Aged 5-10 years old
The Adventures of Asterix by Goscinny and Uderzo
Two Brave Frenchmen take on the might of the Roman Empire and travel the world with the help of magic potion.
When I first plunged into the many Adventures of Asterix I couldn’t read properly. I only realised this some years after first reading the picture books that I had not been pronouncing the names correctly in my head. But that didn’t stop me from enjoying the myriad of historical events Asterix and Obelix encountered. The idea that two men could influence the events in whatever countries they visited with the added thrill of using the magic potion to help them bashing various armies along the way was enough to capture my growing imagination. The basis of Roman history mapped out through the picture books ended up being one of the reasons I chose to study Greek and Roman Civilisation for my primary University Degree.
The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien
A short creature called a Hobbit and named Bilbo Baggins is drawn unwillingly on an adventure involving a Wizard, Dwarves, treasure, a dragon, and a very handy ring.
J R R Tolkien is a milestone in my literary endeavours for two reasons. My eldest brother gave me his copy one afternoon, by dinnertime Mum had to tell me to put it down during dinner and later tell me on a number of occasions to go to bed. I waited in the dark until the house fell silent and gingerly switched my light back on again, I was sure that I would be caught but I ended up turning the last page deep into the early hours of the morning. It remains the first and only book I read in one sitting. It was the scope of the story that hooked me. It unfolded and told me how a small and seemingly insignificant creature like this Hobbit could have an influence over such a huge undertaking. Bilbo Baggins used whatever skills he had and became indispensable to the adventure. It opened me up to the vast and intricate imagination of Tolkien that would lead me to Lord Of The Rings and taught me that stories could be about anything your mind could conjure. I began to make up my own stories in copybooks.
Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
The impact a stoic foundling has on generations of two families who live on the Yorkshire Moors.
We had to read Emily Bronte’s novel for our last year in school. As I ploughed through the narration by Nelly Dean and traced the interwoven lives of the characters in Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange I realised that the enjoyment of their tormented, tragic and complex existences was riveting. It occurred to me that writing exam questions about this book was going to be entertaining as opposed to topics in other subjects. I even went as far as writing a parody of the plot and substituting my classmates into the story and read it out in my English class. Even though I has already made up my mind to study English in University, Wuthering Heights cemented that choice, if I could enjoy a novel that much which was written 140 years previously I was going to be ok.
What are yours?