Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Book Meme Chapter Four

Favourite book of your favourite series

A book that reminds you of home

That’s right, I’m scrapping the ‘official’ meme question and instead using the far less superior (but easier to answer) 30 Day Book Challenge found on a social networking site. There are a couple of reasons for this. I haven’t even finished the Hornblower series, or Mortal Engines. I may come across a book out of them that I like the most. As for LOTR/ Harry Potter, I can’t really decide there, either. Added to that is the fact that I actually haven’t read any of the series mentioned for a long time, and seeing as my memory is not the best, I was thinking that something I had read not too long ago would work.

Initially I thought I might review Mockingjay, which is my ‘favourite’ of The Hunger Games trilogy, and one I have read fairly recently. The only thing was that this wasn’t my favourite series. Don’t get me wrong, the fast, heart pumping action was brilliant, but the love triangle was like a soggy cold sponge in comparison. And, I hated Peeta.

I decided that it was extremely difficult to judge individual books from a series, but rather, how all the books work together as a whole. So for Chapter Four I have decided to use an alternative question.

Chapter Four – A book that reminds you of home

I am in love with my home – the Isle of Wight. Even though we may be small and behind the rest of England by twenty years, there’s something quaint in the quiet and close communities, and I often get asked if I feel compacted. I do, in a good way. I relish in the fact that we are such a small community, that people say hello to me and ‘my, how you’ve grown’ even though I don’t know who they are. I like the fact that someone will do something scandalous (scandalous on the island is nothing like something scandalous on the mainland and the rest of the world, apart from that time we had the million pound drug haul)  and you will know about it the next time – like the time a got a warning slip from Southern Vectis, the island’s bus company, about not staying in my seat on the school bus (I had been caught by CCTV) and my parents knew about it before a letter came home because my aunty is friends with the main boss man. I didn’t like the fact that my mother forced me to write an apology letter and hand it to the bus driver on the way back from school, though.

The book I have chosen got me through a time when I was feeling particularly homesick in second year. The very name of the author comforted me, and reading his words, I could almost feel as if I were home again.

Here is my review from Goodreads:

WARNING: I am going to be totally biased with this author because, well, I love him so very, very much.

I picked up Alone on a Wide Wide Sea from my shelves yesterday. I chose to read it because I wanted to read it, and it wasn't one of my obligatory books.

I had looked at it in the shops, seen the diagrams of boats, the maps - this immediately appealed to me. And that fact that it's written by one of my favourite authors of all time helped, too.

The book was in itself amazing, truly inspiring. I loved the poignant journey of Arthur across Australia. Morpurgo brought every sense alive. The themes in the book were actually quite adult, beyond the '11-12 year old' readers sections. Slavery, oppression, religion, gambling, death,'s all there. What is perhaps most amazing is the constant referencing to literature - London Bridge is Falling Down, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. I cried, I laughed. I just was so absorbed in this book. It took me just this morning to read it. That's the magic of a book like this. I haven’t read anything all the way through, from just picking it up one morning, for a long, long time. It was also the first time I honestly cried at a book for ages, too.

I didn't really like the second part as much as the first, but that's maybe because I like the way Morpurgo can suck you into history, and so when he writes as if in the present, it jars, somehow.

I have grown up with this author - ever since primary school and The Butterfly Lion I have constantly been touched by his writing. I could only ever wish to write as he does, to touch people the way he does.

He's the person I would really like to meet, if I could choose anybody.

To expand on the point of growing up with the author – this is why any of Morpurgo’s books reminds me of home. The sheer memories I have on reading and re-reading War Horse, The Butterfly Lion and The Wreck of the Zanzibar are ones that are filled with a golden aura of innocent childhood, when I didn’t really have to worry about much except growing up. I felt I could completely relate to the things that Morpurgo writes – he was writing from a  landscape that was similar to the rolling hills of the island, and of Cornwall, which I have visited with my family often. He taught me magic was to be found in every thing and his stories fed my imagination. Morpurgo is probably one of the reasons I wanted to write stories in the first place.

Reading Alone on a Wide Wide Sea as a twenty year old I found that the magic had not been lost. Not only was Morpurgo conjuring hills and animals, he was conjuring the sea: the sea that forms an extremely important part of my home life. I could relate to the characters and I even imagined some of them as faces from home.

No matter what age you are, it is easy to get completely lost in Morpurgo’s words. He is a master story teller, and he is also my teacher. He reminds me of home.

I noted that he would be the person I would most like to meet. The opportunity has arisen – he is at Bath Children’s Literature Festival in October. Alas, I shall be off to Prague the next day, so I do not know if I will be able to meet my hero.