Five Things Friday: My five favorite books as a child

Yep, it’s Friday again (I know you all really hate Fridays ;)). I try to keep Fridays unscheduled to allow space if inspiration strikes – I’m totally kidding, I am usually over scheduling stuff after the fourth post for the week has been uploaded. I’ve been thinking about books a lot – I haven’t been reading as much as I enjoy and need because life has been so insane the last few months, but I’m slowly getting back on the book train again. I’m currently reading The Brightest Star in the Sky by Marian Keyes and Evening Classes by Maeve Binchy.

All this thinking about books lead me to think about what started this insane reading passion I have. It started pretty early on in my life, somewhere between Enid Blyton and JK Rowling – these ladies are my heroes and they have incomparable talent. So in the spirit of books and childhood and reading, I compiled a list of my favorite books I read as a child. Read, enjoy, and let me know which books you adored!

Enid Bluton secret seven

Enid Blyton: The Secret Seven

Enid Blyton has a descriptive writing style that places her in an elitist class of her own as an author. I’ve read a number of her books, and this series, as well as the Famous Five are wonderful books full of mystery and childhood adventure. I remember a particular trait of Blyton very well – her description of food! Wow, this lady could make me ravenous by describing lunch. The food was always succulent and plentiful, and the characters always had the most amazing adventures before settling down for lunch. The books are also full of adventure – secret passages, saving dogs, climbing through wells, small secretive towns – everything that makes a child want to believe that you can have fun while saving the world!

JK Rowling: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Prisoner of Azkaban

JK Rowling could really take over this entire post if I let her, because Potter was the very definition of my childhood. During my recent move I found my Potter scrapbook where I had pasted every article, picture or reference regarding these books I could find. It was vaguely embarrassing to page through but I was fangirling nonetheless.

I’ve often mentioned that these books are some of my favorite one’s ever – I’ve never felt that I’ve outgrown them and they are special to read every single time.  The Philospher’s Stone takes you through that pity for the life young Harry has at the Dursleys’, the excitement of finding out he is a wizard, the wonder of the first exploration of Hogwarts and the daring courage of an eleven year old boy to stand up against the monster who murdered his parents. The Chamber of Secrets is still full of exploration, Harry learns more of Voldemort’s past and how he was already evil as a student, he learns what his strange snake speaking ability means and that similarity between him and Voldemort and, very importantly, he finds the first Horcrux although he has no idea at the time what it means or even what it is.

The Prisoner of Azkaban brings us a Harry that is quickly approaching his teenage years – he starts noticing girls andhis temper is all over the place. It also introduces us to a fatherlike figure for Harry, Sirius Black and takes you through the unbelievable glory of Harry and the Gryffindor team finally winning the Quidditch cup. It is as excellently written as what comes before and after it, but I really enjoyed this book more than the first two. It carries great significance in the Potter world because if Wormtongue hadn’t escape Voldemort would never have risen again (OR WOULD HE?) and Harry would never have lost Sirius (again, thanks for that, Rowling).

(Do you see how I can make this entire post about Potter if I allow myself?)

 RL Stine: Goosebumps

Goosebumps

These books terrified the crap out of me as a kid, but I could never stop reading because it is so fantastically written. I especially remember reading one of the novels where a sponge was the villain, and believe it or not, that was pretty creepy to twelve year old Natasha. I also remember the notoriety the writer achieved in school – there was rumors if you properly realigned the letter in his name you would find “satan” written in there – yep, once again, an utterly impossible event that terrified twelve year old Natasha.

The books are pretty fun though, and I found something in the recurring theme that evil can’t be fully eliminated interesting. I can see myself rereading it at some stage, only if it is to see if sponges still terrify me.

 Francine Pascal: Sweet Valley High

sweet valley high

These books, also a series, epitomized the highest living standard I could ever hope to achieve as a teenager. I mean – TWINS firstly: Imagine how awesome life would be if I had a twin! Then, super-hot boys pining away for you – no girl would deny the need for that one. Jessica’s life as a cheerleader seemed so glamorous and Elizabeth’s cool and calm confidence in her brains and abilities – these two were the combination of everything a teenager would want to be – popular, pretty, smart, confident (I see what you did there, Pascal)

These books were available in our school library and my one friend and I devoured these books. They provided endless entertainment, impossible situations and a perfect setting for teenage fun.

 JRR Tolkien, The Lord of The Rings

Lord of the rings

I first read the LoTR trilogy when I was eleven years old. My dad, recognizing a fellow book junkie, loaned me his battered mammoth copy of the three books. I can’t really remember if I took everything in at that young age, but I read it about three times that year. Eventually it got superglued into my brain and made me the Tolkienista I am today.

I adore this series. I fully agree with people who moan that the books are mostly about walking and take ages to move between scenes, but Tolkien was an exemplary writer for his time. I also applaud the female characters in his novels, although it saddens me that there were no ladies in the fellowship. These books are a large project to undertake and to be perfectly honest I haven’t had the guts in the last few years with life happening and all. However, I do think that it is the right time again, just to see if I can still reach that fanatic reading level the munchkin me was known for!

Honorable Mentions:

Edward Stratemeyer/assorted writers: Nancy Drew

Nancy drew

The Nancy Drew series is a quite important read for a young girl – the first book was released in 1930 – a time where women were expected to wash dishes and have babies, and Nancy came along and solved mysteries and took care of herself. Yay for feminism!

These books are well written and are intricate reads – there is always something unexpected and nothing is ever quite what it seems. I haven’t read even half of the books available in the series, but the one or two of these I have read were wonderfully done.

Stella Blakemore: Maasdorp

Maasdorp

No we get to the more obscure and lesser known books of this post – they are in Afrikaans, so I don’t think the majority of my readers would have heard of them J

Afrikaans literature is surprisingly good for such a small language. I think it is because our language developed quickly and stemmed from a language that was already at the height of its’ existence (Dutch).

The Maasdorp series is extremely old – it was also written in the 1930s. It follows the tale of Kobie Malan and her escapades in the boarding school Maasdorp.

These books are really well written and extremely fun, although I think it must be mentioned that there is something specifically precious about a book that is written in your own language. That, and the midnight feasts and extravagant plans these girls undertake while still excelling at school, provided endless entertainment and addiction as a young girl.

Maritha Snyman/Louise van Niekerk: Reënboogrant

reenboogrant_tieners_liefde_in_londen

This series is also Afrikaans, but it is much more recent (somewhere in the 1990s). To perfectly sum up these books would be to say that it is a more innocent version of Sweet Valley High (Afrikaans parents are particularly strict and traditional). I loved these books because between the two main characters Shani and Sunette they had kidnappings, suicides, alcoholism, anorexia, holidays to the South-African coast and London, parties, stalkers and numerous other dramas scattered between their friends all in one year. I will still pick up a book in this series if I spot it in a shop. It is so much fun to read!

Well, there you have my list. I’m sure it is not even nearly complete, though I did my best! Drop a comment and let me know which books were your favorites as kids!

A-Z Book Survey

a-z

A-Z Book Survey

Zoë and Kim put up these two excellent posts about their book surveys, and I LOVED the idea, so I decided to be uber original and copy them! Reading is one of my all-time passions. When I truly discover a new book I go all reclusive and stay hidden for days. Nothing beats the rush of imagining what the author creates – reading is the true creation of an inspired mind, to my thought.

So, without further ado:

Author you’ve read the most books from:

Nora Roberts

Best Sequel Ever:

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – JK Rowling. The Deathly Hallows was hands down the most epic finale a series ever received, and mostly likely will.

Currently Reading: 

Living Dead in Dallas – Charlaine Harris

Drink of Choice While Reading:

books and coffee

Coffee – I am such a typical book addict. Give me coffee and a book and I am happy!

E-reader or Physical Book:

Physical. If I read from my tablet, my eyes get really sore, so I always choose the hard copy if I can get it. Although I would definitely E-read if it is my only option!

Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Actually Dated in High School:

Hmmm…probably Ron Weasley. Everyone loves a sincere goofball, and he has such a good heart!

Glad You Gave This Book A Chance:

Eat Pray Love – Elizabeth Gilbert. I am notorious for hating self-help books in any form (I think the authors are pompous and self-righteous to try and fix me – yeah) I thought this book would also be a self-help book, or maybe even worse, a “look-at-me-I’m-so-amazing”, type of book, but it wasn’t at all. It taught me a lot about dealing with grief, being open to other opinions and understanding that someone’s perfect life is never as it seems.

Hidden Gem Book:

Mushy Peas on Toast – Laurian Conrad. Laurian Conrad is a South-African writer that hasn’t published a second book yet (sad sighs). She has a rather great blog with the same name, and this author is simply hilarious, writing about being a young professional in South-Africa and all the madness in our lives. I really love this book and have to return to it every few months.

Important Moment in Your Reading Life:

harry potter

Reading Harry Potter. It is not only one of the most important reading experiences; I will say it is just an important life experience. These books taught me everything – kindness, compassion, empathy and kick-started my love for books.

I have to mention anything written by Enid Blyton, especially the Secret Seven books. Blyton and Rowling are two authors in the same boat – incredible writing and ingenious creativity.

Just Finished:

Dead until Dark – Charlaine Harris

Kinds of Books You Won’t Read:

Self-help, as discussed. EUGH

Longest Book You’ve Read:

Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet.

Major Book Hangover Because of:

The-Next-Always-Roberts-Nora-9780425243213

I have to admit I had one after finishing the Inn Boonsboro Trilogy by Nora Roberts for the second time. I was heartbroken that I had to leave three such fun characters and their male counterparts and the beautiful inn they created.

Number of Bookcases You Own:

One overcrowded on and three shelves full of books, with an additional 50 books stored in multiple locations.

One Book You Have Read Multiple Times:

bloodlines

If I like a book, I will likely reread it more than once. But Angel’s Fall by Nora Roberts spring to mind, as well as the Potter series, Vampire Academy and Bloodlines.

Preferred Place to Read:

My bed.

Quote that Inspires You/Gives You All The Feels From a Book You’ve Read:

Molly Weasley’s duel with Bellatrix Lestrange, The Gryffindor Quidditch Team winning the House Cup for the first time in The Prisoner of Azkaban, Charlie Weasley overtaking Horace Slughorn to reach the Battle of Hogwarts, Snape’s secret.

Obviously I have a lot of feels for Potter.

Reading Regret:

Not finishing Jane Eyre. I should really get on to that again. I always feel so judged by the books I don’t finish, them staring at me with outrage in their eyes and broken hearts.

I also regret reading the first two books in the Fifty Shades of Grey series. What complete and utter bullshit.

Series You Started and Need to Finish (all books are out in series):

Southern Vampires – Charlaine Harris.

Three of Your All-Time Favorite Books:

The Witness – Nora Roberts

This Charming Man – Marian Keyes

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Unapologetic Fangirl for:

Nora Roberts. This woman has such jaw dropping talent combining romance and horror.

Very Excited for this Release more than the Others:

mockingjay

Book to Movie – Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins. The first two movies were beautifully adapted and I am really eager for the last two in the franchise! I can also freely admit my excitement skyrocketed after hearing that Lorde was doing the theme song – that spooky voice of hers will rock!

Worst Bookish Habits:

Reading several books at once. If I have a book I am reading on tablet, I will have another hardcopy for places where I can’t take my tablet, like the bath, and I really shouldn’t read in the bath as the steam damages the spines.

Not putting them back onto the bookshelf, leaving them lying everywhere.

X Marks the Spot: Start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book:

Nora Roberts – Carolina Moon

Your Latest Book Purchase:

A faint cold fear – Karin Slaughter. I’ve read it about 60% and it is staring at me with its’ judgy little eyes.

Zzz-Snatcher Book (last book that kept you up WAY late):

Everything I read, but Dead in Dallas is keeping me up right now.

Please keep this awesome post idea running! Feel free to make one of your own 🙂

Friday’s Five Favorites (Authors)

Hello

Welcome to my newest installment on this blog. Each Friday (or as often as I can) I will post my five favorite things from a specific category. As I am a book junkie (you might have noticed), I am starting off the series with my five favorite authors.

 JK Rowling

Harry-Potter-First-Editions

As the author of the infamous Harry Potter saga, JK Rowling is one of the best known authors on the planet today. The series that made her famous is so phenomenal, and I simply cannot comprehend how people don’t like it. The first book I read of the series was Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and I immediately started searching for the rest. I read all of them in a matter of weeks (those that were available at the time) and I have never looked back. Through the years, I traveled with Harry as he grew up, and eventually, lived happily ever after. Each year I read the books through at least once, just to remind myself that magic really does happen.

 Nora Roberts

chasing fire cover

As my faithful blog readers can confirm, I am constantly reading Nora Roberts. Her romance novels, as well as her crime novels, are in a league of its own in the literary world. There is no scene that is left unperfected, and I have enjoyed her books since I read River’s End, which is a perfect book to be introduced to her. I have to confess, of late I have been shunning her romance novels more and more, but I still enjoy reading most of her material.

Marian Keyes

rachels-holiday

I have read most of the books written by Marian. Her novels are shockingly human, and she focuses on flaws in the human psyche, while remaining funny. Of all authors, she truly has the ability to make me cry. My favorite book by her is probably Rachel’s holiday.

JRR Tolkien

lotr

Author of the brilliant Lord of the Rings trilogy, I am particularly proud that he was born right here in Bloemfontein, South-Africa. His literature is simply the best. I read the lord of the rings at eleven years old, and have never looked back.

Enid Blyton

I thought about who to put up as my fifth favorite author, and while many could qualify, I had to mention a writer who had made me love books. I read every book of her I could find as a child, and I think she is one of the main reasons I am still reading today. Her children books are so full of detail. Most specifically, I can remember when I read her books that I would always be hungry after a paragraph, as she described lunch with such detail.

Who qualifies as your favorite author of all time?