Tag yourself as a novelist from your childhood for a personalised book recommendation !
The ‘Roald Dahl’
-strong moral compass but you are guided by your own law (you think road rules are just suggestions).
-chaotic good; you talk shit about your friends to their face bc you want them to become well-rounded, self aware individuals.
-you fuck with Louis Theroux documentaries.
Quote you relate to:
‘If you are interested in something, no matter what it is, go at it full speed ahead. Embrace it with both arms, hug it, love it, become passionate about it. Lukewarm is no good. White hot and passionate is the only thing to be.’
[From Dahl’s ‘My Uncle Oswald’]
The ‘Jacqueline Wilson’
-somehow both mommy AND daddy issues??
-you’re excited to get into bed so you can make up silly, little scenarios in your head to put you to sleep (last time you won all the arguments you’ve ever lost in your life).
-very blase about your own trauma; uber compassionate about everyone else’s.
-you think Fleabag is the best work of television the world has ever known (and u are correct).
Quote you relate to:
“Dad said his new girlfriend was a godsend. If that was so, I wasn’t surprised. God was probably very happy to have got rid of her.”
The ‘Rick Riordan’
-genuinely funny but never at anyone else’s expense.
-can’t do basic math but knows a lot of fun facts; you can likely explain all the Greek myths in great detail.
-you like the way Death was personified as a snarky, lovable asshole in ‘The Book Thief’ (you yourself are a snarky, lovable asshole).
Quote you relate to:
“With great power…comes great need to take a nap.”
The ‘Stephenie Meyers’
-the submissive and breedable meme personified.
-there were 500 red flags in their tinder profile but red is your favourite colour.
-horny beyond belief.
-you probably write Y/N fanfiction in your notes app at night and delete it in the morning.
Quote you relate to:
“I decided as long as I’m going to hell, I might as well do it thoroughly.”
(No seriously, find God or a good therapist)
If you are a ‘Roald Dahl’:
I recommend ‘The Painted Drum’ by Louise Erdrich. In ‘Matilda’, Dahl urged us to “never do anything by halves. Be outrageous. Make sure everything you do is so completely crazy it’s unbelievable”. The message he was aiming to instil in our young minds was essentially: grab life by the balls. Erdrich’s novel promotes the same message but does so impenitently, without shying away from the realities of adult life. Following the main character’s quest-like journey to return an ancestral painted drum to the Ojibwe people, the real meat of the novel lies in the exploration of what happens when we shut ourselves off to the possibility of feeling grief. Being Native American herself, the author illustrates the multifaceted Obijwe culture in great detail, so you can learn something whilst she’s ripping your heart out! The narration is simple, frank and cutting and the main character (despite her weird obsession with ravens) is someone you will root for wholeheartedly.
A spoiler free quote to whet your appetite:
“Spiders make me wonder about my own purpose. What is beautiful that I make? What is elegant? What feeds the world?”
If you are a ‘Jacqueline Wilson’:
First of all, did Wilson realise she was writing for kids? Was there any particular reason every single protagonist was being neglected by their mother, passed from orphanage to orphanage or straight up dying?? Anyways, you grew up well-accustomed to the complexities of human relationships so I suggest you peruse Fleur Adcock’s ‘Selected Poems’. (Additionally, the brevity of the poems will let you get back to maladaptive daydreaming a lot faster). Similar to Wilson, Adcock’s writing style is intimate and honest – without being precious about it. She acknowledges flaws whilst finding beauty in the commonplace. I will let this little poem speak for itself:
For my 5 year old
A snail is climbing up the window-sill
into your room, after a night of rain.
You call me in to see, and I explain
that it would be unkind to leave it there:
it might crawl to the floor; we must take care
that no one squashes it. You understand,
and carry it outside, with careful hand,
to eat a daffodil.
I see, then, that a kind of faith prevails:
your gentleness is moulded still by words
from me, who have trapped mice and shot wild birds,
from me, who drowned your kittens, who betrayed
your closest relatives, and who purveyed
the harshest kind of truth to many another.
But that is how things are: I am your mother,
and we are kind to snails.
If you are a ‘Rick Riordan’:
I know for a fact you’ve already read ‘The Song of Achilles’ by Madeline Miller, you absolute simp. To satisfy that never-ending itch for Greek mythology (you delightful little nerd, you!) I suggest ‘Grief Lessons’ by Anne Carson. This work transcribes four old Greek plays into digestible, modern (and beautiful) language. The heroes are never afraid to take the piss out of the life-threatening situations they find themselves in and the relationships between characters are sincere and timeless.
“Pylades: I’ll take care of you.
Orestes: It’s rotten work.
Pylades: Not to me. Not if it’s you.”
And finally, if you are a ‘Stephenie Meyers’
Girl, have your friends ever liked a single person you dated?? Who could blame you when the first piece of romantic literature you got your clammy little hands on in your formative years, brainwashed you into thinking it’s cute when dudes climb into your window at night to watch you sleep?? Anyways, (this scathing indictment is as much for me as it is for you) please read ‘Paul’ by Daisy LaFarge. LaFarge walks us through a seeming love story that is actually a subtle and brilliant excavation of toxic relationships. Our main character Frances is a graduate student with her whole life ahead of her…if only she could get over her shite taste in men. Rather than romanticising the hell out of mean, gaslight-y, controlling male protagonists, LaFarge’s portrayal evoked this one goodreads review that I am particularly fond of: “3.5 I would have killed Paul in the first ten minutes of knowing him. Good book though”. Get to decolonizing that mindset ladies!
“He was often told he had a ‘firm grasp’ on the language, and always took this as a compliment. It made me think about the phrasing. Why ‘firm’? Why did understanding have to come with so much grasping, and force?”