As you probably already know, I LOVE books.
If you've ever been to our house, you'll see that this is definitely a love carried through the whole family. Actually, we could probably have our own library since we cover the whole gamut of subjects : baby books, picture books, chapter books, young adult, anime, romance, crime, mystery, self-help, cookery, poetry, foreign languages, natural history, art, architecture, craft, marketing, religion, maps, guide books, magazines and on and on (have I missed any subjects?!) I'm sure my husband would be delighted if you came and 'borrowed' any of them! (For 'borrowed' please read 'remove from our house'!) I do regularly get rid of books, either giving them away or taking them to the charity shop. But still we have plenty.
And there's a pile of "The Great Unread" in my bedroom too. I think I might tell you about those in another blog post.
Recently, on Facebook, I was nominated to list 10 books that have influenced my life and then I was supposed to nominate others to do the same. I'm never that keen on nominating people - it feels a bit like a chain letter - and I know I barely have time to remember to do these things, so I'm sure others must be in the same situation.
I did, though, nominate a friend and we began a 'behind the scenes' discussion about books with another girl friend. Their lists were really different to mine, some of the titles I'd never heard of, some I'd tried to read and didn't like. I think discussions about books are SO good. Now I'd really like to know more about why those particular books were an influence - especially if it hadn't resonated with me. Maybe we should start an international online book club...
I digress... True to self, I managed to post 2 books and then got carried away with life, as usual, and didn't finish. But the online discussion has had me thinking, and not just about the books I like to read but about those that have really made an impression on me.
So, I thought I'd list them all here, in one place, no nominations required, just a list of 10 books (and a tiny explanation as to why they've influenced me).
ONE: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
ONE: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
This book is the one that, by far, has had the most influence on me. Social justice, right and wrong, family life, all that and more. (I even wrote about it already here.)
I happened to be living in the South of France when I read this. I don't like the English version or the film but in French it gripped me totally.
THREE: The Bible
THREE: The Bible
I am a Christian. Need I say more?
FOUR: Chasing the Dragon by Jackie Pullinger
I think I was 16 or 17 when I read this. At that time a friend of mine was really struggling with drug addiction. It was a difficult read, but I'm glad I did.
FIVE: Dictionaries - French-English, German-English, German-German and French-French
You may or may not know that I speak fluent French and German. I studied both at university, along with Law and Economics (although I'm not so fluent in either of those these days!) All four of these dictionaries travelled with me throughout my degree. Given their weight, I often needed to ship them separately! Funny how when you're in the thick of something you can't imagine not needing them. Now they sit comfortably on the top shelf of our bookcase and I can't remember the last time I looked something up. I think I just make it up now!!
SIX: Delia Smith's Complete Illustrated Cookery Course
You can't go wrong with a Delia recipe! She's so reliable. As you can see from the state of the book, she's also much travelled and much referred to. Thank you, Delia, for all your help over the years!
SEVEN: The Readers' Digest Complete Guide to Needlework
Did you know I LOVE sewing, and making, and creating?!?! My mum also had a copy of this book. It's also well thumbed and much loved. I find something new every time I look inside. It makes me want to forget everything and sew...
EIGHT: Lonely Planet Travel Guides to Australia and India
I also love travelling, finding new places and experiencing a different life. After graduating, I set of on a bit of solo travel to Australia, supposedly for 3 months. But I loved it and kept extending my ticket! Then Geoff said he'd be spending the summer in India, doing some research for his dissertation on Charles Correa, a modern Indian architect, so I saved some money by working on a herb/salad farm (!) and went to meet him. We often headed off the beaten track to places not mentioned in this book!
NINE: Craft for the Soul by Pip Lincolne
This woman, this book! I have few words because I don't think I could do it justice. This is just me. I NEED to craft for my soul, to feel good, to feel happy, to feel I've achieved something. Craft for the Soul is a necessity, not a luxury. Pip helped me learn about blogging, both the writing and the behind the scenes scary stuff. She writes and crafts so beautifully and is just the loveliest person. Through her I've re-found my joy of craft and met some wonderful people. For that I shall be forever grateful. Thank you, Pip.
(PS You can read all of Pip's loveliness here)
TEN: Trois jours chez ma mère by François Weyergans
Now, I'm not sure if this book should technically be here, because I've never read it! The title in English is "Three days at my mother's house" although I prefer to read it as "Three Days with My Mother" and it makes me think of my mum and our last days together (read about that here). I don't really want to read this book, because it won't be at all how I think it should be! But it serves to remind me that we all have a story to tell. Maybe mine would be "trois jours avec ma mère", maybe it would be focus on 'making' and how we all can take ourselves out of the ordinary and create something extraordinary if we just allow ourselves the moment.
And you? What books have influenced you?