Friday, 15 May 2009

What a difference a year makes

It seems that I have been blogging about my literary passions for a whole year now, so I thought I'd celebrate in the form of a post about the book that caused me to change my whole outlook and made me really love reading.

So, why don't you grab a chair (that bean bag in the corner is comfy), help yourself to tea and cake (there's some white chocolate brownies circulating) and I'll tell you all about it.

The book is 'Legacy' by Susan Kay, and I highly doubt if most of you have heard of it. As historical fiction goes it's not all that different from the Jean Plaidy, Philippa Gregory or Norah Loffts that so dominate our shelves now, but what makes it special for me is that it was the first book that completely captured my attention, and at one point, I got so drawn in to the story that I lost all sense of time for about half an hour. I missed Neighbours and Home and Away (which when you're ten is a big deal)!

The novel is basically the story of Elizabeth I's love affair with Robert Dudley - a tale that has been told many time over the years. I'll always remember the start, because it focuses on Anne Boleyn, and the short time she had with her daughter in a beautiful way. Elizabeth is left pulling the head off her favourite doll after overhearing servants gossip - a haunting image.
It's been years since I read it, but it's essence has stayed with me ever since I first read it. Up until then I had think I'd been ambivalent about reading, but this book showed me a world I didn't know and I wanted to find others that would do the same. A bookworm was born!

Is there a particular book that opened everything out for you, or made you take your reading more seriously? I'm sure there's at least one for everyone!


*jemima* said...

Thank you for posting about this book.

I am currently reading simoultanously 'The Virgin's Lover' and 'Elizabeth and Leicester', so this would be a wonderful book to hunt down.

A book that you might like would be 'The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn' by Robin Maxwell (if you haven't already read it :P )

Happy Birthday!

Joan Mora said...

Kate Morton's House at Riverton and Diane Setterfield's Thirteenth Tale. Every word is perfect.

Still writing down your suggestions--hope to find more time to read soon. Writing is priority one.

Teresa said...

I was just commenting to another blogger recently about how Watership Down, which I read at age 13, opened my eyes to how wonderful good, complex fantasy can be. Sure, it's not technically about a fantasy world, but it's written as if it were. There's a whole other language and mythology and because our world is viewed through the eyes of rabbits, it feels like a fantasy world. It wasn't long after reading it that I moved on to Tolkein, and looking back I can see that Watership Down was a warm-up.

oxford-reader said...

Jemima -- I quite liked 'The Virgin's Lover', although I do think Philippa Gregory tends to romanticise the Tudor world a bit too much. Not that I mind a bit of romance of course! I have to say I didn't like Robin Maxwell's book, but I can't remember why!

Joan -- I've been meaning to get a copy of Kate Morton's book for simply ages. It looks fantastic.

Teresa -- I remember reading 'Watership Down' at school, which was something of a disaster. I think it's one I should go back to!

carlarey said...

I am reading The House at Riverton right now, after reading a glowing review on someone's blog. It is a riveting book, as good as all the reviews suggest.

I think I was born a bookworm. I truly can't remember when I couldn't pick up a book and lose myself in it's pages.