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My Reading Journey > Alannah's Reading Journey - W/C 2nd September 2013

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message 1: by Alannah (last edited Sep 02, 2013 03:10AM) (new)

Alannah Clarke (alannahclarke) | 11965 comments Mod
1. Have you always loved books? Who, if anyone, in your life has most inspired you to read?
When I first began reading in primary school, I really enjoyed it. I loved finding out about all the different characters and what they got up to. Even before school my granny is always telling me that she used to read to me and I would try to learn how to read with her. Because of my disabilities, I was put in the lowest reading group in primary one but shot all the way up to the highest ability group because I would have been the lonely one, that as soon I got a new book, I would be straight home to beg my mum and dad to read it with me. However, when I was about eight-nine years old, we started a library thing where we could pick books to read if we ever finished our classwork early, as I was quite a fast reader and was reading a new book every other week, other children in the class were insisting that I was only skim-reading and not reading properly leading the teacher to embarrass me in the front of the class about my reading. It wasn’t until a couple of years later that the teacher set me a book review until she realised that I was just a fast reader but that did throw me off reading for a bit. It wasn’t until I was ten and picked up Vicky Angel by Jacqueline Wilson that I began to read again but not just for school, for pleasure. And every summer in secondary school was practically filled with books until I went to university and was able to manage my work more effectively. When I was in secondary school, it was my English teachers that really inspired me to keep reading, it may sound a bit strange but my mum always tried to discourage me from reading, she believed that being sociable and going out to play with other kids was much more important. This was mainly because I was painfully shy, so shy I even refused to sign up to any social networking sites in fear of what my classmates would say, as a way I would use books to escape but my teachers saw this and introduced me to a couple of girls who were the same and that was the first time I was able to make friends with people over books.

2. What was your favourite childhood book?
Gosh, there are so many titles just rushing into my brain right now. I absolutely adored the Mr. Men and Little Miss series and collected nearly all of them. When I started to read Jacqueline Wilson’s novel for pleasure when I was around ten-eleven, she quickly became the only author I would read for a couple of years, my favourites by her were Vicky Angel and The Lottie Project. That was until my mum got me the first three Harry Potter novels all together just before the first movie was about to come out. I fell in love with them and every time a new book or movie came out, I would sit and re-read all the books that had already come out. To be honest it wasn’t until I was fifteen when I started to pick up new authors and other books and now I would rarely re-read books because I feel that there are so many great authors and titles out there, it feels almost like wasting time going back to old ones I have read before.

3. Which books do you remember studying at school? Did you enjoy them?
The first book I remember studying at secondary school was Boy by Roald Dahl, I remember arguing with kids in my class who kept calling him Ronald as he was a favourite author of mine during childhood I took some offence to them getting his name wrong. I don’t seem to remember any others until Of Mice and Men at GCSE level which I loved! After that I chose to study English Literature where I studied the likes of The Great Gatsby, Antony and Cleopatra, The Death of A Salesman, The Color Purple, Wide Sargasso Sea, The Pardoner’s Tale from The Canterbury Tales and The Illusionist. I think the ones that really had an impact on me were The Great Gatsby and The Color Purple. However reading Wide Sargasso Sea really encouraged to pick up Jane Eyre, which I am so glad I did as it will be always be one of my favourite classics.

4. Where do you most enjoy reading? Do you need silence to read, or can you read almost anywhere?
Most of the time I would read in my room, lately I have also been reading in the car to avoid boredom, like Rory Gilmore I am always carrying a book around with me because lately it seems like I usually always end up waiting around somewhere. It normally depends on my mood that day, I can read where it’s very noisy and if I am really enjoying the book, I can normally block out everything around me. I could be sat reading with everything going on around me for hours. There are times when I am reading in complete silence, it does feel quite weird but other times it can be quite relaxing. For example when I read The Night Circus last year by Erin Morgenstern, the writing style made reading in complete silence feel so calming that it just felt weird to read it if there was any noise around.

5.Choose five of your favourite books and tell us why you loved them so much!
1. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte- People always look at me funny when I say that this is my one of my favourite classics especially when they know that I hate how Bronte portrayed Antoinette (Bertha). I love Jane’s character, even though she marries Rochester at the end, to me she is a strong heroine. I think the reason I react so strongly to Antoinette’s portrayal is because I read Wide Sargasso Sea before reading Jane Eyre . By the time I read Jane Eyre I had done my exam and formed my opinion on the portrayal of Antoinette. Overall, it’s a book I like to debate about with friends, especially those who don’t share my view.
2. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak – Even if it did take me a while to really get into this book. I loved it! I have studied the Nazis quite a bit and honestly I find it very fascinating. (People tend think I’m weird for being so fascinated with the Nazi party but when I told my tutor, he called me a true political historian and recommended this book as he knew I was also a literature student). It took me nearly a month to read and I think it did take me so long because I was really savouring every single word. I strongly recommend it and I can’t wait for the movie which is coming out soon! I’m so excited!!! :D:D
3. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood – In my first year I had a literature module called Approaches to Literature which involved looking at a wide variety of book chapters. This was the only book that I bought the book afterwards and I am so glad I did, though I have to admit, it took a couple of reads before I really felt that I understood what was going on in the book.
4. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas – I pre-ordered this after seeing a raving review of a blogger who was lucky enough to get this book early. Normally I would never have read books like this but I loved it! I read it in three goes! I loved the main character; she was such a strong female heroine.
5. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins- This book was probably the most exciting book I had read in a long time! It really started my interest in dystopian societies and how people would deal with them.

6. Do you prefer reading fiction or non fiction?
I prefer fiction, I don’t think I have ever really read non-fiction for pleasure. Hopefully that will all change with the October non-fiction read, whatever wins the poll that is up right now. I am also thinking of making it my personal challenge to read at least ten non-fiction books for pleasure or I might choose to read at least five autobiographies/biographies which I am really looking forward to.

7. Are you fond of a particular author and what attracts you to their books? (You can pick a few if you can’t choose!)
While there are a couple of authors I am quite fond of, I haven’t exactly enjoyed all of their books. For example I am really fond of Philippa Gregory as she tends to give females in history who would have been ignored, a leading role. Like in the Cousins’ War, I would never have learnt about the women who were there if it wasn’t for her as most historians tend to focus on the men, I’m not saying she is the only historian to only focus on women but her fictional series really encouraged me to learn more about them.
I also quite like Jodi Picoult because she chooses to write about quite interesting topics, while I really enjoyed My Sister’s Keeper and House Rules, there are quite a few books I haven’t really enjoyed because she seems to follow the same structure in most of her books, but yet sometimes what she is focusing on draws me in so much that I don’t really notice that structure.

8. Do you rely on goodreads to keep track of your reading or do you have your own method?
Before goodreads.com I simply kept track by writing them in my diary, when I started and when I finished them although there were times I would look at my bookshelf and wonder whether or not I had read that particular book or not. It wasn’t until I saw a popular book blogger had put the 2011 Year Long Reading Challenge Widget on her blog that I found out about the website Keeping track of my reading was the only reason I got a goodreads.com account. I first learned about the site and I thought it was an excellent way to keep track of my books. I am so glad I found out about this site because I would never have read so many brilliant people and met such lovely people.

9. What's the best book you've read so far this year? What are you reading at the moment? What will you be reading next?
Wow, this is a tough one, there have been so many great books but I think I will choose The Fault in Our Stars by John Green as I don’t think I have ever felt so many different emotions while reading one book.
I’m not reading anything at the minute once I finished rereading Delirium last night, I decided not to rush to my book which will probably be The Hobbit for the readalong with Jenny and Harvesting the Heart by Jodi Picoult as I have had that book sitting on my shelf for months.


message 2: by Jenny (new)

Jenny (jeoblivion) | 4869 comments Alannah, I really enjoyed reading this, and I can very much relate to your childhood memories, the shyness and how people sometimes make you feel like an odd child because you always have your nose stuck in a book.

The Book Thief and The Handmaid's Tale belong to my favorites as well, so does Wide Sargasso Sea eventhough I STILL haven't read Jane Eyre ;). *bows her head in shame* Instead I substituted it by seeing the latest movie adaptation which I thought was beautiful.

It is really nice getting to know you a bit better reading through those answers. Looking forward to our readalong! :)


message 3: by Leslie (new)

Leslie | 15985 comments Interesting answers :) I will admit to having never heard of Throne of Glass before - I'll have to check it out.


message 4: by [deleted user] (new)

I also enjoyed reading this, Alannah. You've clearly put lots of work into reading it. I loved the Little Miss and Mr. Men books as well! I loved lining them up on my shelf so they made word 'Mr. Men'. I also went through the Jacqueline Wilson phase and wouldn't read much else at about the same age.

Thanks for such interesting and thoughtful answers


message 5: by Alannah (new)

Alannah Clarke (alannahclarke) | 11965 comments Mod
Thanks everyone. :)


message 6: by Maggie (new)

Maggie | 537 comments Well done Alannah - you can tell you've put a lot of thought into this.


message 7: by Alannah (new)

Alannah Clarke (alannahclarke) | 11965 comments Mod
Thank you Maggie.


message 8: by Gemma (new)

Gemma (gemmagem20) | 456 comments Thanks for sharing, Alannah. I really enjoyed reading it.
I too am a fan of Philippa Gregory, and have the same thoughts on Jodi Picoult.


message 9: by Amber (new)

Amber (amberterminatorofgoodreads) Great answers alannah! I'll really have to come up with some good answers to those questions when I do mine in december. It was very interesting. :-) thanks for sharing with us. :-)


message 10: by Alannah (new)

Alannah Clarke (alannahclarke) | 11965 comments Mod
Thanks Gemma and Amber


message 11: by Shirley (new)

Shirley | 4177 comments Thanks for putting so much time and effort into this Alannah, it's a great start to our Reading Journey series.

I can relate to what you say about your mum - my mum was always telling me to go out and play in the sunshine - and couldn't understand why I wanted to sit inside reading!!

It's nice that you were able to read Harry Potter as a young person, some of us had to read them as adults - I would have loved to have read them as a child...

I also loved Jane Eyre, but I have not heard of Throne of Glass - must have made an impact on you to list it as a favourite!

Having just read The Fault in our Stars myself, I can see why you have picked that as the best book of the year!

Thanks for sharing, Alannah, it's been very interesting to read more about you!


message 12: by Pink (new)

Pink This was really great Alannah and interesting to see how your reading journey has changed as you've grown up.

I have NEVER read The Harry Potter books - although I've watched all the films, some several times with my kids! I attempted to read one of the books with my daughter years ago, but just hated the writing style. I think I was too old for it, plus having seen the films I don't feel the need to read them now.

I studied Wide Sargasso Sea as well and it certainly gave me strong opinions about characters portrayed. Like Jenny I still haven't read Jane Eyre, though I'm starting it this month :)

The Fault in Our Stars might be one of my favourite books of the year as well and I agree that The Book Thief is a great book. I also really enjoy reading about the Nazi party and second world war, there are such great books about this, including biographies, history books and fiction. Sometimes I question whether this is a macabre fascination, but I think lots of people like to read and learn about this too.

I think it's great that you're planning on reading more non-fiction, I find that if you pick the right books they are more enjoyable than fiction, but the wrong book can put you off for a while!

I'm really looking forward to writing my reading journey next month now. This has been a fantastic start for our group :)


message 13: by Alannah (new)

Alannah Clarke (alannahclarke) | 11965 comments Mod
Shirley wrote: "Thanks for putting so much time and effort into this Alannah, it's a great start to our Reading Journey series.

I can relate to what you say about your mum - my mum was always telling me to go out..."


Thanks Shirley, I'm glad I wasn't the only one who had a mum pushing me to go outside all the time.


message 14: by Alannah (new)

Alannah Clarke (alannahclarke) | 11965 comments Mod
Pink wrote: "This was really great Alannah and interesting to see how your reading journey has changed as you've grown up.

I have NEVER read The Harry Potter books - although I've watched all the films, some ..."


I think I'm so interested in the Nazi party because it seems like something out of my dystopian fiction but yet it's happened. I just can believe that something that horrific was allowed to happen in the first place.


message 15: by [deleted user] (new)

Very interesting & enjoyable reading your answers, Alannah. I hope you enjoy your venture into Non-Fiction. I've read some Non-Fiction books that I've thought were excellent!


message 16: by Alannah (new)

Alannah Clarke (alannahclarke) | 11965 comments Mod
Thank you Elizabeth.


message 17: by LauraT (new)

LauraT (laurata) | 13415 comments Mod
Great answers Alannah!


message 18: by Alannah (new)

Alannah Clarke (alannahclarke) | 11965 comments Mod
Thank you Laura :)


message 19: by Laurel (new)

Laurel | 283 comments Thanks Alannah, was interesting to read all your answers, you've put a lot of thought into them!

You have really made me want to read Wide Sargasso Sea now!


message 20: by Alannah (new)

Alannah Clarke (alannahclarke) | 11965 comments Mod
Thanks Laurel, I strongly recommend it. The imagery in WSS is so vivid.


message 21: by Tweedledum (new)

Tweedledum  (tweedledum) | 2043 comments Hi Alannah, I have only just got around to reading this reading journey thread but loving reading your replies to all the questions. Reading in the car is the one thing I have never been able to do as it just makes me completely car sick so it's good that you are able to do that.


message 22: by Alannah (new)

Alannah Clarke (alannahclarke) | 11965 comments Mod
Tweedledum wrote: "Hi Alannah, I have only just got around to reading this reading journey thread but loving reading your replies to all the questions. Reading in the car is the one thing I have never been able to do..."

It did take quite a long to be able to do this. I've been using audiobooks lately which are even better.


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