Sorry for the delay in transmission. Been busy and all. But I'm back now, and they seriously expect me to narrow it down to four books? FOUR?! Are you freaking kidding me?
So, here we go:
1. Encyclopaedia Britannica.
In my primary school, we had a library. We were never allowed to go into the library, but it was there, at the end of the corridor, opposite the P7 classroom. It had glass panels in the door, so I could see in and peek at all the goodness I was missing, and I can remember spying the Encyclopaedia Britannica (possibly the children's edition) sitting there on one of the shelves, all in alphabetical order and matching.
I'm not sure why we weren't allowed in the library, incidentally; each classroom had its own little library, so possibly the big library was just where they stored duplicate copies of those books, or maybe they kept different ones in there and then swapped them round to update the class libraries from time to time. I don't know.
But I remember thinking the encyclopaedias looked brilliant, from what I could see of them, and I longed for the day when I would be allowed to spend time in the library, undisturbed, and start reading from A right through to Z. All I needed was one break time when I could go in there and get started, instead of having to go outside and talk to other children, and play their weird games and stuff.
Finally, in P7, I had my chance: the rest of the class went on a school trip for a week without me. Nowadays I'd have been either sent to join P6 for the week, or referred to a child psychiatrist to establish why I had absolute hysterics when they tried to ship me off to an activity centre to have fun with my friends for a week (and in fairness, it mightn't have been a bad idea for someone to have at least made enquiries about that), but in those less enlightened times, I was sent to spend the week on my own in the library, completely unsupervised, to do a project on water.
Utter bliss. I didn't manage to read much of the encyclopaedias, but damn it, I tried, and to this day I cannot look at the Encyclopaedia Britannica without remembering the sheer joy of having the whole primary school library all to myself.
2. From Fear To Freedom, by Rose Marie Millar
A book I was recommended when I was about 22, which changed my entire outlook on life. I finally began to believe that I wasn't just a weird, hopeless failure with no hope of improvement, but that I was a child of God, a sinner saved by grace, and with all the power of Christ available to me to bring restoration and radical change. So that was good.
3. Treasures Of The Snow, by Patricia St John
Another book from childhood, this was probably the first novel I really loved. It's about a little girl (Annette) growing up in the mountains, who swears revenge on a boy who has hurt her little brother. Through a series of events that I don't quite remember, she ends up learning about forgiveness and grace. There's quite a lot of stuff in this, for a children's book, and I loved it.
4. East of Eden, by John Steinbeck
I haven't actually read this one in full yet (I'm currently about 20% in), but Mr Smile lent it to me one time before he was even Boyfriend Smile, and I felt all special because he doesn't lend books to many people in case they break them. I never even gave it back to him; I just kept it for, like, 3 years, and then decided it was half mine because we got married.
Next time: 3 films