GUEST POST: Sister Spooky picks her Top Ten!

It’s always nice to have someone else write a blog post for me… The amazingly talented YA Blogger Sister Spooky, who runs her own book blog over at sisterspooky.co.uk, was kind enough to discuss her very own top ten books that “Made Her”, tying in with the current Waterstones campaign! Here’s what she had to say.

Sister Spooky herself!

Sister Spooky herself!

The Book that made me love reading

Matilda by Roald Dahl

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I read this when I was a child and completely bonded with the character of Matilda as a book loving outsider with a sense of adventure and desire to do big things in her life.  I wanted to be her so much and I still think of her as a hero.

The Book that made me want to feel everything

Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

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Oh God! This Book! SOOOO MANY FEELINGS!  I said I hadn’t read this book and C.J.Skuse told me “it was sorted” and then it arrived in the post.  I can’t stop thanking C.J. for sending me this book.  It’s one of those books that stay with you forever.  It’ll change the way you think about books and the power of the written word.

 

The book that made me wish every day was a Sunday

The Essential Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson

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Calvin and Hobbes was introduced to me last year and the person who handed me this world will always get a hug from me.  Perfect Sunday reading, funny for any age and has that simple bit of childhood you always try to recapture as a grown up in one lovely collection.

 

The Book that made me realise that YA could think big

Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman

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I read this book some time ago, way before I even heard of book blogging and couldn’t believe how powerful it was.  The story had BIG ideas and messages to give the reader and I realised after reading it that books could say important things as well as entertain.

 

The Book that made me want to be an adventurer again

Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve

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A truly special book from a writer that needs to be knighted (thus why I refer to him as Sir Reeve).  A book full of adventure that made me want to have that bit of adventure in my life again and want to be an adventurer in my own way.

 

The Book that made me grow up

The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 and 3/4 by Sue Townsend

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When I was a young teen I was still stuck reading children’s books and wanted something grown up and my Mum gave me this having read it as a teenager herself.  It was the book I read and loved straight away and shocked me that I enjoyed reading something from a boy’s POV.  Plus it made me want to grow up into the teenage years and know things would likely be rubbish at times but you survive.

 

The Book that made me think outside the box

The Man by Raymond Briggs

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I didn’t realise that there were such things as graphic novels when I was younger and I read this thinking it was just a picture book.  This is what I’d call a graphic novel for those that need a starting ground into that world.  It’s a story of a very small man that is grumpy and old and cared for by a boy.  It’s sad, funny and beautifully illustrated.  It’s the book that made me realise that you don’t have to read traditionally written books to find real stories.  Pictures can speak just as much as words do.

 

The Book that made my childhood

Winnie The Pooh by A.A.Milne

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I adore Winnie the Pooh.  He taught me life lessons and not to try and squeeze through holes for fear of being stuck.  It taught me about love, friends, being brave and being sad, then happy again.  I will always love Pooh Bear.

 

The Book that made my heart of stone crack

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

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I read this book not really expecting much from it because I’d been given a copy as a gift and didn’t know much about it.  This book is such genius and utterly moving that it made me tear up.  I’m a hard nut to crack so for me to admit to reacting like this to a book is a MASSIVE deal.  It’s told from the perspective of Death and about the life of a child in Nazi Germany and the horrors that unfolds.  Read it with tissues to hand.

 

The Book that made me love the fact I was a blogger

Geekhood by Andy Robb

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I had to put this one in here because not only is it very funny and a contemporary book but it sort of changed the blogging game for me.  It was the first book I was ever quoted in, the first book I felt so passionate about that I shouted about it in every way I could and it was the first book I read as a proof and saw something special and thought “I have to get on board with this one”.  Everyone I’ve recommended it to have come back to me to say it was brilliant and I feel sort of pleased I could help support a new writer with my blog and see the feedback on it.

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I’d like to thank Sister Spooky for taking part & scouring her brains for her top ten books that made her!

Again, her brilliant blog is over at sisterspooky.co.uk, or you can find her on Twitter (@SisterSpooky)!

As always, feel free to discuss your books, both here, on Twitter (Hashtag #tbtmm) or on the Waterstones microsite!

Until next time!

D

P.S. My own Top Ten

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Geekhood: Mission Improbable by Andy Robb

A few weeks ago now, I was amazingly lucky. I was asked to be a member of the judging panel who pick the winner for Waterstones Children’s Book Prize, which involved arguing over books for 5 hours in an office in London, & then a few weeks later, attending an author laden soiree known as the Prize Announcement. There was free wine, I think I managed to maintain composure quite well considering. I managed to meet some wonderful booksellers, publisher types, and, of course, authors. There was one author in particular I was very anxious to meet though, after his nominated first book Geekhood had practically lifted entire passages out of my own teenage years in eerie familiarity: Andy Robb, whom I’ve bantered back & forth with on Twitter for some time now. And meet him I did, very early on in the evening, he came straight up to me, stuck out his hand, & became lodged in my brain as one of the nicest, most genuine & modest individuals I have ever met. Seriously, if he does an event near you, GO. He’s got a great mix of enthusiasm & genuine passion for what he writes about, it’s brilliantly infectious! (Hi Andy, are you blushing yet?)

Geekhood: Mission Improbable's cover

Geekhood: Mission Improbable’s cover

Geekhood: Mission Improbable picks up two weeks after the ending to Geekhood (Spoilers for the first book will be in here), after Archie’s doomed, tear-soaked attempt to win Goth Girl Sarah’s heart. The gang are back in full force, Beggsy, Ravi, Matt, Sarah, Jason Humphries, Tony & of course, Archie’s beloved IM. The story follows Archie’s attempts to coolly brush off what happened between him & Sarah, but cool quickly turns into running-and-hiding, much to the disappointment of his Geek herd, who desperately want him to move on, so they can have Sarah as part of the group again. However, Archie & his witty Inner Monologue have other things to worry about, as the first weekend away to York to stay with his Dad & Jane, as well as her kids, is rapidly approaching. To add insult to the social stresses required in such a trek, Archie is going to be missing out on the biggest party event of his Geeky little life: An Actual Party. With girls. And everyone is going except him. Spirits are lifted on Archie’s train journey North though, where we meet the first new character of the book, the dark and mysterious Clare. She’s strong, she’s confident, she’s SIXTEEN, and she’s *ahem* developed. Despite her assets, Archie finds himself strangely not overly attracted to her, but he does find her a comforting target for venting his feelings about Sarah. But when Clare suggests a treacherous entangled web of lies to help her & Archie get what their respective desires, Archie’s not sure what strange Underdark his life has turned into…

The first book's jacket.

The first book’s jacket.

Geekhood made me laugh my pants off. Not literally, but pretty close. Geekhood: Mission Improbable delivered YET AGAIN a brilliantly tongue-in-cheek blend of childish humour, self deprecation, cringe-tastic embarrassment, and also heartfelt warmth & emotional growth. These characters have really started to develop into rounded, passionate human beings, & more importantly, they’re realising that Geeks can be part of normal society too. The first thing that really breaks the mould in this book is the introduction of LARPing, which for the uninitiated, I should explain. Live Action Roleplaying (LARP) is a lot like Dungeons & Dragons, only you play it in a field, in full dress armour & foam weapons, & fully taking on your character’s persona. I’ve never played it myself, but it sure does sound pretty cool. Our Geeky core, along with Sarah & her friend Caitlyn obviously think so too, & in Mission Improbable, they take a weekend away to bask in glorious Geekdom.

The existing characters from Geekhood are all back, & character development is well under way, & their growth has helped me warm to them even more than I already had. Matt has found a potential pairing in new character, & secret Geek Caitlyn, helping boil off some of his bitter sarcasm, helping him to become a much sweeter, albeit still hesitant, character. One of the major character arcs in the second book though is from Archie’s hyperactive, overly excitable mate Beggsy. Normally expressing himself through vulgar euphemisms & various pitches of “Dude!”, in Mission Improbable Beggsy really starts to develop emotionally, proving himself a deeply moral and thoughtful character with a strong sense of friendship & loyalty. I really enjoyed that. Archie’s Stepdad is also taking a good direction, dropping the trademark “Tony the Tosser” from book one, & starting not to try so hard, he’s become a much more relatable character for Archie. Except for the “Ferret Socks” sequence, which had me cringing so hard I thought I might turn inside out. Sarah has also built up considerably as a rounded individual, especially as Archie gets to know her better, & starts to see sides to her that in the first book had remained hidden. Archie is, of course, still on top Geeky form, his IM working hilarious overtime. Andy still seems to have stolen aspects of my own teen years into making up Archie’s personality in a terrifying way (HECK, I even had a crush on a girl named Sarah whilst I was at school. She’s unlikely to be reading this. If she is, hi Sarah.), particularly his lack of confrontational skills, a problem that has plagued me most of my life, and which in Mission Improbable really helped me connect with the character’s decisions right away.

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My own Dark Knight bookmark in my copy of the book…

So yet again, Andy has managed to deliver laughs ‘till you cry, serious emotional sections (Archie & his Dad in York was heartbreaking), all sprinkled with a healthy dose of teen angst & of course GEEK CULTURE. The references are all crisp, & unlike shows like The Big Bang Theory (I am not a fan), the writer is clearly familiar with his source material, and has a deep amount of respect and passion for the subject matter he’s dealing with. Once again, as with Geekhood, he also manages to nail the demeanour of adolescent boys, particularly the more sensitive Geeky types. OH, And the Dark Knight Returns is featured prominently, which just can’t be a bad thing, as its Frank Miller Batman joy at its finest. Also, Andy if you’re reading, I went into that Games Workshop in York many many times, which makes you some sort of Illithid psychic beastie. And good job on the Drow, they’re my favourites & I got a bit over excited at the mention of Lolth.

For those of you who aren’t Andy: STOP READING ME & GO READ GEEKHOOD.

Same Bat Place, Same Bat Time…

D

P.S. There’s a great interview with Andy over at the delightfully talented blog of Sister Spooky.