The 6 Books that Made Me

My Sister Jodie by Jacqueline Wilson

Jacqueline Wilson created the books of my childhood. There was something about her dark and twisted stories that captivated me (explains a lot about how I am today), and I consumed everything she put out. My Sister Jodie was my favourite of all her books, perhaps because at the time I wished I had an older sister. It was a book I would read and reread constantly, and definitely spiked an interest in the Gothic and dark tales that would later characterise my reading habits.

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

I was never a Hunger Games stan, instead I was a sucker for The Maze Runner series. It birthed an obsession for dystopian and sci-fi texts in me that lasted for a few of my early teenage years. These books were so clever and exciting, with characters that I genuinely loved and cared about. It was also something that I bonded with my best friend over at school, beginning the start of a friendship that we still have to this day.

The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy

This was one of the first classics that I ever truly enjoyed. It’s a strange one really because I haven’t particularly enjoyed any other books by Hardy, but there was something about the plot of this book that captured my imagination.

The Waves by Virginia Woolf

Ah, Woolf. We have a very complicated relationship. On the one hand, I love her. On the other hand, I also despise her work. The Waves is a book I am almost too scared to re-read in case I dislike it a second time round, and so my memory of reading it is definitely one of rose-tinted glasses. I remember this being the book that introduced me into modernist fiction – the greatest literary love I have. It taught me about symbolism, colours, characters, narrative style.

Normal People by Sally Rooney

Picture this: I’m sad, heartbroken, 300 miles away from home, and my flatmate has just told me that I need to read this book. It was one of the first times in my life that I truly related to a character. Marianne’s life seemed to mirror mine to a certain extent, and I was absolutely mind boggled that Rooney was able to reflect all these chaotic thoughts in my head into one cohesive story.

The Driver’s Seat by Muriel Spark

This is a more recent one from my Autumn Term of my second year. It reminded me of why I chose an English Literature degree in the first place. It was a book that both challenged and excited me, and I spent hours on an essay dissecting it with glee.

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