his warrant. He said: if he is not the word of God God never spoke.’ *chef’s kiss* Beautiful!
      Thank you sweetheart ❤️ You too ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Haha a punishment for buying too many books! I used to spend the money Mum gave me for buying clothes on books instead 🙈 I have heard and read most of the books you wrote about here! Andrea Levy’s one is my favourite on this list!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha! No it’s not unpopular opinion at all, I’ve heard that a fair bit. It is very much an acquired taste, and while I loved the story personally, I totally see how it’s not for everyone 🙂
        Not a Jane Eyre fan?? *horrified gasp* Lol! I’ve not read Wide Sargasso Sea but I’ll be sure to add it to my novel long list of books to read 🙂 xx

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I thought Jayne’s character was SO frustrating. Even thinking about it in the context of time I just cannot get behind it haha. I had to read it for one of my classes and got through it by listening to the audio book while playing candy crush because reading it was too much

        Having a long list of books to read is very relatable! Xx

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Haha, good luck! I currently own 18 books I haven’t read yet… though 8 of those were gifts, but that still means I have 10 to read before I should be allowed to buy another book, which is hard 🤦‍♀️

        Liked by 1 person

      4. You and me both! 😂 I’ve got an entire bookshelf at home to get through so I’m determined not to buy another until I finish that lot. Though I don’t have high hopes for myself in sticking to that 😂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. The Children of Men by P.D. James is in my to-be-read pile. I’m a fan of her lyrical prose in the mysteries/thrillers she writes, and I’m curious to see how this dystopian novel will read. Perhaps you’d like it, since the genre seems to appeal to you.

    Small Island is also on my to-be-read shelf. I’m always leary of books that get glowing reviews as I typically find that I dislike them personally. I found Small Island on a clearance shelf at a used book store and had enough faith in the cover blurb to spend $2 on it. I’m hoping it’ll be worth the investment. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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