Cecelia shares the books that helped to shape her life from her favourite childhood read to books that changed her perspective and empowered her.
I know this defeats the purpose but I’m going to name two. The Magical Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton introduced me to the magic of books, it showed me how you can escape and disappear into other worlds just by reading what’s written on a page. The second book is Under The Hawthorne Tree by Marita Conlon McKenna because it did the opposite. About three children trying to survive during the famine in Ireland in 1845, it showed me that books weren’t just about escaping to colourful sweet imaginative joyful worlds, but that they also had the power to teach you about the real hard lives of people. The journey that those children went on really impacted me at a young age and it was probably the first visceral experience I had with a book.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
A fantastical fairytale about a wandering magical circus that is open from sunset to sunrise, I don’t think I’ve ever read a book quite like it that captivated me in such a way. I was completely transported. It drips with magic and opulence, a heavenly otherworldly treat.
The Diary of Anne Frank
This is the book I’ve read the most times. I first read this book when I was fourteen years old, around the same age as Anne Frank was when she wrote it. I too loved writing a journal and I was aware that the contrast between our lives couldn’t have been more heartbreaking and unjust. It impacted me hugely. I felt very connected to Anne’s words and emotions, as though she was a friend, and I regularly take it from the bookshelf and choose a paragraph at random, to bring her back to life again.
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain
I read this book a few years ago and I felt empowered because I consider myself an introvert and through reading this, I learned to understand myself more. Being an introvert is not about being quiet, shy or awkward, in actual fact it’s about having a quiet confidence that means you process, communicate and function in a different way to extroverts. In a world that does celebrate the extrovert, and in a career that would at tiimes be made easier by being an extrovert, this book was a revelation and made me feel more at peace with who I am, be thankful for, and embrace the way that I am.
The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield
To say it changed my life is an exageration but it certainly impacted my way of thinking which is no small thing. It was given to me during a time of great change in my life, by a friend who read it during a period of change in her life. I was twenty one years old, I’d just got my first book deal for PS I Love You and was overwhelmed by the speed and magnitude of change in my life. Not only did it teach me new philosophies but it reinforced beliefs and behaviour I’ve had since a child which explained life in a way I had never heard others speak about. I suppose it put a lot of my private feelings into words. From synchronicity to energies, it opened my eyes to the universe.
The Enormous Turnip
A farmer plants turnip seeds, but one grows so large that he doesn’t have the strength to pull it from the soil. He enlists the help of his wife, a boy, a girl, a dog, a cat, a bird, maybe even a mouse. I have a vivid memory of sitting on the floor of my bedroom and staring at the picture of this enormous turnip that managed to feed the village for weeks, and thought it was amazing, like a magic food! I read it now to my son and he loves it too.
The Time Traveller’s Wife by Audrey NiffeneggerThe Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee BenderThe Five People You Meet In Heaven by Mitch Albom.
I’m a huge fan of these books for their originiality, beautiful writing, the balance of darkness and light, and the quirky way in which the authors have viewed the world. Books like these, and unique writers like these, inspire me to be creative with my ideas and writing. My favourite stories are ones which are original, quirky and unique. The bravery of writers to not follow the crowd truly inspires me to block out the noise and just write whatever I want.
The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman by Denis Theriault
A postman who lives a routine ordinary life but takes to steaming open peoples’ mail which sets him off on a new journey. This is a perfect book. I could read it everyday. It’s clever and beautiful, a perfect story, perfectly told. It has a surprising ending that I adore. Did I mention it’s perfect?
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