In the Skin of a Lion, by Michael Ondaatjie.
16/17 years old. Year 12 English class
The first sentence of every novel should be: Trust me, this will take time but there is order here, very faint, very human.
I studied this book in year twelve with a great group of girls in a small advanced English class. I loved reading it and knew my friends where enjoying it as well. It was the first book I read all the way through from our high school syllabus and the only one can remember ten years later. We would skip class if my friend or I had not been able to do the homework and read up to the right section – so as not to have the plot spoiled by our English teacher.
The feeling of this book, reading it like a film and sorting out the delicate description in my mind – has stayed with me forever. I never looked at an avocado the same after reading about its slivered half moons.
Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand.
18 Years old. First Year at Art School
Do not let the hero in your soul perish in lonely frustration for the life you deserved and have never been able to reach.
I know sighting an Ayn Rand novel in a list of books that changed you life is somewhat of a risk, but I could not avoid the impact it has had on me. This book is so special to me, and not because of the political philosophies or the story line, though I did find it facinating and engrossing to read. But it was the first present my now Fiance gave me. At the time we knew nothing about Randian Philosophies or Objectivism. He brought himself a copy, and he posted one to me while I was on holidays with my family. Every night before we went to sleep we were able to read it to each other over the phone. It is one of my happiest memories I have, and the first time as an adult I felt the great joy of sitting still and listening to a story read out aloud.
Game of Thrones, by George R R Martin.
27 / 28 Years old. Traveling the world
I have a tender spot in my heart for cripples and bastards and broken things.
It took over nine months to read this series out loud with my fiance. We started in Bali, while we were away for three months, and then on the plan coming home, and in resturants around Sydney and then Merimbula. We read it while one of use cooked or exercised or stretched or did their nails ( that was just me – and im not that great at the nail thing still)
The Little Red Writing Book, by Mark Tredinnick.
21 years old. Dreaming of writing
The love I wrote (this book) from is my love for the act of writing itself, which is my life now—for the labour of building one good and shapely sentence after another and trusting it to hold you up even as you walk across it.
This book was given to me by my best friend on my 21st birthday. It was the first time someone had given me a gesture of encouragement towards writing. Her gift said ‘You should be a writer, you could do it’. She had thought so much about helping my career that she had found this book, brought it for me and writen in the cover. It is my favourite book inscription and one day, I hope others will learn just how important it is to give books as gifts, with a blessing or a message of love and support.
The Wonky Donkey, Graig Smith,
28 years old. Waiting with my nephew for his sister to be born
He only had three legs and one eye and he liked to listen to country music, He was a honky tonky, winky wonky donky…’
I read this book at exactly the right time in exactly the right place for it to be unforgettable – right when I had started to take a life too seriously. My sisters had both gone into labour the same evening in January this year. My mum had gone over to care for one of them and I was looking after my others sisters eldest and only other child. It was really late at night, and the excitement and tension of waiting for a baby to be born was keeping us both up. He was only 2 at the time, but he could feel something changing. He kept asking me when his brother was going to arrive. We lay under the covers of my bed with a torch, waiting for babies to be born – this book cracked us both up for ages – reading it over and over again until he finally feel asleep.
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