The Book That Made Me….

Not so long ago (probably a year now!) Waterstones began this campaign called ‘The Book that Made Me’ and invited readers to write about the books that made the deepest impression on them. When reading about this campaign it got me thinking, which book helped me become who I am today and made a huge impression on me? When thinking about it I could not pinpoint one book as for me there isn’t such a thing as A favourite book or A book that made me .. I believe that a person can have multiple books as their favourite as each book can touch someone in a different way.

When looking back at the books that I have read over the years, there are many that are special in their own way. One would be ‘Wish you Well’ by David Baldacci. Whenever someone asks me which would be the first book that pops in your head this is the one. ‘Wish you Well’ is about the Cardigan family and their misfortunes. It tells the story of a little girl who learns the true meaning of friendship and family and matures throughout the book. Skye was always a ‘daddy’s girl’ and always looked up to him. One fateful evening her father crushes their car killing him instantly and leaving their mother in a coma. She and her brother Oz, along with their comatozed mother, are sent to her grandmother’s estate in the Californian mountains and there she learns about life and hardship. It is a really good and moving book. It was the first book that made me cry. It wouldn’t be the kind of book that I would have bought, but my mum recommended it  telling me that she has read it more times than she can remember and now I have as well. It is a very well written book and would recommend it to anyone.

Another book that I suppose ‘made me’ was ‘Pompeii’ by Robert Harris. By reading ‘Pompeii’ my interest in Ancient Rome and its wonders became my main research during my undergraduate and postgraduate degree. When I first applied for universities I wasn’t sure what I wanted to study and which area of ancient history I was interested in. That is  until I read ‘Pompeii’ and ‘I, Claudius’ by Robert Graves. When I was reading ‘I, Claudius’ I was immediately hooked with the conspiracies and murders that surrounded the Roman Emperors and the fact that Claudius was ‘not Emperor material’. He was a brilliant man in my eyes though. Robert Graves’ book became the core material to my undergraduate dissertation in which I investigated the death of Claudius and whether he was murdered by his wife or died a natural death.

‘Pride and Prejudice’ by Jane Austen was the first book I ever read in the terms of classic literature. I remember watching BBC’s production of Pride and Prejudice starring Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle when I was young and falling in love with the story. After watching the production, I immediately went and read the book and fell even more in love with the story. Jane Austen introduced me to a list of authors that I did not know of as I was growing up in Greece (and did not introduce us to English & American literature). The likes of Charles Dickens, the Brontes, Anne Elliot, Elizabeth Gaskell, Robert Louis Stevenson and many more became part of my reading list and my small bedroom library. I began loving Victorian England and Edwardian England and could not wait for the next book on my list.

Thinking back to my childhood, there were a lot of books that I enjoyed reading but there is one that sticks in my head, and that is ‘Matilda’ by Roald Dahl. Now  the reason why that sticks in my head is because that book made me love reading, not to say that I did not love reading before this book, but ‘Matilda’ was something else. Sometimes I believe that Matilda’s love of books was transferred into me while I was reading the story. When I read of all the adventures and stories that Matilda went onto, I instantly wanted to go as well. It can make me sound silly at times but at ‘however-year-old-I-was’ it made sense!!

There are many more books; however, I feel that if I start listing all of them this post will turn into a small novel…!!

All these books have got a special place in my heart and will always have, I would gladly re-read them over and over again. You ask me to choose one book? That I cannot do! All these books and the books that I still read have made me the reader I am today and have made me want to pursue a career in publishing. Having a job surrounding books and the written word sounds ideal to me and would be a dream come true.

Books are part of my life and will always will be. Thank you for reading.

— K.J.Koukas