I was tagged by BJ at My Book-a-logue to take part in The Library Lizard’s Bookish Time Travel Tag. This is the first tag I’ve done on this blog, so I’ve had a lot of fun thinking up some answers to these!
What is your favourite historical setting for a book?
This one is probably easy to guess for those who have been reading my blog for a while: the Victorian period. I just think it is a fascinating era, in which there was so much social, economic, and technological change; seeing how ordinary people lived in the midst of all this change is just so interesting to me. Also, my particular area of interest in Victorian women’s writing so that’s probably a strong influence in this question.
As a child, though, I loved any books about evacuees during the Second World War.
What writer/s would you like to travel back in time to meet?
Elizabeth Barrett Browning! From her letters she seems like a kind, generous, funny, literature-loving, deep-thinking person and I really just want to sit down for a chat with her. There are few other writers with whom I have connected with to such an extent, and I would love to go over to her house for tea and a long discussion about the literary world.
What book/s would you travel back in time and give to your younger self?
Earlier this year I read Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince and my first thought was: “I wish I had read this when I was younger”; I think I would have fallen in love with it even more than I did reading it as an adult. However, I did actually own a copy in French from a fairly young age so maybe I should specify that I would go back and give my younger self a copy in English.
What book/s would you travel forward in time and give to your older self? Weird question, I know. But what I meant by it was more along the lines of – what book do you want to remind your older self of because it was really important to you?
I think I’m going to have to say Aurora Leigh for this one. There are two main reasons for this: firstly, because it has been a hugely influential book for me over the past seven years and I would want to make sure that I remember why Aurora is a character I connected with so much. But secondly, I also think it would be a good book to give to my older self because of the passionate way in which it defends literature and poetry as providing a unique contribution to society. On the off-chance that I become a jaded, cynical old woman, I would want to remind myself of the joy you can get from literature.
What is your favourite futuristic setting from a book?
This is a really hard question, because I feel like most of the books I’ve read which were set in the future are dystopian fiction and so not really places I would want to be anywhere near. Having said that, I really love the way in which H. G. Wells describes his futuristic landscapes in his short stories. ‘A Story of the Days to Come’, for example, follows the specific story of one couple but the reader gets fascinating glimpses into the wider world Wells is imagining and the decisions which led to humanity dwelling almost entirely within these huge metropolises.
What is your favourite book that is set in a different time period (can be historical or futuristic)?
I’m looking at my bookshelf now and there are so many to choose from! I think my favourite historical fiction books at the moment are Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies. They are such a unique look into the life of Thomas Cromwell, and the Tudor period is always fascinating to read about. But I will always have a soft spot for Private Peaceful by Michael Morpurgo, which was one of my all-time favourite books growing up.
Spoiler Time: Do you ever skip ahead to the end of a book just to see what happens?
Yes, mainly if I’m finding the book a struggle and I want to know whether the ending is worth me persevering. I’m not very consistent: some books I am really strict on with spoilers, but with others I don’t have any self-restraint. With most media that I consume, I’m not usually particularly bothered by spoilers; I can still enjoy a good story, even if I know where it is heading.
If you had a Time Turner, where would you go and what would you do?
In all honesty, I think I would want to go back and meet all my grandparents as young people. I have always loved hearing stories about their lives, but I feel like there are still so many stories I’ve missed. I would love to find out what they were like when they were my age: who their friends were; what they did in their free time; what made them laugh; what scared them about the future. I want to know how much of them as young people in their 20s is reflected in the lives of me and my sisters. I want to know what their favourite books were; what music they listened to; what their voices sounded like. There are gaps in my knowledge about their lives, and I want to fill them in.
Favourite book (if you have one) that includes time travel or takes place in multiple time periods?
I’ll go with a classic here: The Time Machine by H. G. Wells. I love Wells’ writing, and I really enjoyed reading this earlier in the year. I wouldn’t say it is my favourite book by Wells (that would be The War of the Worlds) but it is such an intriguing and clever book that I think it has to be the one to take the spot of my favourite time travel book.
However, I think Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban would probably be a close second. This is my favourite of all the Harry Potter books, and part of that is due to the way in which the Time Turner is handled. The reveal of how Hermione has been getting to her lessons is so clever, and I remember being enthralled by the danger of the rescue when I read it for the first time.
What book/series do you wish you could go back and read again for the first time?
Every time I recommend or lend Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief to someone, I tell them how jealous I am that they are reading it for the first time. Everything about that novel is so beautiful, sweet, and heart-breaking; I won’t ever forget the experience of entering that world for the first time.
This has been really interesting to think about; thank you BJ for the tag!
If they think this is something they’d be interested in doing, I’m going to go ahead and tag:
Ruth at On the Arm of the Sofa