Monday, 8 April 2013

Top Ten Books I Read Before I Was A Blogger

TTT is hosted by the lovely ladies over at The Broke and the Bookish.

This prompt took a bit of researching, I can tell you...  Sometimes I'm amazed to realise how long ago I read a particular book - usually when I go to my review archive and find that it's not there after all.  I see this as a good opportunity to revisit some of the great books I read BEFORE the blog - though you'll be happy to know that I've deliberately left out the ones that come up week after week (The Secret History, The Picture of Dorian Gray, the book about Shakespeare and Co., all those usual suspects) to focus on boosting some different titles!  I wouldn't call this my ultimate top ten pre-blog reads, but I'd say it was ten of my top pre-blog reads.  Subtle difference.  Here goes nothing!

Wuthering Heights
by Emily Brontë
This is possibly my... second?... all-time favourite book.  Maybe even first.  It's definitely toppled Jane Eyre off the top five, if my recent stalled-halfway rereading of THAT is anything to go by.  Clearly I just like my sweeping Yorkshire gothic romances with more madness, more passion, grumpier servants and less morality-based TALKING.  :)

Robinson Crusoe
by Daniel Defoe
I've actually only read this book once, but whereas these days I feel a little... intimidated... by Defoe, back then I sailed through it!  Maybe it's because it's one of those books that's so tangled up in the public conscience already?  In my head it's mixed with The Coral Island and Castaway and Pirates of the Caribbean and Sebastian Faulks's television series and even *whispers* The Nightmare of Milky Joe, which all adds up to a must-keep for me!

The Snow Goose
by Paul Gallico
Such a tiny, tiny book, but by the end of it... OH MY GOD SO MANY FEELS!  "Whiling away an hour" my butt - it was more like "whiling away half an hour followed by an hour of sobbing into my pillow and a nap".  It's such a beautiful, tragic, heartbreaking little novella, about love and nature and war, illustrated with scratchy line drawings, and I still sometimes think about it now. 

My Booky Wook
by Russell Brand
Surprised?  Bear with me... because this is a great book!  I think the reason a lot of people don't like Russell Brand is that his mouth tends to run away with him - but that's not a problem in a book.  This memoir of addiction and recovery, fame and friendship, is beautifully written and has all of Brand's self-deprecating humour and exquisite flights of speech, only... y'know, edited.  I loved it.

Eat Pray Love
by Elizabeth Gilbert
The story of a woman's solo journey to a more fulfilled life via indulgence in Italy, spirituality in India and finding balance in Bali, this came along at just the right moment in my agoraphobia recovery.  Elements of her journey inspired me, some of what she learned applied to my own life, and the book made me really want to be out there in the world again...  For that it will ALWAYS have a special place in my heart!

The Secret Garden
by Frances Hodgson Burnett
How could anyone not like The Secret Garden?  The little girl in the spooky mansion?  The tormented lonely uncle?  The crippled cousin learning to live again?  The earthy boy with the tame animals?  The robin mysteriously leading the way?  The deserted garden, slowly returning to life under small, searching hands?  Can't you almost catch the scent of grass and roses just thinking about it?

Cinnamon City: Falling for the Magical City of Marrakech
by Miranda Innes
If this book doesn't make you want to pack a case and head off to Marrakech, nothing will.  It's about the painstaking - and frequently frustrating - renovation of an old riad in the middle of the city, now open to travellers as the beautiful Riad Maizie.  It is alive with the scent of spices, the bustle of the bazaars, the music of the snake charmers and the cries of the local muezzins, and it pushed Marrakech straight onto my travel list!

Queuing for Beginners: The Story of Daily Life from Breakfast to Bedtime
by Joe Moran
A brilliantly quirky book in which each chapter discusses the social history of one element of our daily life.  Topics include what we eat for breakfast, the daily commute, cigarette breaks and bedtime.  It's such a clever way to explore the way our most basic routines have evolved, and it's one of the few history-type books that I know I'll definitely reread, just because it was so much fun!

by Dan Rhodes
A gentle, funny and unique novel about a girl called Miyuki who arrives in a small coastal town at the same time every year to walk, read and find some peace.  This year she'll do all these things, reacquaint herself with some of the madcap small-town characters in the local pub, and take part in something of a miracle down by the cliffs...  I'm rereading this one soon!

No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies
by Naomi Klein
This was probably THE book that first awakened a spirit of anti-consumerism and anti-materialism in me.  It was the first book to tell me about sweatshops and how they operate, the first to tell me how supermarkets drive down the price of food, the first to tell me how brands manipulate our need to buy.  It was also the first book to tell me about the people fighting back.  It was possibly the most powerful book I read in my teens!

Those are ten of MY favourite books from before I started the blog; what would be on YOUR list?  If you're a fellow Top Ten Tuesday participant, feel free to leave a link to your post!