Top Ten Posts – Blogger Birthday Edition

Girl with her Head in a Book is four years old!  At some point in September 2011, I transferred the reviews from my Word Document into online review form and so the website was born.  I have a very poor track record of remembering my own anniversary but this year, I decided to make an effort.  I decided to pick the posts that I have enjoyed most of all or which have been most significant within the life of the site.  I’m trying to steer clear of my favourite Top Ten Tuesdays, since I already covered those in my Top Ten Top Ten Tuesdays a few months ago – but there’s no doubt that those have been terrific fun.  A book that is fun to blog about is not necessarily a book that is fun to read – there have been a fair few books that have been slow and painful to get through and then great fun to rip to pieces and the list reflects that too.  Thank you for reading, thank you for visiting – happy birthday to me!

Katherine Swynford, Alison Weir
katherine anya seton

I have to pick this  one first of all and it’s not just because she is responsible for such a large proportion of my site traffic.  I may have mentioned my personal theory that she is the site’s fairy godmother but I think there’s more to it than that – when I wrote the review of Katherine, it was one of the first reviews I did that was not just of the book that I happened to have just finished but rather one that I had truly loved.  I think it helped me to think about what I want to share on the site – if I share the books I love, then there is surely going to be something on here that people can relate to.

The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins
hunger games

This one was so much fun to write, far better than the actual trilogy was to read.  I really enjoyed musing on love triangles and how they are all essentially the same.  Being Girl with her Head in a Book has really helped me think about patterns in literature and how formulae repeat.  Plus it was really fun to write about how much I hate love triangles – just make your mind up, people!

The Boy in Striped Pyjamas, John Boyne
striped pjs

I loathe this book, really and truly loathe it.  It offends me.  Writing the review was very cathartic – my thoughts on literature are that it is fine to dislike a book provided you can explain why that is and I have no difficulty here.  What has been best of all though is discovering how many people out there agree with me.  Thank you, Internet, thank you.

How to be a Heroine, Samantha Ellis
how to be a heroine

I love this book – I actually couldn’t hold out for the paperback which is rare for me.  Reading and reviewing it was quite an emotional experience, it also made me realise how being a reader is truly a superpower in taking control over one’s own life.  I plan to reread soon.

Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen

It took me far longer than was planned to get round to re-reading his one but again, it was such a pleasure to write down how I felt about it.  Being a few years in to the blogging experience, it was truly refreshing to start writing again about the books I love rather than the books that other people want me to write about.  There’s a balance to be struck but I know which ones are the most fun.

Fifty Shades of Grey, E L James
fifty shades cover

This one was a big step forward for me – I’m a good girl who hung around the Christian Union at university, drinks a lot of tea and wears a great deal of pink.  I am not the kind of girl who reads Fifty Shades of Grey.  But I did.  And it was boring.  Another example of when the site forced me to face the books that make me squeamish – other examples include Forgetting Zoe.

What’s So Amazing About Grace, Phillip Yancey

This was my most personal ever blog post – I got someone to give it the once-over before I hit send – but it was a very healing experience.  Blogging is the least expensive form of therapy ever.

Northanger Abbey, Val McDermid
northanger abbey

This one was great fun to read but the best part came from the response I got after I wrote it.  Not only did Val McDermid tweet that she liked my review (good for the blogger stats) but two online magazines republished it.  A real turning moment for the site!

Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell
gone with the wind

People take a look at the book Gone with the Wind and they see a brick.  It’s nearly 1000 pages.  But it slips straight down – it’s one of the easiest reads out there.  I had missed out on reading it as a teenager as just about everyone else does but when I finally got round to it last year, it was a pleasure.  What was fun though was sitting down to write about it though – with a story that huge, you don’t just want to walk away afterwards and move straight on to the next thing.  Blogging is great for ‘closure’ – for gathering one’s thoughts.

The Slap, Christophe Tsolkias

I read this book, disliked it, reviewed it.  A few months later, the television series came out and someone asked me what I had thought of it and I remarked vaguely that it had been very good.  I reread my review and remembered what I had actually thought.  This was a very early review within the site’s history and it was a useful lesson – it’s really easy to forget what you think of something and keeping a record is kind of handy.

The Woman Reader, Belinda Jack
the woman reader

I read this one, an incredibly dense read, but it was a fascinating history of the process of reading and female access to it.  It did make me think afterwards though about what the blogging platform represents – the next stage in reading and an open access point to information.  I am a twenty-first century woman reader and I wonder how things will change in my lifetime.

The Compleet Molesworth, Ronald Searle and Geoffrey Willians

Pure escapism – Molesworth has been my dear friend since childhood – the Internet is worthwhile purely because it includes a Molesworth inspired Twitter account.  Again, writing this review was fabulous fun because so many people got in touch to share their love for He Who Cannot Spell Correctly – I may have started blogging for personal enjoyment but what has made me love it so much has been the lovely messages I have had over the past four years.

Thank you to everyone for reading!

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5 thoughts on “Top Ten Posts – Blogger Birthday Edition

  1. Well done on your four years! Blogging seems like a good idea, but actually writing stuff and posting takes more effort than people realise. Good for you for actually sticking with it, please continue to do so.
    I discovered your blog searching for stuff about ‘Swallows and Amazons’, then, more importantly I saw your review of ‘The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas’ and found out I was not alone in my dislike of this book (and all it represents.) After that I continued to look every day.
    So thank you for some interesting reviews, pointing out books I would never have considered (and poems) and some lively exchanges of views – I look forward to many more!

  2. I posted my first comment this morning, now, late afternoon, I’ve had more time to read some of your actual reviews. Most importantly, the review of Philip Yancey. What a revelatory piece and how courageous of you to post it. Those who have troubled lives sometimes forget others do as well. You are a survivor, and clearly hold dear to you those that have helped you survive. On this blog you appear to us remote anonymous readers (well, this one) a good person. May you so continue.

    1. Thanks Mike – for both comments! It’s always good to hear your thoughts, they are always very considered and it’s good to have that kind of engagement on the site. And you’re right – I’ve known other people announce they were going to start blogging and then they crumbled over time. It does take commitment and can be a balancing act.

      As far as “What’s So Amazing About Grace” – I wrote that review a long time ago about events that had happened a long time before that but I remember most of all how much better I felt after I wrote it. I think it was something that I needed to get out at the time, but I feel quite distant from it now. It’s very long, so well done if you got through the whole thing. I am very fortunate in my friendships and in my family and I think that the art of letting go – both of old wrongs and of relationships that do us harm – is a hard-won but necessary skill. Thank you very much for your kind words, they are appreciated.

    1. Oh so true – whenever I get sent a book I don’t like, I know I’m not going to struggle to put together a review. It’s the slightly ‘blah’ books in the middle that are slightly harder to critique. Also very true about the books we love – it’s that excitement that got me going in the first place – and I am so glad that you enjoyed How to be a Heroine! That book makes me so happy every time I pick it up!

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