Did you know that today is National Book Lover’s Day? I didn’t even know this was a thing either, but once I heard about it, it had to be something featured on my little blogging corner. I mean, obviously I’m a book lover because who doesn’t love reading as a book blogger?
This is in fact inspired by a question from Casper mattresses who emailed asking me about bedtime reads (a. yes I know, very random email to get, b. bedtime... mattresses, what a crazy awesome link, right?) and so I rolled with it. I thought to myself, what better way to celebrate such a thing than reminiscing about the books of my childhood which I adored, be they stories I read each night at bedtime, or the books which kept me up until the early hours as they gripped me, these are the books I want to discuss.
I used to read Dr Seuss’s Sleep Book before bed any night I wasn’t tired but knew I needed to sleep. It was a book I could never bore of and will always adore. Dr Seuss is one of those magical authors who knows exactly how to write for people of any age to enjoy, but books which work especially well for when you’re about 8 years old and are reading your own bedtime story because you’re still awake after bedtime. There is something about his rhymes and tongue twisters which makes for the best kind of book. This book is one I still occasionally reach for when it comes to bedtime because it is so relaxing, especially for those nights where you’re ready to sleep but your mind hasn’t quite turned itself off. It is just a perfect. I love following the story as an entire town falls asleep, it is the perfect childhood read. Dr Seuss was my favourite author before I hit double figures in age because who doesn’t love a rhyming book?
I can remember reading this books aloud (to myself) and attempting to be able to read every word with no mistakes, not easy with some of the tongue twisters in there.
You might think that Matilda would be my favourite Roald Dahl book from childhood and you would be wrong. The BFG was the first Roald Dahl book I had all to myself, I remember ordering it from primary school when the book man came round, my nan bought me a couple of books and I chose this one. We had other Dahl books, like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The Twits, but this is the one which was all mine. I adored Blake’s illustrations and the magical quality of this book. I thought this book is one which suffered during my book cull before I left for uni, but when retrieving my Dr Seuss book from my shelf I discovered my copy of The BFG buried at the very back of my shelf. I was thrilled to say the least, I am going to be rereading this of the course of a few days before bedtime, I think.
Roald Dahl was an author of my childhood. He wrote such perfect children’s books, they were magical and extraordinary but also funny. His books were just perfect. The villains were the perfect caricatures of villains and the children who were the heroes of each book were perfect. As a child you could relate to them and the injustices they suffered from grown ups, who were perfectly demonised. It made me want to be adventurous and do crazy things and discover the magic in the world. I will be forever grateful for that.
Dahl is the first author that had me truly connecting with the characters of books, empathising and rooting for them on their journey through their book. He made me believe in the most magical of things and that anything was possibly, all you had to do was overcome whatever villain he had written about.
Jacqueline Wilson visited my primary school when I was about 9 years old, she had been my favourite author for a full year, I had read all of her books and adored her, she wrote Tracy Beaker after all! You probably think it was a magical and life changing time for me, you would be wrong. I had signed up for trumpet lessons at primary school and my lessons clashed with her visit. After my music lesson had finished the assembly was still going, surely I got to go in and sit at the back, to at least see her? No. I had to sit in the hallway outside the hall with the handful of other students in my year who also had music lessons. It was ridiculously unfair. The injustice I felt at that age knew no bounds. I was outraged and let everyone know it. I was an extremely good student so the sulk I went through was unusual.
That is completely irrelevant to the tales of my bedtime stories apart from demonstrating I adored her and was cheated the opportunity to meet her. Tracy Beaker was a book I read repeatedly. I probably knew half the book by heart until I was ten. I read everything by Wilson, I loved the Girls series she wrote, I was a bit too young to read it at the age I did, but that is the story of my life. I think my absolute favourite book she did was Lola Rose. I got it soon after release because I recall having the hardback version (this was another book sacrificed in a book cull at 16, heart-breaking) and I adored the fact it was a hardback. I think it was my first one outside of the Harry Potter books, it made me feel so grown up. I borrowed all of her books from the library and would curl up in my room devouring her books. She transported me to new worlds I could relate to because she was an English author.
Jacqueline Wilson is the first author I felt the need to hunt out every book she had written. Never before had I explored an authors back catalogue and had a must buy author, she was my first and certainly would not be my last.
Harry Potter became the series that led me to losing the most sleep. I would reread the entire series between each books release, beginning with the release of Goblet of Fire. You cannot fully appreciate the amount of waiting that went into the Harry Potter series unless you yourself experienced it as well. As book bloggers, we complain about the wait between book releases in a series, but it does not compare to the wait and sense of anticipation I felt when it came to Harry Potter.
I don’t think I will ever await the release of a book quite as much as I did with Deathly Hallows. I had reread that series at least three times before that books release. I remember my nan collecting the book for me (no midnight waits for release for me I’m afraid) and I was in the last few chapters of book 6 (i had read solid for days, I’d been functioning off of a few hours sleep, I sacrificed everything to reread those books in 4 days) and she brought book 7 to me. I rather ungratefully acknowledged her only enough to thank her and grudgingly accept a kiss on the forehead before she left saying she’d let me get back to it (my nan is the best person in the world, she made my childhood). I then read book 7 in a day (a very long day) I did not take breaks I barely glanced away for food, it was worth it!
I think Harry Potter represents my obsessive reading side where I will not be able to stop reading a book until I reach the end. This is a series which I read quite obsessively, I will finish one book and immediately read the next, it is just that kind of series to me. This is the series which represents how absorbed I can become in a book, that I will be willing to just curl up with a book until it is finished. I may not be able to read in the all-consuming way I did when I was younger, but I can still finish a book in one sitting, I just have to hope I pick it up on a weekend when I don’t have plans.
These are the most significant bedtime reads from my youth, they are the books I remember most vividly and the books which I hold dear and authors who helped shape me as a young reader. My taste in books may have changed as I have gotten older, but these are the books that helped shape my attitude to books and reading. Check out the Casper Mattress Facebook for more great ideas!
What books do you recall as being the ones that shaped as a reader? They can be the most memorable or simply the books where you first experience that obsessive need to reach the end without stopping. Did you have a book you remember from your early bedtimes which you treasure even now?