Lit: My literary life timeline 1993-2013

Everyone has their own list of literature they’ve read that stayed with them for a multitude of different reasons. I’ve rooted around my memories and compiled my own. I limited myself to a maximum  of one per year so this is by no means exhaustive!

1993 (5yo): Biff, Chip & Kipper series- The Apple- Roderick Hunt is the first book I remember reading out loud whilst first learning as a child.

1994 (6yo): George’s Marvellous Medicine- Roald Dahl I was so proud of myself for pronouncing and understanding the humungerous words. ‘Gobblefunk’ (the language Dahl invented) fascinated me, though not so much my mother when I began using it colloquially.

1995 (7yo): The Twits- Roald Dahl after spending one entire Sunday morning typing out almost half of this story word-for-word on our nice new 3gb desktop computer, my parents decided to explain the term ‘plagarism’ to me. They had very much enjoyed the several hours of peace my little project had allowed them but in fact this was already someone elses work.

1996 (8yo): Watership Down- Richard Adams the first book i brought to school for ‘silent reading hour’. I wonder if that’s still a weekly classroom activity.

1997 (9yo): Bill’s New Frock – Anne Finne alarmingly, on finishing this story about a boy who wakes up one day to find everyone thinks he is a girl, our teacher asked the class if anyone felt they would prefer to have been born the opposite gender. My tomboy friend immediately raised her hand, only to have that moment never be forgotten and affect the rest of her school life.

1998 (10 yo): Goosebumps- Piano Lessons Can Be Murder- R.L. Stine thus began my first book collection.

1999 (11yo): Beowulf- Robert Nye My own creative writing description of a fight between Beowulf and Grendel came top of the class. Also the moment I discovered I’d been prounouncing ‘anxiety’ incorrectly!

2000 (12yo): To Kill A Mockingbird- Harper Lee Material for my first English essay, and my first real introduction to the meaning of racism.

2002 (14yo): The Jogger- Roger McGough Being only familiar with his works for children I was horrified after reading this poem. Even now I can’t find the words to fully convey my emotional response to it.

2004 (15yo): An Inspector Calls- J.B.Priestley I still love this play now. An oral assessment of it made up 20% of my final A grade English GCSE. It also inspired the original idea behind my first novel (currently a WIP).

2005 (17yo): IT- Stephen King my longest read until that point and, I expect, a permanent installation in my top ten favourite books.

2006 (still 17yo): Song Of Susannah- The Dark Tower Series-Stephen King I cried. 

2007 (18yo): Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows standing in line at the midnight release, trying to block out the various shouts of “Harry dies” and “They all die” or “Nobody dies”, from people leaving the store with their books held open at the final page.

2011 (23yrs): Dracula- Bram Stoker my first ebook. Downloaded onto the kindle paper view from the free -book section.

2013 (25yrs): Mad About The Boy – Bridget Jones Diaries-Helen Fielding exactly what I needed, exactly when I needed it. Including my own hilarious memory made whilst reading it during a commute to London.

 

Special mentions

Because I didn’t want to expand but I just can’t help myself:

The Help – Kathryn Stockett

Intensity – Dean Koontz

Irene/Alex/Camille – Pierre Lemaitre

The Wind In The Willows- Kenneth Grahame

 

Anyone who would like to ping back and write their own literary timeline please do. I’d be very interested to see any similarities, especially in school syllabus materials.

Thank you for reading. Feedback always welcomed.

Mind Mess: What is common/general knowledge?

I found myself lacking in a few areas this month, which prompted me to try and confirm what material comes under the vast umbrella of the common knowledge category.

For example; I recently passed my driving test, at no point during any of my lessons did I learn how to fill my petrol tank. It isn’t a requirement for an instructor to teach you this neccessity, and to be honest I didn’t even think to ask.

Fast-forward two weeks. I’ve purchased a car, I’m at the petrol station and I realise- I’ve never done this before. I have a basic understanding, I’ve seen people use petrol pumps enough times. But, I’ve also seen and heard many people joking about watching others struggle to ‘get their own petrol cap off’ or having to ‘help this daft woman fill her own car’. (I did spend a summer working in a petrol station. You might be suprised by the amount of times we had to help push a diesel car out of the forecourt because it’s owner had filled the tank with petrol mistakenly.)

You are just sort of expected to know how to perform this task, but why?

Heres another; My boiler has broken. The plumber is asking me if I have a combi boiler, as if it’s a simple question. I have no idea? Now I feel silly. I own my house, surely I should know what type of boiler I have? When he arrives the plumber is surprised to find I have a combi-boiler and I have my immersion heater switched on. Unbeknownst to me I have been using gas to heat water at the moment it is required using the combi, as well as using gas to maintain an entire separate tank of hot water throughout set periods of the day. Thats an expensive mistake. I only need to switch the immersion on if my combi-boiler isn’t working. How else would I know that? It’s not like buying a house came with a welcome pack of ‘how things work’!

I’ve known people who weren’t aware that goosebumps can occur because your body is cold, or whether you can safely defrost bacon in a microwave, even how to write a letter.

So I ask, what is common knowledge? Who decides what fits under the proverbial umbrella? And why does anyone find it acceptable to poke fun at something another person has not yet learned.