Six For Sunday | Books From My Childhood

Six for Sunday is a weekly book meme run by Steph at A Little but a Lot, and this week it’s books from my childhood! I’ve picked a selection that stick out in my memory.

I’m deliberately choosing not to mention my childhood-defining book because it’s written by That Author, and while it probably shaped me and fundamentally affected me more than any other book or series, I’m not giving it clout. Trans rights are human rights.

Dogger – Shirley Hughes

Yes this is a real book. It’s got a happy ending but for any child with a favourite teddy, it’s a roller coaster.

(My mum used to work in a nursery and a few years ago it turned out she’d never heard of this book. She thought I was making it up. On a trip to Waterstones I discovered it and pulled it out of the shelf while triumphantly announcing DOGGER, which I shortly realised afterwards was perhaps not the best idea in the middle of a shop.

Old Bear Stories – Jane Hissey

The literary equivalent of your mum coming round when you’re sad and giving you a cuddle. I adore these books, and the TV series, and as soon as my daughter is old enough to be read a book without taking it from me and stuffing the pages into her mouth, I’ll be reading her these.

Animal Ark –

These books are incredible and I’m seriously tempted to rebuy the whole series “for my daughter” and then read them all.

My Secret Unicorn – Linda Chapman

My sister had basically this entire series and they were really Not My Thing at that stage of my life (Unicorns? Could not be me) but they were oddly compelling and totally wholesome so I stole them and read them under the covers.

Animal Stories – Enid Blyton

I loved animals growing up – still do, in fact – and I loved Enid Blyton, so this was a match made in heaven. The children who lived at Green Meadowsd had SO MANY PETS and they were all SO WELL BEHAVED and it’s so WHOLESOME.

The 7 in 1 Collection – Enid Blyton

For a child this was an absolute UNIT of a book, and I loved it. The House at the Corner in particular I read again and a gain – the characters were so much Older and more Grown Up than I was and it felt so incredibly edgy to nine-year-old me.


I’ve had a look at some lists and spotted some books I’d totally forgotten about, so I’m going to be filling up a classic bookshelf for my baby. Have you read any of mine? Let me know!

Six For Sunday | Scary Characters

Six for Sunday is a weekly book meme run by Steph at A Little but a Lot, and this week we’re doing scary characters! Here are six characters who give me the heebies.

Jack Torrance – The Shining

The character of Jack Torrance is one of the main reasons I couldn’t enjoy watching the movie adaptation of The Shining. He’s a weird sinister dude in the movie from the start, but the book is much more focused on his descent into madness and it’s SO unsettling.

Craddock James McDermott – Heart-Shaped Box

The beauty of Heart-Shaped Box is that it taps into the most relatable scare of all and uses it to great effect: the horrible, sick feeling that you’re going to walk into a dark room in your house and encounter something malevolent and horrifying.

In this case Joe Hill has created a genuinely creepy ghost to fill that role, so every time I went downstairs to check the heating after reading at night I had to sing “If You’re Happy and You Know It” to ward off my terror.

Cujo – Cujo

Cujo is scary for one main reason: he’s a horror character that you could conceivably meet. Ghosts and zombies and vampires are far-fetched enough to be scary but “safe”, in a way, but Cujo is a rabid dog trapping a family in their car, and the everyday realness of the character – if not the situation – is what makes it so terrifying.

Mrs. Danvers – Rebecca

Rebecca technically isn’t a horror novel, but Mrs. Danvers gives me the fear, the creepy Rebecca-stan that she is. There’s something uniquely unnerving about an obsessed housekeeper who tries to convince people to jump out of windows.

Jean-Baptiste Grenouille – Perfume: The Story of a Murderer

Grenouille is creepy rather than outright scary, but he still makes me feel incredibly uneasy when I read about him. Now that I’ve got a baby the idea of one having absolutely no inherent scene whatsoever makes me skin crawl a bit.

And that’s not even starting on the murder and making perfume out of virgins.

Whatever The Fuck Is Going On In The Exorcist – William Peter Blatty

Okay I haven’t read this book, but the film traumatised me so much at the age of fourteen (why was I watching it at the age of fourteen?!) that it’s only recently I’ve been able to actually say the name of it without breaking into a sweat. I had panic attacks when I heard Tubular Bells. I don’t even know what sort of nasty is floating around in Regan MacNeill’s head, but I’m never going to find out because I’m not touching this book. Ever.


What characters creep you out? Have you read the ones I’ve mentioned? Let me know!

Six For Sunday | Books That Gave Me Feels

For someone who loves books, I get proper PROPER feels surprisingly rarely when I’m reading. Mostly I get them from a cheeky wee romance, but a particularly brutal twist or a powerful message can do it as well. Here’s six books that managed.

The Singing – Alison Croggon

The Pellinor series made me feel A Lot in general, but the slowburn romance undercurrent that culminates in The Singing genuinely had me sitting with my nose nearly touching the pages on the train until I finished.

Also the surprise romance at the end. INJECT IT DIRECTLY INTO MY VEINS.

Six of Crows – Leigh Bardugo

I tend to be disappointed by books that come to me hugely hyped because my expectations are astronimocally high, but I quickly became very heavily invested in this ragtag bunch and their escapades. I still haven’t read the second one in the series to my eternal shame because the end of this one did Things to me.

Also: I ship it. Hard.

Mary’s the Name – Ross Sayers

Oh, Mary. You broke my heart entirely from beginning to end, with your innocence and your relationship with your Granpa and the way I saw your story unfold through your eight-year-old narrative. Emotionally ruined.

Ironside – Holly Black

The romance between Kaye and Roibin had me grinning like an absolute dickhead all the way through Tithe so the continuation of it in Ironside was just DELICIOUS. It’s been long enough since I read it that I’m dying to pick it up again so I can relive the joy.

Blaze – Richard Bachman (Stephen King)

More of a thriller than a typical Stephen King horror, Blaze made me feel like I’d been roundhouse kicked in the solar plexus by the time I’d reached the end. What a journey.

The Hate U Give – Angie Thomas

This book made me angry, made me uncomfortable, made me question myself and made me want to educate people. Everyone should read THUG.


Because it’s pretty rare for me to get Proper Feels from a book, I’m always looking for something that’s going to sucker punch me. I’m going to be browsing other blogs to find recs!

Six For Sunday | Characters I’d Be Scared To Meet

Last week I talked about the authors and characters I’d like to have coffee with, and this week it’s characters I’d be scared to meet!

(I have anxiety so that’s generally most people, but I’ll try to be discerning.)

Kell – A Darker Shade Of Magic

I had Kell in my “Characters I’d like to go for a coffee with” S4S post last week, but like I said then I doubt he’d have time for my self-consciousness and dreadful awkward patter. He would CUT ME DOWN.

I do want a look at his coat though.

Inspector John Rebus – Ian Rankin

Rebus is a compelling character and his humour and attitude are familiar to me (I live near Edinburgh, where the books are set, and not far from where Ian Rankin is from) but like Kell I think he’d have no time for my nonsense, and I think he’d probably tell me.

Hailey – The Hate U Give

In years gone past I MIGHT have given characters like Hailey the benefit of the doubt, because the internet has made it much easier to be come educated and learn about the lived experiences of other people and why seemingly innocuous things stem from harmful sources and perpetuate negative stereotypes, but she literally has a Tumblr and STILL doesn’t get it. So she doesn’t get a pass from me, and even though I’d probably try to educate her I feel like I’d end up snapping.

Augustus Waters – The Fault In Our Stars

This is a fairly seminal YA text and it’s touched a lot of people and I feel awful for slagging off the main characters but Gus is so boring and pretentious that he makes me gnaw on my own knuckles.

Anyone out of Twilight

Okay I know it’s a bit passé to slate Twilight now but every single character in this series is so unbelievably insipid that I can imagine every single conversation being excruciating. HARD PASS.

Enkir – The Pellinor series

Enkir is the personification of everything I hate: a misogynist, a power-hungry villain, a disloyal and two-faced creep. Someone running behind the scenes to make sure the bad guys win for his own personal gain. Just the absolute antithesis of everything I stand for and we’d probably get into a fight. And then he’d probably try to kill me.


I can’t wait to see everyone’s suggestions! Seems ideal for Halloween…

Six For Sunday | Characters/Authors I’d Like To Go For A Coffee With

I like coffee. I like books. One day I’d like to be an author. This prompt speaks to me.

I have crippling social anxiety and I’m dreadful at small talk, but let’s pretend for the purposes of this exercise that it doesn’t make me sweat profusely.

Laurie Halse Anderson

If I could pick anyone’s brain, it’d be Laurie Halse Anderson. She writes the most incredible YA books and manages to deal with tough, relevant issues sensitively without shying away from them. Exactly the kind of thing I’d like to be able to.

George – The Famous Five

I always wondered how George grew up, after spending her childhood dressing and identifying as a boy and refusing to answer to the name Georgina. There are theories now that she was a very early example of a trans character in children’s literature, even though she’s simply described as a “tomboy” in the books. I read the books when I was very young and they were a big influence on me in terms of not being “girly” and conforming to gender stereotypes, and even then it broke my heart wondering what George would have done when she reached puberty and potentially found it more difficult to “pass”.

Kell – A Darker Shade of Magic

Oh he’d have absolutely no time for me whatsoever, but still.

Alison Croggon

Another author I’d love to hang out with, and talk about worldbuilding. Alison Croggon has created a rich, intricate setting and lore in the Pellinor series and I’d love to know how she manages it. I wouldn’t even know where to begin.

Aled and Frances – Radio Silence

I really, really identify with Aled and Frances in different ways. I always say that Radio Silence is the book I wish I’d had when I was in high school – I like to think I’d have been friends with them both.

V.E. Schwab

Based on nothing other than Instagram, I can absolutely see myself hanging out with V.E. Schwab in some coffee shop with mahogany furniture and a log fire.


This is a great prompt, and I can’t wait to see who other people would take out for coffee!

Six For Sunday | Autumnal Colours

I LOVE AUTUMN. Not only does it mean it’s my birthday, but there’s something really magical and delicious about the days getting shorter and the sun generally getting lower and bringing out the jumpers and hot water bottles. Here are six of the books that make me feel like it’s just around the corner.

Ink – Alice Broadway

Shiny bronze cover with leaves and birds? I can almost taste the November wind in Princes Street Gardens just looking at the cover of Ink.

I Was Born For This – Alice Oseman

I love Alice Oseman’s books and orange screams “autumn” to me. Leaves and Halloween!

The Crow – Alison Croggon

Again, I will never pass up an opportunity to stick a Pellinor book into the conversation.

Refuge – Dina Nayeri

I picked Refuge from my TBR list on Goodreads because at first glance I thought these were golden apples. They’re cherries, but I’m still getting a definite autumn vibe.

Nice Try, Jane Sinner – Lianne Oelke

Nice Try, Jane Sinner is one of the multitude of TBR books I’ve been meaning to pick up for years. Even her clothes on the cover seem autumnal to me!

Bonfire – Krysten Ritter

I don’t know if it’s because I burn a lot of candles as the evenings get earlier or because it reminds me of the fire pit in my parents’ garden, but the smell of wood smoke makes me think of autumn and winter. Bonfire looks like the kind of book I’d pick up on a rainy October afternoon with a coffee.


I can’t wait to see the other autumn books in this Six for Sunday. I’m so ready for summer to be over this year, so anything that gets me in the mood early is a bonus!

Six For Sunday | Summer Colours

Thoroughly tired of summer after heatwave after heatwave and attempting to keep a very small baby happy. I can’t wait to start wearing my 4756435 jumpers again, but in the meantime here’s some summery-looking books.

The Square Root of Summer – Harriet Reuter Hapgood

This was such an obvious pick it almost seems too easy. Perfect summer holiday reading.

The Sun Is Also A Star – Nicola Yoon

A book that’s on my “I haven’t read this for ages and I’ve forgotten what happens but I know I enjoyed it so I’m going to read it again” list. Top tier colours, too!

The Virgin Suicides – Jeffrey Euginedes

I picked his because the cover looks summery but honestly I fucking hated this book. I’m sure it’s really poignant and clever and there’s probably a whole load of metaphor but I found it desperately pretentious.

The Fault In Our Stars – John Green

John Green’s writing doesn’t really vibe with me – his dialogue always feels a bit “off” – but he’s resonated with so many young people and given then hope and joy and I have a huge amount of respect for him.

Boy Meets Girl – Meg Cabot

Romance isn’t a genre I go into very often – most of the time if I pick up a romance book it’s on a whim, or there’s nothing else available. I found this one in a charity shop and bought it because I loved the Princess Diaries books, but I ended up really enjoying it. I’ve reread it loads.

The Miseducation of Cameron Post – Emily M. Danforth

TMOCP has been on my TBR for so long it feels like a personal attack whenever I come across someone talking about it. Also the cover is stunning.


Six For Sunday: Winter Colours

I used to really hate winter. My SAD used to go through the roof from about September onward and I have distinct memories of standing in the pouring rain one December at a crossing in my university town, feeling absolutely the most miserable I have ever felt.

Now that I’m in a better place, I really love dark, cosy evenings and the sound of the rain battering against the window. I love when the sun never really gets above the horizon

And I love the colours. Autumn is good but winter is black and gold and blue and silver. Here’s some of the books I pulled out of my bookcase that scream ICE AND COLD AND LONG DARK NIGHTS to me.

A Shiver of Snow and Sky – Lisa Lueddecke

Not only does the title scream “it’s winter, read me in the early evening twilight while the rain batters off the windows”, the cover LITERALLY has snow on it.

Six of Crows – Leigh Bardugo

I love Six of Crows. It was one of the last books I read before I completely broke away from books and reading and it’s still one of my favourites.

The Impossible Knife of Memory – Laurie Halse Anderson

Laurie Halse Anderson is my favourite YA author – she tackles tough subjects in a really sensitive way without dumbing them down or patronising her audience. TIKOM tackles PTSD in veterans and having a parent struggling with their mental health.

Persepolis – Marjane Satrapi

I can’t remember exactly who I saw raving about Persepolis on Booktube, but I found a copy in my local comic store and, after the daughter of the owner confirmed it was an excellent read I bought it. Started reading while I was pregnant, got distracted by Animal Crossing. It’s next on my TBR though…

Faerie Tale – Raymond E. Feist

My husband, although not much of a reader now, used to be a huge fantasy nerd and loved Raymond Feist. I don’t get on hugely well with high fantasy, but he assured me that Faerie Tale was more my thing. It’s been sitting in our porch since we moved into this house in 2016, but I’ve just promoted it to The Bedside Table, so I’ll get to it eventually. Cracking icy-grey cover, too.

The Riddle – Alison Croggon

Did you really think I wasn’t going to fit a Pellinor book in somewhere?


I can’t wait to see other winter picks. Not only do I need to flesh out my TBR, but I’m all about aesthetics – and I’m REALLY in the mood for summer to be over this year!

Six for Sunday: Favourite Books People Never Seem To Know About.

MY DUDES. My time has come.

Six for Sunday is a weekly book meme hosted by Steph at Alittlebutalot. There are so many books that I never see getting any love, so strap in, I’m about to take you on a trip through six of them.

The Entire Pellinor Series – Alison Croggon

I found these books in a charity shop and have been heavily obsessed ever since. I love all of the characters, I love the plot, I love the setting, I love how heavily the arts influence the world and the lives of the people who live there and it’s just GLORIOUS.

Guitar Girl – Sarra Manning

Guitar Girl

This was one of my first, if not THE first YA book I ever owned, and I love it. My dream as a fourteen year old was to be in a band, despite having only the bare minimum of musical talent, so I lived vicariously through other mediums. Molly, the lead protagonist (and singer) of Guitar Girl writes songs about Hello Kitty and working a dead-end job and is pretty much a straight up BAMF. All the characters are so flawed and precious and it’ll break your heart and make you want to form a three-chord band. AND SO YOU SHOULD.

The Impossible Knife of Memory – Laurie Halse Anderson

The Impossible Knife of Memory

Laurie Halse Anderson is my hero. Speak is a book I bang the drum for at every opportunity, but The Impossible Knife of Memory is a brilliant book. It’s the story of Hayley and her war veteran father who suffers from PTSD and traumatic flashbacks, and the struggle as they move back to their home town after a nomadic life. LHA’s books are always so authentic, and her characters so acerbic and vulnerable and Hayley is no different.

What Every Girl (Except Me) Knows – Nora Raleigh Baskin

What Every Girl (Except Me) Knows

Nora Raleigh Baskin is also a QUEEN and one of the staples of my early YA reading. WEGEMK is a book about a young girl who has grown up with her father and older brother and is desperate for a stepmother so she has someone to teach her the things that all the other girls learn from their mothers. It’s a gorgeous wee book about friendship and growing up as a girl and finding out who you are. I loved it when I was eleven and I love it now.

Dogger – Shirley Hughes

dogger

This is a book that very few people seem to remember. I loved Dogger when I was really young, although it BROKE MY HEART because I was an overly sensitive child. Thank god it has a happy ending.

Based on the name people seem to assume that I’m making this book up but I’m not. Promise.

If Only They Could Talk – James Herriot

if only they could talk

I basically swallowed these whole as a child. I’m pretty sure everyone will have heard of James Herriot, but I’m not sure how many people have read his books. They’re incredibly sweet, a glorious trip through the Yorkshire countryside, and they’re so hysterically clever and witty that I challenge you read this without at least cracking a smile.

*

I’m now in the mood to read all of these again. Except maybe Dogger. Probably not going to pull Dogger out on the train.

What books haven’t I heard of that I should have? Please open my eyes.

Six For Sunday | Favourite Snacks to Read With

snacls

Snacks are my favourite. Unfortunately last year, after some science (namely a decade of sporadic ill health) I realised that I was gluten intolerant. It’s frankly taken all the fun out of it. Nevertheless, I’m the hangriest person on the planet, so if I’m sitting down, I’m probably a) reading something and b) eating.

Gin

Yes, it’s a liquid. Is it still a snack? I’m calling it.

I can’t think of anything that I wouldn’t enjoy doing if I had a G&T to be honest. Blame my mother.

gin
Even flying is tolerable with a cheeky wee Botanist!

Cheese and crackers

MATE. I love cheese. Give me some Applewood smoked and some crackers and I’m happy forever. Or at least until the cheese has gone.

Crumpets

I hadn’t tried a crumpet until this year. I can only imagine how good the non-gluten-free versions are. There’s a slight issue of butter saturation and greasy pages so proceed carefully if you try it.

Bananas

I eat a lot more fruit now than I used to, and bananas are the easiest and least messy. I’m all about efficiency.

Pizza

Pizza is my all time favourite food. I’ll still quite happily put away a Goodfellas and read a book at the same time.

Coffee

If I can claim gin on this list I’m having coffee as well. I have a Tassimo coffee machine and it has ruined me. Instant coffee just ain’t the same.

hot choc.jpg
Okay, so this is a hot chocolate but my machine does those too. Plus this one was A+.

Please let me come round to your house and go into your fridge and read your books. And if anyone knows any decent gluten free pizza outlets, let me know. I’m frequently bereft.