Today is World Book Day, and there are lots of events going on to celebrate. I have browsed through a few online and one of my favourite activities has to be the classic – kids go to school dressed as their favourite literary characters.
Days like today are often highlighted on the news as a way to promote reading in children and ask a few thought provoking questions – are children reading enough, are they reading things that are challenging enough, etc. But thinking a little deeper, I often wonder if the reading experiences we have as children influence not only our reading habits as adults, but also, how the things we read over the years might influence the type of things we write (for those of us that way inclined.)
In the spirit of World Book Day, I have taken a few of the questions I have heard or seen posed by news broadcasts, book websites, social media, and of course the World Book Day website itself, added a couple more for fun and have answered them here. Feel free to answer some of them yourself and leave a comment below.
- Which book(s) has most influenced your own writing?
- Which books inspired you as a child?
- Which literary character would you dress up as?
- What is the power of a good book?
- Which books have most disappointed you?
- Which books do you want to read this year?
- What has been your favourite book so far this year (doesn’t have to have been published this year)?
1. Cloud Atlas: for structure and the technique of revealing, bit by bit.
Tales of the Otori trilogy: for beautiful imagery and descriptions
The Time Travellers Wife: for impressive continuity and complex narrative.
2. The Chronicles of Narnia: intricate tales, interwoven stories, and children whisked away to a magical world.
The Point Horror series: I remember trying to write my own version. It wasn’t very good.
3. This is a little bit creepy for an adult, but I had to ask. My first thought would be a classic heroine like Elizabeth, Cathy or Jane Eyre. But inevitably they end up being overdone and not distinctive enough for me. There are one or two male characters I wouldn’t mind dressing up as, but I’m not sure I would want to take on their persona. So I think this time I will choose a character who I would perhaps want to be, for just one day. And she would be difficult to mistake – telepathic waitress Sookie Stackhouse. That girl certainly has some great adventures, and that Merlottes uniform looks comfortable and yet cute…
4. A good book can inspire you to write, to read, can teach you things about the world, can help you escape from reality, give you insights into the past, can allow you to walk in someone else’s shoes, can give you some quiet time to yourself that only the characters can share, can stimulate your imagination. A good book can stay with you all your life. A book, whether good or bad, is yours and yours alone. No one else will read it in the same way you do.
5. Four Blondes by Candace Bushnall: Sex and the City it certainly was not.
Atonement by Ian McEwan: Really liked the first half; what a spectacular disappointment the second half turned out to be.
Twilight by Stephenie Meyer: Never have I read such a poorly edited and poorly constructed story. Plot? Character development? Continuity? Actual events happening to move the story along? Sadly all missing here.
6. 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami
A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin
The Passage by Justin Cronin
Horns by Joe Hill
Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
The Man Who Rained by Ali Shaw
7. Warm Bodies. However at the minute I am reading The Likeness by Tana French. This might surpass Warm Bodies, or at least be joint first.