The Books That Made Me | National Book Lover's Day 2022 | Rosie Abigail

The Books That Made Me | National Book Lover’s Day 2022 | Rosie Abigail

Does anyone else struggle to read in everyday life? For months now, I’ve been struggling to pick up a book, despite having a TBR list the length of the UK. However, as soon as I had a week off for my mini-moon, I found myself raiding my bookshelves like it was nobody’s business. 

During the deep dive into my bookshelves, I came across an old, ratty book that was falling apart at the seams. Unspun Socks from a Chicken’s Laundry by Spike Milligan. I felt the pull of nostalgia for my childhood, the hours laughing at the book under the covers with a torch. It wasn’t a book that I had thought about in years, but holding it in my hands, I realised the importance of it. It was a book that taught me that laughter is one of the most important parts of life, and how you can find laughter or joy in any situation. That’s something that I’ve taken with me throughout the rest of my life. I hadn’t realised until that moment, but Unspun Socks From a Chicken’s Laundry, with its silly title and words, had been one of the books that made me. 

With Book Lover’s Day on the horizon (a day that should be a national holiday in my humble opinion), and the ratty poetry book in my hands, it got me thinking about the other books that made me. Books that I’ve carried with me for years, or changed the way I think, or that I simply have a strange or strong connection with.

If you’ve been a reader for a while, you better get a pound out to put in the “Rosie Mentions The Bell Jar Jar”. Simply put, this book by Sylvia Plath was one of the lifelines that got me through my diagnosis and survival of clinical depression and chronic anxiety. Even now, with depression in my past and my anxiety left to battle, I find myself breathing deeply and repeating “I am, I am, I am” when I need help grounding myself. Ten years since I first picked it up, I still find something new in the writing at every, single, read. 

In the realm of newer books (well, newer to me), I found the impact of The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron to be huge. When I was stuck in a rut of feeling trapped in work, with no creativity to give, this book fell into my lap courtesy of my mum. Whilst the twelve week course aspect was invaluable (and I know I’ll be doing it again come autumn), it’s the introduction to morning pages that have changed my life. Each morning, before all the bustle and noise of work, I try to write three pages. Anything that is in my brain, get it down on paper. Dreams, anxieties, gibberish – to paraphrase Billy Ocean, “get out of my head, and into my notebook”. Immediately, I start my day with a clear head and less worries, and goodness knows I need that. 

Two stacks of books that are turned with the spines to the wall. The wall is white, and there is a plant in a clear cup on the second stack of books.
Photo by Asal Lotfi on Unsplash

With a return to novels, and again a pretty recent read for me within the last three years, I think of Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi as a game changer. I will stamp my feet and shout “this is one of the greatest novels ever written!” to anyone who will listen. But it’s not in the plot that I’ve found my connection, despite the plot being divine; it’s in Gyasi’s writing. If I believed in perfection, I would say this book is an example of creative perfection. Instead, I will say it is one of the most original and creative novels I have ever read. Just thinking about it gets me excited for the power of creativity. If I need to feel inspired, I pick up this book, read it cover to cover, and am reminded of what writing can be.

If Homegoing is the fiction piece I recommend everyone will read, then the non-fiction piece I will recommend til I die is Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Renni Eddo-Lodge. Personally, culturally, socially, and politically, I believe this is a book every single person on the planet should read. On the personal end, it is a book that has reminded me to hold myself, and others, accountable at all times. It’s also reminded me about my privilege, and how I need to check myself and my biases before doing, well, anything. It’s a life changing piece of work.

Finally, we have the ratty poetry anthology from my bookshelf that spurred this on. Whilst I remember adoring being read the Chronicles of Narnia and the Harry Potter series, and picking up every Jacqueline Wilson book I could, this thin paperback taught me to laugh, find silliness at every opportunity, and laugh some more. I think this is something we all need to do. 

So, in celebration of Book Lover’s Day on Tuesday 9th August, these are the books that made me; that left a mark on my heart; that have made me a better person. With that in mind, I want to know all about the books that have made you. Tell me all about the books that taught you a life lesson, that got you back into reading, that got you through a tough time. Let me know in the comments. Or, if you are a fellow blogger, consider this an informal tag. Let’s celebrate Book Lovers Day by talking about the books that have made us who we are!

Rosie x

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4 thoughts on “The Books That Made Me | National Book Lover’s Day 2022 | Rosie Abigail

  1. Homegoing has been my joint favourite book along with A Thousand Splendid Suns (by Khaled Hosseini) and nothing has been able to beat either of them for several years now! They’re both ones that have made me, me!

    Liked by 2 people

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