I used to be such a bookworm, ever since I was little. I had piles and piles, which admittedly were mainly princess stories or The Rainbow Fairy series…remember them?
But as I got older, I kind of fell out of the habit of reading. I did choose to study English Literature for GCSE and A Level, which I absolutely loved, and we got to read some amazing books, like Gothic literature and romantic tragedies. But as I started trying to balance work, education, family and a social life, it all got a bit too much, and I didn’t have any time to read. It would have helped, but I was just too tired and whenever I’d start reading it would make me fall asleep and then I’d have to go back and re-read, as I’d been half asleep for most of that session.
The past couple of years I’ve moved on to comics, as they’re much easier and more fun to read! Also, I’m actually quite nerdy, so comics are amazing to me. They suit me better now, but I’m trying lately to get back into it all.
I wanted to share with you all 5 books that have helped me get through life, or made me think a loooot. They’re all very different, but I’ll explain how they’ve helped me.
Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin.
#1 Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
A much-loved classic, and pretty crazy. One thing that annoys me is how people go on about how much they love the films and they go round dressing up as Alice for Halloween parties…but did you even know it was a book? Have you ever read it? Because there’s a lot more to it than just colours and caterpillars.
Lewis Carroll was a very heavy drug user, mainly opium and laudanum. He also wrote the book after being influenced by Alice Liddell, a 7-year-old girl who was the daughter of a friend. He had a little obsession with her, and there have been many rumours on him being a paedophile who made friends with lots of little girls. Ew.
People think the book is either about drugs, or politics. There’s a lot of evidence to suggest both. It’s all a lot deeper than you think it is.
Alice in Wonderland remains to be one of my favourite books of all time, and Disney films. I try to collect vintage versions of it. Whenever I go to a book shop, I keep an eye out for a different version, as there’s been so many. I truly think it’s crazy and amazing. There’s shisha-smoking caterpillars, tea parties, dodos, cats…
The reason it has got me through life, is whenever I’m feeling down, I like to flick through it and look at the pictures (a lot of publishes are illustrated). Also, if the book had never been written, the films wouldn’t have been made. And I watch the films a looot to cheer me up.
#2 The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
This one is heartbreaking, and also amazing. Sylvia Plath struggled with clinical depression, and this novel is her only book – semi-autobiographical with places and people’s names changed. It was first published under the pseudonym Victoria Lucas in the 60s. It wasn’t until after her death a few years later – suicide just a month after its UK publication – that her mother and husband requested her work be recognised as hers, in her name.
It follows Esther who has an internship in New York for a popular fashion magazine. She isn’t excited or motivated by it at all, and the novel follows her getting more and more depressed and unstable. She makes a few suicide attempts, but we see her slowly regain her sanity.
This is also one of my all time favourites. It is unsettling, purely because it closely mirrors what Plath was going through. And unfortunately I am able to relate to it a lot. But rather than this book make me feel worse, I felt better. The descriptions made me feel like I wasn’t alone, and I always encourage people to read it.
#3 Batman: The Killing Joke by Alan Moore and Brian Bolland
Let’s lighten the mood! Now you may be thinking “how does this get you through life?” Well. Batman comics are my favourites, and I have quite a laaaaarge collection of them (I will do a post about this at some point). The Killing Joke is one of my absolute favourites. The Joker is amazing, and arguably the best Batman villain, with every version of him excellent in their own way.
It shows how The Joker turned into The Joker basically. We see his pregnant wife, we see him involved in the Red Hood Gang, and all sorts. We also see the famous moment when Barbara Gordon gets shot by him… dun dun DUN! A lot of the comic is set in a circus, which fits perfectly.
It gets me through life because it’s so fun and so amazing, and it doesn’t take long to read. Whenever I’m in a comiccy mood and don’t want to plough through one of the series I have, I always resort back to this one. I definitely recommend you read it…and also watch the very recent animated film!
#4 A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
If you haven’t heard of the series, have you been living on Mars? Easily HBO’s most successful TV show ever!
And it all started with a little tubbster called George R.R. Martin. A veeeeery clever man with an amazing imagination (and a great skill at describing food. Mmmm). He created a whole world and everyone in it. A kind of fantasy, medieval, mash-up. And there are a lot of boobies involved too.
I will admit, these books are NOT for the faint hearted. They are hard going, and long, and they take some getting into. There’s something for everyone in here, it covers so much. But they are absolutely amazing.
The series has helped me get through life, because so much of it has been taken up by reading this! It really is something good to get focused on and delve into. Yeah, you do have to stick to the story, but if ever I want something to do I sometimes just read a chapter. It’s all so well written, with lots of cliff hangers and twists and turns, and a lot of violence… And did I mention the boobies?
#5 Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
This seriously got me through my A levels at sixth form.
I actually met Jojo Moyes at a book festival (usually for posh people) and she was so…normal I guess? And very funny and down to earth. This book really did get her recognised, and I can see why.
This is set in a little village, where a young woman called Louise gets a job caring for Will, a man who is now a quadriplegic, after having a motorbike accident (in other words, he has no feeling in any of his limbs). She’s a very silly and upbeat girl who has no experience whatsoever, and she tries to cheer Will up and make him see life better, as he has made arrangements to go to Switzerland for assisted suicide. Of course there’s love involved, and a lot of tears.
At the time I had a full-time job and full time education, so I never got any time to myself. It was really hard. After I’d attempted any essays I could (usually in the early hours of the morning after my shift), I got a lot of free lessons at sixth form. To wind down I used to head into town and sit outside Costa with a Chai latte (my favourite), in the Winter all wrapped up, and just read for about 2 hours. I absolutely loved it and it really did get my head straight.
The book did so well that they released a film of it this year, which actually made me cry. And I genuinely never cry at films.
I hope you enjoyed this post! Please please check them out, and watch the film/series versions if you can.
They really have helped me a lot.