Today's book is one of those stories that's tied to a specific time and place. We all have these books - ones we can't re-read or think about without instantly conjuring up very clear images of that one town, or that one room, decorated in a certain way, where we first read the tale. In psychology, it's called a flashbulb memory - a striking, specific recollection of events that at the time aren't amazingly important. Where you were when you heard that Princess Diana had died, perhaps - or, in a literary way, where you were when you first read Harry Potter.
For me, today's book is linked to a journey. A very real journey, in fact - a car ride from our family home to visit my grandfather. We'd stopped in a WH Smith before hand and been allowed to choose books to read while we were away. Not a big reader at the time, I nevertheless decided to take the plunge, and I bought (with my own money!) THE WIND SINGER, by William Nicholson, I read it in the car, and later in bed at my grandfather's place.
The cover certainly attracted me to begin with. The synopsis hooked me. The story reeled me in. It's a fantastic book, and one of the first kid's books I read that hadn't been recommended to me, or borrowed from my family - it was a book I wanted to read, and it was mine. Nicholson's characters are fantastically written, and the world he created was both really fascinating and wonderfully blurry - by which I mean there was a constant foreign-ness to it that kept me reading, and means that years later I still remember the feelings from the story.
THE WIND SINGER is actually part of a trilogy, and I was determined to get the books all in hardback when they came out. I did, and it was a strange, proud feeling to have them all on my bookshelves. Somehow the series - called THE WIND ON FIRE - doesn't seem as well known as it should be. I'd encourage anyone reading this to check the books out.
In fact that's the best thing that could come from this post - someone finding these books, reading them, and loving them. Sadly, my copies are abroad at the moment (often the case at the moment) but I'll get my hands on them eventually and re-read the trilogy.
That's the best thing about books you love. Going back to them isn't a chore or a bore - it's a thrill each time. And that's why I want to write my own.
THE WIND SINGER blurb:
After Kestrel Hath rebels against the stifling rules of Amaranth society and is forced to flee, she, along with her twin brother and a tagalong classmate, follow an ancient map in quest of the legendary silver voice of the wind singer, in an attempt to heal Amaranth and its people.