The Book that Made Me edited by Judith Ridge

Published: 1st September 2016Goodreads badge
Publisher:
Walker Books Australia
Pages: 256
Format: Paperback
Genre: Anthology/Non Fiction
★   ★ – 2 Stars

The Book That Made Me is a celebration of the books that influenced some of the most acclaimed authors from Australia and the world. Inspirational. Affecting.

A perfect collection of personal stories for book lovers!

Personal stories by fantastic authors such as Markus Zusak, Jaclyn Moriarty, Shaun Tan, Mal Peet, Ambelin Kwaymullina, Simon French, Fiona Wood, Simmone Howell, Bernard Beckett, Ursula Dubosarsky, Rachael Craw, Sue Lawson, Felicity Castagna, Benjamin Law, Cath Crowley, Kate Constable, James Roy, Alison Croggon, Will Kostakis and Randa Abdel-Fattah. Also features black and white cartoons by Shaun Tan!

I picked up this book because there were stories from authors that I love to read and the premise sounded really interesting. There’s always a risk with anthologies that a reader won’t enjoy all the stories equally and unfortunately this was the case for me. Sometimes it is only a few but I found with this collection I couldn’t engage with a lot of the stories. I wanted to enjoy them, I wanted to read about what books had an impact on these writers but I struggled to get through many of the stories. This may be my own personal issue and perhaps it was because they were personal essays and not fictional stories, but I kept putting the book down and finding reasons to skim.

I shouldn’t be too harsh, there are 32 stories in this anthology and some certainly were engaging; they were humorous and fascinating stories about how a single book, whether it was a massive dislike or a fascination with a concept, changed how the author saw the world and shaped who they wanted to be. Will Kostakis told how his hatred of a set book in primary school inspired him to write his own story, Benjamin Law wrote how he fell in love with Roald Dahl and reading things ten year olds probably shouldn’t be reading, while so many more mentioned that books were their treasures and offered them an escape. There were stories from indigenous authors and how their culture and stories impacted them, and there’s also voices from minorities in Australia who talk about never seeing themselves in books and how the culture of their parents affected the books they were exposed to.

These stories opened my eyes to how different people had access to different books, some read the same books I had read as a kid, and certainly the age ranges between these authors offered a wider range of books again. The reasons how and why these books made an impact were interesting in themselves. I’ve certainly felt this way about books I’ve read. My book was Checkers by John Marsden. I read that when I was in high school and it cemented my decision to want to write so I understand why these essays exist, I only wish I enjoyed more of them.

The format was not only essays, there were lists, comics, dot points, poems, and a few people had more than one book that shaped them. A nice surprise were the Shaun Taun illustrations sprinkled throughout. Tan asked random strangers why they read and seeing the responses sprinkled throughout with an accompanying sketch was an adorable and entertaining way to break up the stories.

Even though it wasn’t my favourite anthology, I still enjoyed seeing how so many books, especially ones I had read myself, had such an impact on these authors. Just shows you the true power of reading and how people can read the same book in so many different ways.

You can purchase The Book that Made Me via the following

QBD | Booktopia | Book Depository

Dymocks | Angus and Robinson

 Fishpond | Amazon | Amazon Aust

Book Bingo 2019 Update #1

BingoThe first four months of the year have passed, way too quickly for my liking but here we are. Now that May has arrived it’s time for the first update in my Book Bingo Challenge. This is inadvertently and definitely the year for reading the things I’ve been meaning to read for a super embarrassingly long time.

I am still not trying to make a line at the moment even though I am very close, I am more curious to find later that I’ve read something that will fit into a box. A small part of me though is keeping an eye out for suitable books that I can read that fall into my categories. It’s a complicated mash up of all the things which is working totally fine for me right now. In all honestly I’m just a little happy I am remembering to actively participate in my own bingo challenge this year.

 

Debut Author

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green

I was so excited to read this story and Green did not disappoint. I love his complex ideas and the insight of the media and the internet community is something he is more than qualified to explore. With gripping writing and a wonderful science fiction aspect it is a wonderful story and I am so excited (and impatient) for the sequel.

Non-Fiction

Good Girl Stripped Bare by Tracey Spicer

A few years behind the fuss I’m glad I finally got to read this story. I listened to Tracey tell the story herself and from her voice it was interesting hearing her go through her life and career with all the challenges she’s faced. It is an eye opening story and one that it great to hear from someone inside the industry. It isn’t the most powerful book, but it does its best.

Set in Australia

The Lost Man by Jane Harper

This may be Harper’s best work yet. I loved her subtle connection to her other characters and this family oriented, complicated, isolated story was one I could not put down. I read from cover to cover in one sitting and loved every minute of it. There’s suspense, drama, emotions, and moral dilemmas. What more could you want?

#ownvoices

Catching Teller Crow by Ambelin Kwaymullina

I loved how Kwaymullina tells this story. It is profound, mystical, enlightening and a captivating story. The Aboriginal culture is celebrated and I loved how spirituality and practice of two different cultures come together. It’s a beautiful, harrowing story and draws you in.

 

On TBR For More Than Two Years

Return to the Hundred Acre Wood by David Benedictus

Benedictus has captured Milne’s voice beautifully. There is a difference I will admit, but the heart is there, and it is clearly the best voice to carry on the story of Winnie the Pooh and Christopher Robin. The stories ring true to those from decades ago and you can picture Pooh vividly as well as all the friends we’ve come to know and love.

 

Movie Adaptation

The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson

This is a strange book that definitely appeals to some more than others. The movie is a decent adaptation and I would suggest if you didn’t like the book or haven’t gotten around to reading it, go for the film instead. It’s much more enjoyable with the good quirkiness kept in and the better parts of the story being included.

Non Human MC

Watership Down by Richard Adams

I have finally gotten around to reading this classic despite catching a few references over the years. A decent read and one that wasn’t as grand as I first thought, but dramatic all the same. There is a realism in the animals but there is also a logic and worldly knowledge.

 

Fantasy

The Wicked King

Holly Black has shown her master skills once more as we continue in this series. It is the perfect fantasy with magic, foreign lands, war, humans and a mess of all them combined. The magical world Black constructs is fascinating and filled with complicated drama to keep you always guessing and certainly eager for the story to never end.

A Classic

The Handmaid's TaleThe Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Having known the general idea of the novel before starting I was surprised at the actual exploration of this dystopian world. I enjoyed the strangeness of the story and the fact we are never quite given any answers. I’m glad I can tick this book of my list at last.