Good evening, fellow Bookworms!
Back again with yet another blog. One in which I want to put an idea to you. Probably an unusual idea, but it is this…My definition of a TRULY life-changing book is whatever gets you reading! Whichever book you enjoyed so much that it made you want to be a bookworm and read absolutely loads more books. That is the life-changing book for you!
It might not necessarily be a self-proclaimed “self-help” book, nor might it be one of those books which plenty of other people have claimed changed their lives. Indeed, for many of us, that book might actually be a children’s book. For very young, pre-school children. It might be The Very Hungry Caterpillar, or perhaps Where The Wild Things Are, or, indeed, The Gruffalo. It could even be Hairy Maclary From Donaldson’s Dairy! One of my niece’s favourites, that one! I am using those as examples, because, for many of us bookworms, our love of books started in childhood, therefore the books with which we fell in love, the reading matter which made us want to be bookworms, shaped our lives ever since!
Whichever book made you fall in love with reading is the book that changed your life. It probably provided you with far more self-help than some of the books you’ve read in your adult life which were aimed at helping you!
I may be in a minority here, but I’m not sure I have read anything in my adult life which has changed me. I’ve read stuff which has moved me, that’s certainly true, but if anything has changed me, it would only be that a book has helped me out of a bout of “reader’s block”, and for that I can thank Why The Dutch Are Different, by Ben Coates, which got me out of a reading slump towards the end of last year! I was also assisted out of this slump by Garth Stein’s wonderful novel, The Art of Racing In The Rain. So, non-fiction got me out of a rut, but it wasn’t a conventional “self-help” book, simply a book by a British guy now living and working in the Netherlands because he’d once been left stranded at Schiphol Airport due to bad weather and a Dutch girl he’d once met on his jollies agreed to let him stay with her, so he simply made the journey from Amsterdam to Rotterdam and stayed!
My apologies just then. I meant to save this, not publish just now. I’ve only just got going! This blog is not finished at this stage. The blog is not finished until I have listed all the books I’ve mentioned in this entry at the end of it in bold print and bullet points!
I’ve only mentioned six books so far! This is nowhere near the end, lol!
Sorry for being a numpty! Let’s resume with the matter in hand, which was, I believe, the idea that the book which changes your life is that which encouraged you to love reading in the first place! It may come later in life with some people, particularly if they didn’t have the access to learning in their younger days. Maybe they had learning difficulties, dyslexia perhaps, so might not have enjoyed books when they were younger, but perhaps someone has given them a lot of support, possibly tinted glasses or a coloured sheet of acetate, as those are said to help in some cases, and they might now enjoy a good book. Whichever book they fell for when they were finally able to regard reading as a pleasant experience would be a life-changing one for them.
As I have said in previous blogs, there is NOT a one size fits all solution. Books are a very personal matter! That’s why there’s hundreds of thousands of them in this world, ready to cater for millions of people all over the globe, with different native languages and different interests and tastes in books! I have also hit out, in past blogs, at book snobbishness. I blogged about this a few years ago when some pretentious book snob in some US magazine or newspaper was slagging adults off for reading Young Adult fiction on public transport. This book snob got my back up because he’d been especially critical of adults reading the Harry Potter series.
Well, book snob… One of my colleagues recommended the Harry Potter books to me! Yep, a fellow adult I worked with at the time, and I’m bloody glad she did recommend them to me, ’cause I love them! I’ve read all 7 books AND the two which were brought out for Comic Relief some years ago – Quidditch Through The Ages, and Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them. The latter of those is being made into a film, and will be at the cinemas in November this year, if I’m not mistaken!
Also, the clue is in the genre title… Young ADULT. It is perfectly OK for those of us over 18 to enjoy these books! Indeed, many books have been seen in both the general fiction and young adult sections of the same book shops! Also, some of the classics are now regarded as YA if publishers feel they will appeal to teenagers. For example, because many teens are into dystopian fiction, novels such as 1984 by George Orwell fetch up on YA lists! I was a teenager when I read that one, I was 17 at the time, I think.
The other thing which irritates me is when people make a big deal about the author’s gender. I mean, who cares?! This is 2016. Men and women write books, and both are equally capable of writing thought-provoking stuff and classic novels. They’re also both capable of writing light, fluffy, unchallenging reads! Thus, they are also both capable of everything in-between those two extremes!
It’s not just about the two extremities of writing either chick-lit on one hand, or dull, worthy, heavy-going books which end up on reading lists at universities for literary theory modules! The late Sue Townsend didn’t write either of those kind of books! My fellow females who have ever had books published have written all sorts of books: Humour, crime, science fiction, fantasy, historical fiction, etc…
Essentially, the whole idea of books is to read whatever you find enjoyable. OK, there are books you end up having to read throughout the course of your education, and some of those might not necessarily float your boat, but that’s all the more reason to become a bookworm at a very early age, preferably before you start school, so that your general love of books will override those occasions where you have to read something which you are not enjoying! That experience can and does put a lot of people off, so the aim is to be a bookworm before you actually HAVE to read books for any reason! If you associate books with love, and with pleasant experiences, the odd dull book at school should not be a problem, and nor should book snobs, however annoying and worthy of a good slap they might be!
The main thing is that people read, and that they enjoy reading. I am against anyone who tries to spoil the enjoyment of reading for others! Forget what anyone else may tell you, or at least put it to the back of your mind. It’s the book which gets you reading, or gets you to read again after a spell of not reading, which will be your life-changing book! That is exactly the self-help you need!
That’s about it for now, I think! I’ve probably covered everything for this entry, so until next time, take care and Happy Reading!
Joanne x x x
Books mentioned in this blog entry:
- The Very Hungry Caterpillar – Eric Carle
- Where the Wild Things Are – Maurice Sendak
- The Gruffalo – Julia Donaldson
- Hairy Maclary From Donaldson’s Dairy – Lynley Dodd
- Why the Dutch Are Different – Ben Coates
- The Art of Racing In the Rain – Garth Stein
- The Harry Potter series – J. K. Rowling
- Quidditch Through the Ages – J. K. Rowling
- Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them – J. K. Rowling
- 1984 – George Orwell