Thursday, 24 March 2016

Time and Place Book Tag

I found some of my childhood books this morning which got me reminiscing. So I thought it'd take a trip down memory lane and  do the Time and Place Book Tag, created by Jen Campbell. You pick books that you associate with a specific time and place in you life and, explain your choices.

1. Best Friends by Jacqueline Wilson

This is about two best friends, Gemma and Alice. Gemma's sort of a clumsy tomboy and Alice is really girly but they still have a lot in common. Alice then has to move to Scotland and its about how they both handle the move and the changes that come with moving away and making new friends.

Like I said I read this when I was about 9 years old and I remember thinking that Gemma was the most relatable character I'd ever read. Not that we were anything alike but at the time I too only had about 2 friends that I talked to and I honestly don't know what I'd have done if they moved away. It was like, how RUDE of Alice to move to her flashy life in Scotland, make new friends and forget about Gemma. I'm clearly still in my feelings about this.

2. A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket

I still get a bit hyper thinking about this series. I read them between 8-10 and they were probably the first series I really got into and come to think of it, quite a dark subject for an 8 year old. If you haven't read them, they're about 3 siblings whose parents die in a fire and so they're placed in the custody of their Count Olaf. Unfortunately for them, he's a psycho and wants to kill them and steal their fortune. So for the next 13 books, they are on the run?!

SO thrilling and during that time I couldn't think or talk about anything else. I had a competition with one of my friends to see who'd finish the series first (oh to be young and that cool) and I literally read the last book so quickly I didn't understand the ending. To this day I could not tell you what actually happens

3. Forever by Judy Blume

I read Forever when I was 11 and it was the first book I'd read which featured sex. It handles the emotional side of sex and gravity of it deftly.  One of the characters also has depression which I loved because it wasn't an entire plotline. You can have a mental illness and it not define you as a person.

And it's crazy to think this book is still banned in so many schools.

4. The Illustrated Mum by Jacqueline Wilson

FYI, I did read every Jacqueline Wilson book at least three times. But this stands out because again, what an incredible and respectable depiction of mental illness. It's about Dolphin and her sister Star who live with their mum Marigold who suffers from bi-polar. They're both growing up and have separate stuff going on at school plus they both get to meet their dads for the first time and Jacqueline Wilson shows us all the mixed emotions that come with this PLUS balancing this with a mum who has bi-polar and is in denial about it. This is one of those books I just read over and over again because there are so many complex and developed story arcs and really fleshed out characters.

5. Noughts and Crossses by Malorie Blackman

I laugh now thinking about this but I read this when I was about 10/11. I so specifically remember being SO confused as to how/when/where/why/how again the white people were being oppressed by black people.

I understand now that it's an alternative history where during evolution, the Africans gained technological advantage over the Europeans. Years later, the noughts are the whites and the crosses are the black people. And its essentially this really juicy, tangible love story between Sephy who is black and Callum who is white. Of course they can't be together because there's segregation etc. There are four more books after this and its honestly one of the best romances I've ever read. Setting it against this backdrop of oppression and racism - it blows my mind thinking about how well executed this series was. 

And at the time, I was really uncomfortable about being black. It makes me so sad to say that now but  I didn't know many other people of colour and I grew up feeling like an outcast and was really bitter about it (Ew ugly confessional moment). Sephy was so unlike me in that she's a very proud and confident character in who she is and there's such an inner beauty and strength to people like this. 

6. Famous Five by Enid Blyton

I perhaps read this sometime in primary school but whenever I read them I just wanted to join in?! And in primary school, these were possibly the most enthralling "mysteries" ...of life.  This series is SO CUTE and I wanted to be George I mean what a rebel.  

7. The Twilight Saga: New Moon

No shame, we were all there. I physically cringe when I think of my 13 year old self. This book is here because its the first and maybe only time I fully bought into a fandom and became maybe a bit obsessed. And New Moon was my favourite out of the four simply because I had a really good edition of it with red stained edges. 

8. The Number One Ladies Detective Agency Series by Alexander McCall Smith

My school librarian introduced these to me when I was 11 and life has not been the same ever since. 
It's set in Gabarone in Botswana and is about Precious Ramostwe the first female private detective in the country and her secretary Mma Makutsi. They solve "mysteries" but I'd use that term very loosely. I personally reread them for foibles of the characters. The best thing about the entire series is its depiction of Africa. It's never typecast and the best thing about this entire series is its depiction of an African country because its not contrived or typecast. I feel sometimes when books have characters that aren't European or American, it becomes a plot-line in itself. This series doesn't caricature its characters - something that happens quite a lot when characters are non European. 
Plus, a new book in this series has been coming out every year since 1998. It's just the gift that keeps on giving.   

9. Alone on a Wide Wide Sea by Michael Morpurgo

This book holds no real emotional significance, I read it when I was maybe 12  remember enjoying it but that's about it.

HOWEVER at the time my younger brother was reading a lot of fantasy. My parents wanted him to read other genres and alas, made him read 'Alone on a Wide Wide Sea'. He HATED it.

Thinking about how much he hated it makes me laugh every time I look at this book. It took him about 8 months to finish any given book by this author and it's still an ongoing joke ... maybe just for me.

Who else has done this book tag?! Let me know down below what your top five would be. 

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