Books

My favourite author and my favourite people

Following on from my post Happy Roald Dahl Day! which you can read by clicking the link, I was really curious to see how many other people in my life enjoyed his literature.

So, after many messages to friends and family I have compiled a list of titles and reasons that made the cut as a favourite for the important people in my life.

I found it really interesting and quite surprising how many different answers I received, I guess that shows what I already knew, that his literature is important and each story he wrote is special! I love an author that can spark so much conversation! I also found it pretty amazing how many answers prompted a walk down memory lane for the people that I asked. So, thanks to everybody that contributed and I hope you all enjoy reading this.

The first answer I received was for a story that was really high on my list but didn’t quite make my top three and that is…

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THE WITCHES

Published in 1983 it tells the tale of an incredibly brave little boy taking on England’s witches, with some help from his loving grandmother! The witches are able to hide in plain sight which only makes the mission more difficult!

It was chosen because “he was ahead of the game” from a descriptive standpoint and because it sparked memories of watching the film adaptation every Halloween during childhood.

It was also chosen by another person that I asked because it depicts a “kid fighting evil which makes it a magical story full of adrenaline”. This person loves the horror genre as an adult and told me that this book could be what sparked that love, because it is a horror story for children.

The film version was also mentioned, with one particular scene that stands out: “the running down the cliff to save the baby in the pram”. Can you remember that scene? I do! My heart was in my mouth waiting to see if he saved the baby, the relief when he did was huge!

Hearing this reminded me about how many film adaptations of his stories exist and how they can be enjoyed as much as his written word!

With a film counterpart in mind that leads me to the next title on this list…

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CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY

Published in 1964 it tells the tale of Charlie, he is far from the luckiest little boy until Mr Willy Wonka provides an opportunity to explore his marvelous chocolate factory. Charlie’s whole life changes when he finds a precious golden ticket and witnesses the delights of the factory first hand. The other attendees are not so lucky however, their greed and indulgence are about to work against them!

“Gene Wilder in the original film was awesome” (I have to agree with this point)! But the book was chosen because “the message of being a decent person will reap rewards eventually” and the warning to “over indulgent parents” are important lessons that Roald Dahl wraps up into a magical story. I touched upon lessons in the linked post above and this shows Roald Dahl’s messages reached many people!

This story was also chosen by more than one person. The other person that picked it told me that it “takes you to another world, where a sense of realism is mixed with fantasy”. They also told me that “it pulls you in and you want to read more”. I can’t disagree with this point, it sums up perfectly how I feel about all of his literature!

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MATILDA

Published in 1988 it tells the tale of an incredibly gifted little girl who is misunderstood within her family. She finds a kindred spirit in her teacher Miss Honey, and together, with the help of a little magic, they defeat the evil Miss Trunchball and teach others, namely Matilda’s father Mr Wormwood, some important lessons along the way.

This was top of my personal list and I wasn’t surprised to see it come up again, but it was interesting to see different reasons to mine for why it is a favourite. This book was chosen because of a love for “all the characters and the fact that it becomes quite scary before all working out in the end”. I have to agree that Roald Dahl was a master at taking fear and suspense to the limit before presenting a happy ending!

Again, this title was chosen by more than one person. The second person to choose it summed it up in a wonderfully simplistic message of strength…”girl power”. Can’t argue with that!

Next on the list is a story that again was very close to making it into my top three and that is…

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THE BFG

Published in 1982 it tells the tale of little Sophie who is taken from her bed one night by a dreaded giant. Luckily for her however, this one is a good giant and together they team up to take down the evil giants once and for all!

Chosen because of “the idea that a child can always see the good in someone whatever they look like”. Yet again, it is the lesson that is presented to the reader that has made this a favourite. In my opinion this lesson is so important, particularly when we live in a society that can place so much importance upon appearance! I think many people could do with a reminder sometimes that looks can be the least important thing!

The next book that made the cut was again chosen by more than one person; for very different reasons and the title is…

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JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH

Published in 1961 it tells the tale of poor James. He has lost his parents and found himself living with his awful aunts! Life looks really bleak, until one day when the strangest thing happens and the adventure of a lifetime begins!

This was picked because “I remember playing the silk worm in a production of it when I was maybe 9 or 10. And I remember having to hang from the climbing frame in the assembly room, and just act sleepy all the time”. This person was the first person who gave me an answer dictated purely by a memory, as opposed to a reading of the book, and I found this really intriguing! It made me even more glad that I had the idea for this post because it meant that I got to find out a really cute story about a close friend that I perhaps wouldn’t have found out otherwise!

The other person that chose this title did so because, “the idea of escaping evil in a giant flying peach is amazing”. A fair point I think you would agree? Once again it is evidence of how Roald Dahl speaks to the child within us all.

The final title that I am going to include here is one that I am ashamed to say I have little recollection of reading, (I’m going to dig it out after this goes up though)! The book is…

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FANTASTIC MR FOX

Published in 1970 it tells the tale of Mr Fox and three nasty farmers as they enter a battle. The farmers believe they can easily defeat Mr Fox but they haven’t appreciated that he may be smarter and in possession of a plan that might just work!

This title was again selected due to the sparking of a childhood memory. The story behind this one is that the person who picked it “wrote a book report of Fantastic Mr Fox when I was in primary school and I drew the cover of the book to go with it, and everyone said the drawing was amazing”. I can confirm that this person is a ridiculously talented artist so this does not surprise me! In addition to this memory, the person who chose this also followed up by telling me that “I enjoyed the story of how he would essentially steal things from people who were less than nice”. As we have already seen throughout this post the morality of Roald Dahl’s stories stay with us!

The other person that selected this as their favourite had similar reasons (minus the book report), their reason is “it is a great story of good versus bad”. This person really enjoyed how the “fox would outwit the farmer at every turn”.

I find it so interesting how a perfect marrying of a lesson within magic and a childhood memory can ensure that the words of a wonderful author can stay with a person their entire life!

I also found it really interesting how I didn’t come across a single person who told me they didn’t like the literature of Roald Dahl, I think that says it all!

Well, that isn’t strictly true, I didn’t receive an answer of ‘I don’t have a favourite’ but I did get somebody who quipped “Sorry, book? What’s that?” I had a good laugh at this. I guess not everybody is a reader after all!

I hope you enjoyed reading this post, maybe ask your friends and family about their favourites…take it from me, it’s really fun to find out!

Until the next time…Jess x

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