Having moved on from the fantasy section of my library, I was surprised to find myself with very empty shelves. I hadn't realised previously, but a huge percentage of my books are fantasy in some shape or form, from The Lord of The Rings, to Harry Potter, to Interview With A Vampire. I really had to think hard about this section.
Flowers in The Attic
I fell in love with this series at what was probably an inappropriate age. It had a huge effect on my developing mind and I can probably blame it for my love of all things gothic and macabre...and on the way I write many of my stories. It has everything from captivity, mental health issues, cruelty, murder and incest.
At the top of the stairs, there are four secrets hidden—blond, innocent, and fighting for their lives…
They were a perfect and beautiful family—until a heartbreaking tragedy shattered their happiness. Now, for the sake of an inheritance that will ensure their future, the children must be hidden away out of sight, as if they never existed. They are kept in the attic of their grandmother’s labyrinthine mansion, isolated and alone. As the visits from their seemingly unconcerned mother slowly dwindle, the four children grow ever closer and depend upon one another to survive both this cramped world and their cruel grandmother. A suspenseful and thrilling tale of family, greed, murder, and forbidden love, Flowers in the Attic is the unputdownable first novel of the epic Dollanganger family saga.
The Dollanganger series includes: Flowers in the Attic, Petals in the Wind, If There Be Thorns, Seeds of Yesterday, Garden of Shadows, Beneath the Attic, and Out of the Attic.
This is the series that sparked my children's love for history. I have always been very much interested in history, but these books were pitched perfectly to capture the young imagination, presenting historical fact among hysterical comedy.
My love affair with history went back a long way. I joined the local historical society when I was about fourteen. We had exhibits in the museum proper, mainly trains to be honest as the people who ran the society were mainly middle-aged geeks. However, we had a fabulous collection of local history memorabilia which we took out on tour.
Later, I joined an Iron Age re enactment society and really indulged my love for history by living it.
Strangely, I have never enjoyed historical fiction.
THE HORRIBLE HISTORY OF THE WORLD presents the foul but fascinating story of humans from brain-nibbling Neanderthals to terrified teenage soldiers in the twentieth century. You can discover why Alexander the Great banned beards, what smelly sport was played by samurai warriors and who tried to bump off her enemies with a cake made with poisoned bath-water.
It's all you ever need to know about the wicked world - all the gore and more!
This is just an overview. There are dozens of them covering specifics such as the Rotten Roman, Cruel Castles and Vile Victorians.
The Mabinogion (and other books regarding folklore and customs)
There are those who would say that this is another fantasy, but to them I would say "Pish". These are snapshots of a people, a community, a society and gives a peep into their psyches and what made them tick at a very basic level. It shows up their fears and insecurities, tells us about the way they live day-to-day, and in some of the old stories give us a roadmap to their religious beliefs.
The Mabinogion consists of the earliest prose literature in Great Britain, the manuscripts of which originate in 12th century Welsh, with some dating earlier, to the oral tradition of the Middle Ages. Many of the stories in the Mabinogion would become famous anew thanks to the efforts of the translator. Rendered in modern English, the narratives of an era long-departed reflect the time - events such as war, the idea of chivalric romance, and the prevalence of sorcery and mystical goings on are common devices in the stories.
Much of what is here was passed onto other, later authors - the notion of the Medieval era as one laden with strange beasts, magic, and valiant combat originates with tales like those in the Mabinogion.
This edition of the ancient stories was translated by Lady Charlotte Guest, an English aristocrat who was most famous for this work. Accomplished with languages from a young age, she gathered from obscure archives the manuscripts, arranged and presented them in modern English.
I would also count under this heading just about anything involving with myths legends and cultures of Wales, England and Scotland. While much of it involves elements of the supernatural, the customs and history involved are fascinating. Ii tells us more about the people who wrote the stories than the people who inhabit them. Yet again, my love for the books arises out of my love for history.
That's about all I can think of, but it should be enough to give you a peek into what lies behind the scenes in making me the crazy human being I am today.