Monday, June 5th, 2017
Many bibliophiles have books which always remind them of a particular place or time. As I moved house recently, packing up then unpacking my shelves, I was reminded of some of mine, and since this is my first blog post since joining the team, I thought it would be a good introduction! I could list dozens, but have restricted myself to three, each of which is a ‘memory book’ for me in a slightly different way.
Like many people who grew up in the 90’s & 00’s, Harry Potter was a big part of my life. When Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince came out I was lucky enough to be one of the kid reporters chosen to attend & write about the launch in Edinburgh, which was held at the castle, starting with a party on Friday evening and culminating with the chance to interview J. K. Rowling on Sunday afternoon. Whenever I read this book, it transports me to that brilliant weekend: meeting other fans who knew as many nerdy details about the books as me; seeing Ms. Rowling read from the book at midnight; sitting in a bookshop with three of the other fans as we raced to find out what happened next.
My next ‘memory book’ is Sunshine by Robin McKinley. I distinctly remember that I bought this book in my last year of high school, when I went to a university open day. While it reminds me of that day, the eponymous Sunshine is one of the fictional characters who has resonated the most with me, and continues to whenever I read it, despite how my own circumstances change between readings and our very different lives. (The last time I checked, London was not in danger of being overrun by evil supernatural creatures, as is the case of the location in Sunshine.) It’s a comfort read that I go back to again and again when I need cheering up – possibly helped by the fact she’s a baker, and the descriptions of her delicious creations always encourage me to get out my own rolling pin & ingredients! Picking up this book always reminds me of happy, comfortable reading times, and the warm feeling of knowing it’s a story I enjoy every aspect of.
Finally, I wanted to mention An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir. I was lured in by the cover, some good reviews and the fact its setting is similar to Ancient Rome, which was what I studied at university. I read this book during my first publishing work experience placement, while I was commuting on stuffy London Underground trains from a hot, cramped hostel dorm to the glamorous offices of the publishing house. As much as the story itself sucked me in, and the world rekindles for me by rereading just a couple of sentences, it also recalls that time of my life for me: the feeling that this was the career path I wanted to go down. Living in the big city, probably living somewhere a lot smaller than ideal but that being ok because I could read fantastic books on the train, and spend all day talking about other books with fellow bibliophiles, in an office of overflowing bookshelves. The reality involves a lot of hard work as well, of course, but the dream was cemented, and this book recaptures how I felt at that time.
What memories are attached to your bookshelves?
Ailsa, Sales & Marketing Assistant