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Hey there,

I hope your day is going well. Today, before I settle down to work, I’d like to talk about books (no surprise) and ask you about some of the books that have affected your life.

My Mum says that a book is a good friend and, for me, that’s the best description I’ve heard. A book is always there when you need it; it entertains, brings you happiness, often teaches you a thing or two or makes you think differently. Really you’d like to spend more time with the book than you can. This got me thinking, which books have been my best friends?

I’ve had a few perms in my life and it all began with the Famous Five. I know this sounds a little odd, but I can explain.

Like many children I read and re-read Enid Blyton’s series until the book spines fell apart. I wanted to be exactly like George, the tomboy, and promptly renamed my cuddly toy dog Timmy, propping him on my feet every night to sleep. When I was on my own I spoke to the Famous Five all the time (I was mortified when I realised other people could hear me) and they were, I suppose, my best friends.

But what has this got to do with perms? At the time, my hair was poker straight. It appeared from the illustrations that George’s was not. George’s was as curly as curly could be, therefore I wanted curly hair.

Mum said no. I nagged and nagged and nagged. Mum continued to say no. I grew into a teenager, stopped reading and speaking to the Famous Five and retained my poker straight hair for the duration. However I continued to want a perm, eventually Mum relented and several years of perms followed, all thanks to George.

Among Mum’s favourite books as a child were the Abbey Series by Elsie J. Oxenham. She gave me several to read when I was young and I instantly fell in love with Joy, Jen, Rosamund and Maidlin. I immediately wanted red hair exactly like Joy’s (do you see a pattern developing here?) and as soon as I was old enough to dye my (non- permed at that point) hair, that’s what I did. On a non-hairy note, there were several sets of twins born to the Abbey girls and I quite fancied this too. Fast forward a few years – I’ve had the red hair and, as it turns out, I’ve also got the twins. I still don’t have my own Abbey, but all in good time I guess.

Being in the company of these books made me happy, as do many of the books I read today. But, as we know, a book doesn’t need to make us happy to have a profound effect on us. Simone de Beauvoir’s A Woman Destroyed is a good example and is definitely on my list of top five books.

As a reader, I love when a book stays with me. As a writer, I guess that’s my goal – to write a book that someone thinks of as a friend. (However, I really don’t mind if it doesn’t affect their hair.)

I’d love to know, do you have a book that you consider a friend? I’d love to hear from you if you would like to get in touch either here or on twitter.

And, just for the record, if you see someone with red, curly hair walking around talking to the Famous Five and looking for an Abbey, it’s not me. Not today, anyway 😉

Hope you enjoy the rest of your day.

Elle xx