How are you? I hope you're all safe and well.♥
Whilst looking through Instagram - which is my favourite social media platform (you're more than welcome to check out my page at @crazy.cream.retrievers.x) , I discovered #bookstagram. If, like me, you love books, then this is right up your street.
I've made a few new friends on there already and it's a great way to connect with fellow bookworms.
One of the features I found on #bookstagram is book-trees.
Many book-lovers on IG have photographed their own book-trees; books they plan to read.
However, this book-tree, which is accompanied by the ever-lovely Poppy, is compiled of 'just some' of my favourite Middle-Grade fiction.
Many of these books I've read over and over - especially Skellig by the great David Almond. It's no exaggeration when I say that I've read this at least 12 times!
I love a story which is written in such a way that is feels as though the writer is talking to you. A natural flow of words in a language which is fluid, easy to listen to and...real.
I'm not a lover of flowery, tongue-twisting words which leave you reaching for the dictionary at every paragraph.
Authors such as Stephen King and Jodi Picoult can capture a scene by both imagery and emotion in just a few words. Now that's a gift.
Here, in Skellig, Almond writes in a raw, simple and perfectly portrayed style. It's believable, relatable and has you fully immersed in the story from the get-go. And yet, there is a supernatural element which could set this story as pure fantasy - but it doesn't.
The way Almond writes, this story convinces the reader that this could be real.
That's the beauty of this book. It makes you stop and think.
For those of you who are not familiar with this book, here is the blurb:
Michael steps into the crumbling garage. What is this thing beneath the spiders' webs and dead flies? A human being, or a strange kind of beast never seen before? The only person Michael can confide in is Mina. Together, they carry the creature out into the light, and Michael's world changes for ever...
David Almond has written so many great books. Another one of my favs is A Song for Ella Grey.
This book is completely different to anything I've ever read before.
It's set in a bleak northern England landscape yet the story is told in such a way that the whole scene is beautiful and wild. It makes me think of Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights - one which will definitely feature in my 'Classics' book-tree.
A Song for Ella Grey includes elements of Greek mythology which is something else I've always been interested in. Orpheus, the legendary musician, poet and prophet from ancient Greek mythology is entwined within the story from start to finish.
The story of Orpheus is a tragic love story...
Orpheus was the son of the God Apollo and the Muse Calliope.
He was a gifted musician, so gifted that no god or mortal could resist his music.
Orpheus fell in love with a wood nymph called Eurydice. She in turn became spell-bound by his music and they both found it impossible to be apart.
They were married and what followed was a great day of feasting and celebration.
But, like most of these stories, tragedy soon followed.
The beautiful and shy Eurydice stumbled upon a nest of vipers and was fatally bitten.
Grief stricken by the death of his new bride, Orpheus called upon his father, Apollo, for help.
Orpheus, unable to go on without his beloved, wanted to travel to the Underworld in search of Eurydice. His father talked to Hades - the god of the Underworld.
Armed with only his Lyre, Orpheus stood before Hades and his Queen, Persephone. He sang to them about Eurydice being returned to him. Both Hades and Persephone felt the sorrow in his music and wept.
So touched was Hades that he agreed to let Eurydice go - but on one condition...
As they journeyed back to the Upper World, Eurydice would follow him, but, on no condition, must Orpheus look back at his beloved. Only when they had reached the Upper World, was Orpheus allowed to look upon his love once more.
And so their journey began.
Orpheus could hear Eurydice's footsteps behind him, following him to the Upper World. His heart raced yet he resisted the temptation to look back at her - remembering Hades' words.
The exit was in sight. So eager was he to look into the eyes of Eurydice again and hold her in his arms - yet he was determined to do as Hades commanded.
Orpheus stepped into the Upper World and was so overjoyed that he immediately spun around to greet his wife. Only, Eurydice had not yet stepped foot into the Upper World.
He caught a glimpse of her as the darkness drowned her, pulling her back into the Under World forever.
Orpheus was never to see Eurydice again.
From then on, Orpheus' music was filled with sorrow.
The moral of this story? Don't look back.
Elements of A Song for Ella Grey, also reminded me of my years at Art College. Those carefree, fun times as a student. Whereas, Ella Grey and her friends pitched tents in the sand dunes and ate pasta and drank wine, I remember sitting in the paddling pool at Brinton's Park drinking strawberry wine with my friends during long hot summer afternoons!
Abi Elphinstone and Neil Gaiman are two more of my favourite authors. Their imagination takes you to another world - to far away places but with the same problems and lessons in life which we all face.
It doesn't matter how far out of this world these books take you, with their wonderful characters such as; Coraline, Bod and Silas from The Graveyard Book, Moll Pecksniff and Gryff the brave wildcat, from the Dreamsnatcher series by Abi Ephinstone, Cally Louise and Homeless - the gentle giant from Sarah Lean's A Dog Called Homeless...
there is always something the reader can relate to which they've either experienced or are currently going through in this crazy, unpredictable world.
With such a wealth of wonderful stories stretching far back as to the ancient Greeks up to the twenty-first century, it's hardly surprising that I am compelled to write stories of my own.
To write is what keeps me sane! To write and have people enjoy my work as much as I enjoy the works of the writers I've mentioned in this blog, is my dream...
I've only scratched the surface of the books featured on my MG book-tree. Each one deserves a mention and that is what I'll do, in my next blog.
Happy reading everyone 🙂