As a new and hopefully regular feature, every Wednesday I'll be posting about books that have been especially influential in my life, and in making me a writer. All writers read, but there are some books that stick with you, from years ago and the far reaches of childhood, and you just know that everything you write is still being changed by it - whether it's a single word, a phrase, a feel, the first realisation that people actually do this for a living...
So, let's get started on today's old - but oh so important - book.
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
I only read this book because I had to. High school English Lit. required reading does not normally go down well with kids, but this book is the first one I remember reading and - almost guiltily - realising I wanted to keep reading out of school. It's all thanks mostly to the passionate and dedicated teacher I was lucky enough to have, and her ability to engage and interest the whole class - thirty uninterested teens - in the dangers and troubles and daily realities of Ralph and Simon and the rest of the boys who didn't really exist.
Golding won the Nobel Prize for Literature, and I remember being fascinated with this, wanting to find out more, to know why, and how, and what that meant, and who chose it...
The story in this book is played off perfectly with the moral and philosophical points Golding is making at the same time - but the reason I'm starting with The Lord of the Flies in my list of important books is simple. I wanted to read it, to find out what happened. What greater praise can a young boy give an author?
And now I make my own stories, and try to live up to the standards set by the great, great writers who came before me.