thinking out loud

Three Books That Made Me Want to Learn About/Do Something

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme is for books that made me want to do or learn about something, and while I’m sure that a lot of books made me want to learn a lot of things, here are three books that made a big difference in my life in that sense. Also, this post is a few days late because all the prep for Cursed Child had taken over (most of) my life for the past week.



Girl Goddess #9 by Francesca Lia Block

This is a collection of short stories by Francesca Lia Block, who was probably the first contemporary (magical realist?) YA author that truly resonated with teen!me. This was also the first FLB book I ever read. While I’ve done things that could be considered as zines as a kid, the title story – which is written in zine format – made me realise that zines actually exist and are things that people actually make, how awesome is that? 


That got me into making my own zines and connecting with other FLB fans on an egroup called witchbaby (after one of FLB’s characters) and exchanging zines with them. The group also got me into other things I still love now, like fairy tales and punk music, but I guess the thing that started everything was Girl Goddess #9.


fireandhemlockFire & Hemlock by Diana Wynne Jones

Of course DWJ will be in this list! I credit Fire & Hemlock for getting me to play Dungeons & Dragons. Which I think may be weird, because the obvious choices would be Hexwood or Homeward Bounders which talk about war games, but no, it was Fire & Hemlock for me. I grew up knowing about D&D, but I never thought that I – being a girl – could actually take part, not until I read about Polly and Tom’s (and Polly and Nina’s) “let’s pretend” games, which reminds me of the storytelling bit of D&D. Polly’s thoughts on girl heroes and how Hero was a girl helped, too.


Another thing that reading Fire & Hemlock did was make me want to know more about the ballad of Tam Lin, which had me looking up not just various versions of the ballad, but also other Tam Lin retellings. Now Tam Lin is one of my favourite stories (and East of the Sun, West of the Moon is another).


84charingcross84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff

This book does make me romanticize the whole being a bookseller thing. And it made me want to work in a bookstore, for real. I loved the idea of connecting with other people, with total strangers, over books. Of course, it isn’t always like that, especially these days, when everyone’s just buying books online and more often than not people assume that despite working in a bookstore I had never read anything in my life (not totally undeserved; our bookstore is one of the very few in the city that employ passionate readers), and our store have policies against “chatting” with customers anyway, but – I have met a LOT of amazing people on the sales floor despite all that, so I still believe in the magic of random encounters.


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