This post was inspired by this one by fellow writer, Joan Livingston. I’ve even used the same title. I hope she doesn’t mind.

I’ve moved around in my life, possibly not as much as Joan, but I did move countries. In fact I just celebrated that anniversary – forth-three years, which is at the same time hard to believe and feels obvious. As I was fairly young at the time of the move, I hadn’t acquired enough stuff to warrant sending a container. I just took what I could in my suitcase.

My Oldest Books

What books did I bring with me? I don’t think I brought all of these in one go, but I brought some back with me on each visit. So, these are all books I had in the UK, which arrived in Israel, either on that first day or soon afterwards, and have remained with me ever since. There might be more; this is what a cursory search produced:

The Golden Treasury of the Best Songs and Lyrical Poems in the English Language, selected and arranged by Francis Turner Palgrave

I inherited this book, published in 1952, from my big brother. There are poems by Tennyson, Marlowe, Shakespeare, Byron, Milton, Keats, Scott, Wordsworth, Browning, and more.

The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells

I haven’t read much science fiction, and this is probably my first read of the genre.

Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

I haven’t read any of his books for a long time, but he used to be a favourite of mine.

The History of Mr. Polly by H.G. Wells

I had to read this for ‘O’ level English Lit. Even so, I enjoyed it.

Exodus by Leon Uris

This was probably one of the first things that influenced my decision to move to Israel.

A Room with a View by E.M. Forster

Funnily enough, I recently saw the film and the story came flooding back to me.

How to be a Jewish Mother by Dan Greenburg

I loved this book when I was quite little. I still remember at least one joke:

Give your son Marvin two sports shirts as a present. The first time he wears one of them, look at him sadly and say in your Basic Tone of Voice: “The other one you didn’t like?”

Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Another ‘O’ level book I enjoyed.

The Star and the Sword by Pamela Melnikoff

The book I would never lend! First of all, it was the first book I read in which I identified with the main characters. Even though it’s set in medieval times, the two Jewish children felt closer than any from books by Enid Blyton or any other story I’d read up to then. Also, this book contains a note to me from Gabriel Costa, a lovely man who lived in our street. He was in his nineties when he gave me the book in 1965, and still wrote book reviews for newspapers.

Note to me from Gabriel Costa

The Oxford Companion to Music by Percy A. Scholes

This hefty volume helped me get through ‘O’ and ‘A’ level music. Who would buy a book like that, these days, when all the information is available online?

How about you? What books have always accompanied you?

And while you’re thinking about that…

Remember my books, available from Amazon: Social Anxiety Revealed and Cultivating a Fuji.

AuthorsWilliam Golding

Wikipedia says,

Sir William Gerald GoldingKt., CBE (19 September 1911 – 19 June 1993) was an English novelist, playwright, and poet who won a Nobel Prize in Literature, and is best known for his novel Lord of the Flies. He was also awarded the Booker Prize for literature in 1980 for his novel Rites of Passage, the first book in what became his sea trilogy, To the Ends of the Earth.

Golding was knighted by Elizabeth II in 1988. He was a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. In 2008, The Times ranked Golding third on their list of “The 50 greatest British writers since 1945”.

Jeff Gardiner

Crooked Cat says,

Jeff’s short story collection, ‘A Glimpse of the Numinous’, contains slipstream, horror, humour and romance and has enjoyed some excellent reviews. His non-fiction work, ‘The Law of Chaos’, explores the works of writer Michael Moorcock and to be published in all e-book formats. Many of his stories can be found in small press anthologies, magazines or websites.

When he isn’t writing, Jeff is also a parent, an English and Drama teacher, as well as a (very amateur) actor. He has just completed a novel set in Nigeria during the Biafran War and is currently working on further fiction for young adults.

Myopia, his contemporary YA novel about a bullied school boy was released in December 2012. His latest novel, Igboland, was out in February 2014.

The Link

Jeff says, “Like me, William Golding was an English teacher. His first novel, ‘Lord of the Flies’ was finally published after many rejections (21) and when he was in his forties. That same novel accurately describes many of my less effective lessons. He also had an interest in theatre and acting; I also teach Drama and have performed a number of roles on stage. But only one of us has won the Nobel Prize for Literature. I’ll leave you to work out who….”

I remember three books I’ve read about bullying in the past. In all three, the victims were boys.

In William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, Piggy is an obvious victim. He’s obese, he wears thick glasses and he says all the wrong things. He remains that way to the bitter end.

Marcus, in Nick Hornby’s About a Boy, is a bit strange. I loved this book but was disappointed in the end when Marcus stopped being strange with no transition from one state to the other.

In Nineteen Minutes, Jodi Picoult does a great job of portraying Peter, the boy who has taken as much as he can and gets his revenge by going on a shooting spree. (I’m not giving anything away because this happens right at the beginning.) When it comes to Josie, the plot becomes unbelievable, in my view, but that’s another topic.

Jeff Gardiner‘s Myopia, which I read recently, has a much more believable plot. It’s aimed at young adults, and so I had to get used to the style, but it works very well and definitely held my interest.

And yet I was disappointed when I finished it. Jerry, the victim, seemed too normal. The bullying eventually turned him into a hero. It all seemed too easy.

Then my vision cleared as I realised what my problem was. This story isn’t my story. It’s very different. But that doesn’t make it any less valid. In fact, it’s probably more typical than mine. And all stories about bullying serve a useful purpose in helping readers to understand what bullying does.

Well done, Jeff, for tackling this difficult topic in such a sensitive way.

***

Writing the above list made me realise that I’ve never read a book about a girl who is bullied. Have you? Can you recommend one?