Friday, 26 October 2018

Books that have shaped me

Today, it's my birthday. Not only that, it is my thirtieth birthday which calls for some serious celebrations. It's also caused a lot of introspection, so I thought I would share some of the books that have had a huge impact on me over the last thirty years in one way or another. 
Some you will have heard me gushing about lots already, some may be new to you, but I whole heartedly recommend each and every one of these.

Harry Potter by JK Rowling
Of course this series is on here. These books defined a lot of growing up years for a lot of people, and I am no exception. They shaped a lot about my values, my beliefs, and the all healing power of chocolate - thanks Professor Lupin!

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas
This book. I mean, all of Sarah's books have been important to me, but this one most of all. This was the first time that I had truly seen a character in a book that had been utterly broken, was trapped in an emotionally (and sometimes physically) abusive relationship, was suffering from depression, anxiety, PTSD, and was at times suicidal. And she was the heroine. This was mind blowing for me, and I was so so glad that I had held off reading this book for a while, because it meant that I ended up reading it when I needed Feyre and her story the most. This book is incredibly important to me, so much so that I ended up getting a tattoo to mark the impact that it had on me. I will always love Sarah's work, but this one will always hold a special place in my heart.

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
There is something so incredibly magical about this book. It is unlike anything else Maggie has written, and it resonated so deeply with me when I first read it, and maintains that hold on me even now. It is a book I return to every autumn, called by the lure of Thisby, of the capal, of Puck and Sean and this slice of the world that holds so much of my heart, even though it is entirely fictional.
"I am so, so alive."

The Song of Lioness Quartet by Tamora Pierce
Widely documented on here as the beginning of my love affair with bad ass ladies and fantasy books, this series, that wee eleven year old Rosy discovered in her school library, honestly shaped the reader I would become. I still adore these books and go back to them frequently, and when I have kids I will introduce them to Alanna and George and show them how magical the world can be. That's the lasting power of an excellent book.

Fire by Kristin Cashore
All three of the Seven Kingdoms books had an impact on me, but none more so than Fire. She was so different to Katsa, the heroine in the first book. She was softer, coming to terms with her femininity, but no less strong or powerful for that. She was incredible in whole new ways, without sacrificing her hardness and determination when needed. She showcases an amplified version of the attention women experience everyday, and that reflection is hard and necessary to see. It is a beautiful book, an important book, and I cannot fully express how much I love it.

Landline by Rainbow Rowell
Another book that sat on my shelves for far too long, and I ended up picking it up at just the right moment. Landline caught me at a tipping point in my life, and helped me to look at what was important, to focus on what I needed, and wrenched such visceral emotions from me that I hadn't experienced reading a book in some time. I'm both curious and afraid to go back to it again, because I wonder how I would experience it this time.

Paris in Love by Eloisa James
I had already read and loved Eloisa's historical romance novels, but when I moved to France for two and a half years, I was suddenly completely adrift and sought comfort in books. This non-fiction account of Eloisa and her family's own time in Paris gave me just that. The bite size snippets of daily life made me focus on the beautiful aspects, to really appreciate the wonderful things that I was suddenly living with, and it completely changed my outlook on an initially terrifying experience.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Poetic, lyrical, beautiful - this book was unlike anything I had ever read before, and something about that really resonated with me. It's still a favourite I like to sink into. The magic, the love, the characters, the sheer beauty of this world. It is a gorgeous book that means the world to me.

It's in His Kiss by Julia Quinn
This book changed my view on relationships and romance. Julia's books have all done that, but this one is where I started, so it seems fitting to mark it.
This was the first time I'd really seen adult relationships depicted where the shirtless hugging wasn't seen as some closeted dark thing to be hidden. These books celebrated it, they relished in it, and it opened young Rosy's eyes to all the possibilities in the world.

The Lynburn Legacy trilogy by Sarah Rees Brennan
It was really hard to choose just one book/series from Sarah, because all of them have had an impact on me in some way. My love affair with Sarah's work began around fifteen years ago (now that's a scary thought) when I first read her fan fiction. I eagerly followed her progress to publishing and buy multiple copies of every book she publishes (because they are guaranteed to be ones that I lend out to people saying READ THIS NOW). Her - her words, her story, had a huge impact on the shape of my life. It was because of her and her blog that I realised I might actually be able to write as part of my life instead of it being a pipe dream. It was because of her that I realised I could study Creative Writing at uni, and went on to do so. She inspires me, hugely. She is a truly incredible, wonderfully funny person, and her books have shaped me into the person I am today.

So there you have ten books that shaped me into the person I am today. Someone who has a house full of books and an unhealthy reading habit that results in too little sleep.
What books have helped shaped you?


  1. It is not surprising to me that we share a quite similar formative literary history. ♥️

    Happy birthday, Rosy!

    1. Thank you love! This doesn't surprise me at all, I always look to you for books I know I will love.

  2. Happy belated birthday!
    OMg, Sarah Rees Brennan AND Kristin Cashore?! Talk about great writers who don't get nearly the attention they deserve (in my opinion, of course). You wouldn't believe how happy I was to see them on this list. And Maggie Stiefvater, of course, is amaazing too <3

    1. Thanks! AND YAY FOR A FELLOW KINDRED SPIRIT! I always get insanely excited upon finding someone else who's read and loved these authors! And if people haven't tried them yet then I push the books on them...