For this one I’d have to choose the Harry Potter series, by J. K. Rowling. I was a child when the first few books came out and I moved into teenagehood around the same time as Harry and his friends. I remember insisting my grandma read the books with me after school – though she never knew what was happening because I would often read after she left and then make her continue the next day – and the never ending battle of trying to explain it’s not Her-me-own, but Her-my-oh-nee.
2. Expelliarmus – a book that took you by surprise
A book that took me by surprise was the ending of Allegiant – those of you who had read it know why! I know many people hate this book but I really admire Veronica Roth for how she chose to end the series. Not many other authors are as brave.
3. Prior Incantato – the last book you read
The last book I read was one I received from Netgalley called Supervillainess, by Lizzy Ford. It was a hilarious take on superheroes and Supervillainess and what happens when their paths collide in such a way that they have to work together. Fantastically funny, I really enjoyed this book.
4. Alohamora – a book that introduced you to a genre you had not considered before
Maus, by Art Spiegelman, introduced me to the world of non-superhero comic books. This is a fantastic graphic novel that follows Art himself as he talks to his father about his father’s experiences in a Jewish concentration camp during the Second World War. It is really moving and thought provoking, especially because we can see how his experiences at the concentration camp are stuck with him forever and affect the relationship he has with his son. The portrayal of Polish Jews as mice, and German Nazis as cats sends a powerful message.
5. Riddikulus – a funny book you’ve read
One of the funniest books I have ever read is How to be a Woman by Caitlin Moran. Moran’s book is a hilarious take on growing up as a working-class women in the UK. She explores many areas not touched upon by many women writers or feminist writers, such as her own experiences of masturbation. Part autobiography, part self-help book, this book had me laughing out loud.
6. Sonorus – a book you think everyone should know about
I personally think more people should know about is The Book Thief, by Marcus Zusak. Set in Germany during the start of the Second World War, we follow Liesel as she rescues books and learns to read and is importance. Meanwhile, she faces many struggles of growing up in wartime Germany. This novel considers friendship, literature, survival, family and, most explicitly, death. Interestingly, the novel is narrated by Death, providing an interesting viewpoint on human morality. This book is absolutely wonderful, and should be read by more and more people. It has a fantastic set of characters and deals with a lot of important topics related to growing up.
7. Obliviate – a book or spoiler you would like to forget having read
This is definitely the easiest question for me to answer: Where She Went by Gayle Forman. I really enjoyed reading If I Stay (though the knowledge that there is a sequel detailing where she went suggests how the book might end) and I so wish I had stopped after the first book. By the end of the first we know her decision. But we don’t know what happens to either of the main characters and I liked that. I wanted to end their story myself, and I was hugely disappointed by the sequel. I found it unrealistic and sentimental. I wish I had just read the first book.
8. Imperio – a book you had to read for school
My favourite book I read for school was Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. I absolutely love this book. It is a brilliant portrayal of Great Depression era America. I loved to read from Scout’s innocent point of view, and see the world through her eyes. It covers a wide range of topics, including racism, growing up, sexism and bravery. I highly recommend this book.
9. Crucio – a book that was painful to read
Unfortunately the book that I found painful to read was Harper Lee’s eventual sequel, Go Set a Watchman. I’ll not go into the controversy surrounding the publication of this book, but I will say I wish it wasn’t. (Spoiler alert.) I couldn’t deal with Atticus being racist, nor Jem’s death, nor Dill’s complete absence from the story. Personally, I’d rather this book was never published.
10. Avada Kedavra – a book that could kill (to be interpreted any way you like)
Perhaps I’m taking this too literally, but the first book that came to mind was The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger. Mark David Chapman famously associated his murdering of John Lennon with the book and the extent to which he related to the main character, Holden Caulfield. Personally I have read this book many times, and think it’s an interesting angst-ridden, coming of age story, and cannot see the murderous implications behind it. I enjoy the book, but I don’t enjoy Holden. Though I personally really like the book, I would not recommend it if you enjoy stories with likeable characters. Though the novel is hugely character driven, Holden is not very likeable.
11. Accio – a book you’d like to have with you now
Last year I read an incredible book by Carlos Ruiz Zafon called The Shadow of the Wind. Set in post-Civil War Barcelona, Spain, we follow a young man by the name of Daniel as his father takes him to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, and requests he chooses one to keep, read and care for. As the tale unfolds in turns into a mystery where Daniel’s life starts to mirror that of the story in the book he chose. There’s mystery, romance and deception. I lived in Barcelona last year and when I miss the beautiful city I always wish I could turn to this book, to take me back there. Unfortunately my copy of the book is in England! I was so happy to find a second-hand copy of this book – the importance of stories and second-hands books is discussed in the novel – but I didn’t bring it with me when I moved too Thailand. Sometimes I wish I had this book with me for when I’m feeling nostalgic.