Spinebreaker Alannah tells us why, in our forever-changing digital world, the humble story continues to captivate, and gives us a list of her top 10 tales to last the test of time.
Who remembers the tamagotchi? I do. At the tender age of 7, I watched all my friends toddle around our school playground, their faces planted to the screens and their fingers craftily pressing each little button as they controlled the lives of their adopted alien children. It sounds rather bizarre when I put it like that, but at the time I wanted one beyond all comprehension. Parents everywhere loved it too, because it was the satisfyingly cheap alternative to the Nintendo DS and would keep their children happy until the battery wore out. One Christmas, at the foot of my stocking, I found the small egg-shaped parcel and tore it open. A lurid pink and yellow tamagotchi, complete with a miniature dog-tag and three tiny buttons was now mine!
3 years later, children all over the country had forgotten about it. So are we just all spoilt? Not necessarily. Do we end up throwing things away that we thought were The Next Big Thing only a few years before? Definitely. Technology simply moves on. I remember a time when I became inexplicably excited about my Mum’s new phone, the only redeeming feature of which was a sliding cover. And it’s practically impossible to buy a game for a GameBoy or the original Nintendo DS anymore, because apparently they’re obsolete; defunct; old. Yet somehow, the most simple and technologically basic of objects had stood the test of time longer than any other invention in the history of humanity: the humble story. Whether in the format of an eBook or a paperback, no one has ever grown out of the idea of a book. From Dante’s time, when 3 books would have cost the same price as a small cottage, to now, when we have the whole of the British Library to search for any book we wish, no one can ignore the power of a good story.
I’ve compiled a list of 10 books that have stood the test of time, and others that will be in our hearts for many years to come.
- “Romeo and Juliet”- by William Shakespeare. OK, so this is technically a play. But it is still extremely relevant- well, for me especially, seeing as my “Romeo and Juliet” Controlled Assessment makes up 25% of my English Literature grade! So many brilliant adaptations as well!
- “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone”- by J.K. Rowling. Not my favourite book out of the set, but it’s one that children like myself across the world will remember for the rest of their lives. I have no doubt that these books will be used as bed-time stories for years to come.
- “War and Peace”- by Leo Tolstoy. This one should be kept as a summer read, because it will probably take you the whole 6 weeks to get through it! Translated from Russian to English, this book is like a Bible of human nature.
- “The Hunger Games”- by Suzanne Collins. This is a great dystopian read and I really enjoyed the books. This book has already made a clear legacy for itself, with the film and overwhelming fan-base.
- “Winnie the Pooh”- by A.A. Milne. One of my personal favourite reads when I was little. This is a really charming bedtime story, with illustrations that have been remembered by children for generations.
- “The Book Thief”- by Markus Zusak. I loved this book and I can’t wait for the film (which is coming out in 2014!). “The Book Thief” is sensitive and thought-provoking and may or may not leave you weeping on the floor when you finish it. I hope that it’s remembered, because it carries such an important message.
- “Anne of Green Gables”- by L.M. Montgomery. Funny and brilliant and extremely relatable. It’s been taking people all over the world back to the comfort and familiarity of Prince Edward Island, the place in which the book is set.
- “The Fault in Our Stars”- by John Green. No one has stopped talking about this book; literally. Which isn’t surprising, seeing as it’s so beautifully written and quite unlike any other book you will ever read. I didn’t want it to end but, much to my disappointment, it did. But it continued to be breathtaking until the last word.
- “The Catcher in The Rye”- by J.D. Salinger. The epitome of teenage angst. No one will be forgetting this book in a hurry. It sums up what it means to be a teenager, from the anxieties to the strange antics; to the depression and the “whatever-ness”.
- “Pride and Prejudice”- by Jane Austen. Not everyone would agree, but I thought that this book was very charming and funny and it’s celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. Check out the zombie-fied version too, as well as the web diaries.