Today J. R. R. Tolkien would have been 123 (beating Bilbo, who celebrates his 111th birthday at the beginning of Lord of the Rings).
While growing up, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings were the only books my dad ever read, and I was honoured when he leant me his very battered copy of The Hobbit when I was 11, which looked a little like this (only more creased and worn):
I fell in love with the hobbits then, but didn’t get round to reading The Lord of the Rings until after my dad took me to see the films in the cinema, where I fell in love with hobbits all over again.
For my 22nd birthday, my boyfriend bought me this beautiful copy of the book:
And inside was an even more beautiful message (I won’t embarrass him by writing the more soppy parts, but the beginning is lovely):
I like old books. Simply because they have a history. I like to wonder who over the years has held it, flicked through its pages, who loved and cared for it, or if it just got forgotten, left on a shelf somewhere.
There is something wonderful about an old book. Old messages scribbled on covers capture my imagination the most. For me the book becomes more personal. A token of love and adoration that continues being long after the person who wrote it. It becomes a physical manifestation of an emotion frozen in time.
And so, that is what I am doing here.
I hope this new book becomes an old book.
It’s only had a couple of reads and still looks pretty new, but this book is on its way to becoming an old one, with it’s scrawled message inside preserved for whoever owns it after me.
So today I took part in my first ever twitter chat: #ukyachat 2015, by the lovely Lucy Powrie.
It was great to chat with follow YA readers and get some suggestions on what to read in 2015 – I’ve been a little stuck in the past with my books for a while and, much as I love my comfy old ones, I need to get out there and try something new!
These books will now be on my list for reading in 2015:
The Art of Being Normal (Lisa Williamson)
The Sin Eater’s Daughter (Melinda Salisbury)
The Chronicles of Prydain (Lloyd Alexander)
Dark is Rising sequence (Susan Cooper)
Vendetta (Catherine Doyle)
Read Me Like a Book (Liz Kessler)
The Boy Who Drew the Future (Rhian Ivory)
I’ve also resolved to try and read more UK authors, something I started with the British Books Challenge. While composing my lists of books to read, I realised how many books I have aren’t by UK authors and have decided to mix it up a bit this year.
I’d also like to try and shop locally more: being a poor graduate I often just slip on to Amazon and order cheap books, but I’d really like to find more independent bookshops and support authors that way.
Big thanks to everyone who talked to me in the chat, it’s really great to be joining such a friendly community!
I don’t normally go in for New Year’s resolutions, mostly because I never seem to stick to them. But, it’s the first day of the year, I’m feeling positive and willing to make some promises to myself that I may (or may not) keep.
1. Start a blog
I know it’s kind of cheating because I technically started it yesterday, but this is something I’ve promised I’d create and keep updated this year. So far so good!
2. Complete the British Books Challenge
I’ve already done a post on this, but will mention it again (repetition will make me stick to promises!) I love the idea of supporting British authors and should also encourage me to try reading some new things.
3. Finish my second draft
Last year I finished the first draft of my first YA novel and I have never been prouder. Now I need to go back over it and fix all the broken bits (I swear I WILL plan better next time). It seems momentous at the moment, but so did writing the first draft, and I got that out the way so I think I’m ready for Round Two.
4. Get fit
It crops up every year, but this time I’m determined to stick to it (like I was last year, and the year before…) I’m off to a good start though, having completed my first run on the NHS Couch to 5K run. Just another 8 weeks and 26 runs to go…
Wishing everyone luck in whatever they have resolved to achieve in 2015 🙂
I might as well start off a New Year and a New Blog with a New Challenge.
Cue the British Books Challenge 2015.
For those who don’t know, the challenge is to read and review 12 books by British authors throughout 2015. If you’d like to sign up then just go here.
I haven’t really decided what books I’m going to read yet, but it sounded like a good challenge to support and get me started.
Brilliance of the Moon (Lian Hearn) – Last in the trilogy I started in 2014
Watersmeet (Rachel Cotterill)
The Land of Dragor: The Gift of Charms – (Julia Suzuki)
The Harsh Cry of the Heron – (Lian Hearn) – The sequel to the Tales of the Otori
Love Hurts – (Malorie Blackman and more)
It’s the End of the World As We Know It – (Saci Lloyd)
The Last Leaves Falling – (Sarah Benwell)
The Sin Eater’s Daughter (Melinda Salisbury)
The Drowning (Rachel Ward)
Water Born (Rachel Ward)
Frozen Charlotte (Alex Bell)
Unspeakable (Abbie Rushton)
A Monster Calls (Patrick Ness)
Hansel & Gretel (Neil Gaiman)
Sleepless (Lou Morgan)
James and the Giant Peach (Roald Dahl)
Say Her Name (James Dawson)
More Than This (Patrick Ness)
Only Ever Yours (Louise O’Neill)
The Yellow Wallpaper (Charlotte Perkins Gilman)
Flesh and Blood (Simon Cheshire)
Some golden oldies I’m aiming to read:
The Echorium Sequence (Katherine Roberts) – A trilogy, so that’s technically three books!
The Borrible Trilogy (Michael de Larrabeiti) – Yes, I’m a sucker for trilogies.
Pirates! (Celia Rees) – An old favourite I’m excited to rediscover.
The Sophie books (Dick King-Smith) – I loved these books so much when I was younger
And then for some newbies (for me, at least):
The Rest of Us Just Live Here (Patrick Ness) – I loved the Chaos Walking books so much.
Finding Jennifer Jones (Anne Cassidy) – Finally get to catch up on what’s happened since Looking for JJ.
Stardust (Neil Gaiman) – It’s been on my reading list since I got it Christmas 2013.
Hansel and Gretel (Neil Gaiman) – A Christmas present from 2015.
A Monster Calls (Patrick Ness) – Another Patrick Ness I got as Christmas present.
Witch Child (Celia Rees) – My sister just passed this down to me.
Any Malorie Blackman that I’ve not read. I know there’s a lot to catch up on since the Naughts and Crosses series and this seems like the ideal time to get round to it!
I shall leave it there for now, but I shall be sure to add to it when more spring to mind. Good luck to anyone else taking part, I look forward to the reviews!