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The 'Anne' Series - L.M. Montgomery

'I’ve always felt that out of all the literary characters I’ve spent time with, Anne Shirley would have been the ideal best friend, or, bosom buddy, as she would say. Something about her irrepressible optimism paired with her wholly original view of the world makes me love coming back to her when life gets overwhelming or frightening. I like to think of her as one of my (many) literary life coaches.' - Kristy Pasquariello 

 

This is a true classic series in every sense of the word. It has spawned many adaptations since it was first published and although they are all good in their own right, none of them has ever been able to truly capture the full magic of the books and I am desperate for someone to do a faithful adaptation of the whole series.

Gilbert Blythe was probably one of my earliest crushes. I think whenever I imagined the kind of man I might end up married to, he was probably the model for that invisible figure. From the moment he called her 'Carrots' and she smashed her slate over his head, Anne and Gilbert were destined for each other.  However, it is Anne herself who draws me back to these books, even as an adult.

"People laugh at me because I use big words. But if you have big ideas, you have to use big words to express them, haven't you?”  The perfect quote for someone like me!

 

There are very few books from my childhood that had such a lasting impact on me, but this series certainly did. So much so, in fact, that I've blogged about it twice! Anne was the subject of my first ever proper blog post  - here and featured again on a later post about the third book of the series, which can be found here.

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The Dark Is Rising Sequence - Susan Cooper

'These are not books for children – they are books for people’ - Robert Macfarlane in his Introduction to the series, Puffin Books, 2019

This is another series from my own childhood that I still read as an adult, taking part in the annual #thedarkisreading event. They are a mixture of fantasy, magic and reality and it's an intoxicating blend. It's the old story of the long battle between good and evil with some mythology thrown in for good measure, but one of the reasons I love these books so much is that although they are aimed primarily at children, they are not written in that way. Cooper's use of language is almost poetic at times and the books do not 'talk down' to their readers.

I've written two blog posts - here and here - about this series, as well as one essay for my Masters Degree, here.

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Rick Riordan

'My only regret is that I didn't have it when I was twelve years old because I would have read this until it was falling apart in my hands. Every insecure kid (so basically every kid) should read The Lightning Thief. I would want my hypothetical kids of the future to read this book. It's the ultimate childhood fantasy - discovering that everything people labelled as "weird" or negative about you is actually caused by your secret awesomeness. Pretty perfect message, if you ask me.'  - Emily May, via Goodreads

My introduction to Rick Riordan was through the Percy Jackson books and the various follow up series in that universe. When he branched out into Egyptian and then Norse mythology I was a little dubious at first. Yes, the books all follow a very similar pattern, but my feeling is that if it's not broken, don't try and fix it. The books work. I also like the fact that although the right side always triumphs, there are casualties along the way and certainly the later Trials of Apollo books don't shy away from the idea of what happens when the glory is over and the demi-gods return to the realities of every day life. These books might be written for children, but even as an adult, I thoroughly enjoyed them.I particularly love the fact that references are made across the different series as it makes it feel like one massive demi-god universe.

The series are:

- Percy Jackson and the Olympians

- The Heroes of Olympus

- The Trials Of Apollo

- The Kane Chronicles

- Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard

My full blog about these books can be found here.