This week’s Inheritance Books come from blogger and YA author Annmarie McQueen. Take a seat, Annmarie. While I put the kettle on, why don’t you tell us a bit about yourself.
Hi, I’m Annmarie. I’m a 22 year old writer, blogger and photographer living in London. I enjoy instagramming food, taking selfies with dogs I meet and being that annoying friend who always has a camera to hand. I currently work in event marketing. I’m a graduate of Warwick University with a BA in English/Creative writing and an MA in cultural policy. I also really love tea. I currently have 18 different types of tea in my room and I’m immensely proud of this fact.
Yay, tea! Which book have you inherited from a generation above? Why is it special?
The book that I’ve inherited that I would like to shine a spotlight on today is ‘Northern Lights’ by Phillip Pullman. Published in 1995, it’s a YA fantasy classic that deals with a whole range of fascinating themes including freedom, destiny, religion and childhood innocence. This book was first given to me by my dad, and since then I’ve read it many times over.
I love the gothic feel to the book, the fact that it’s unafraid to deal with dark themes and the stunning descriptions of the fantasy world it’s set in. I also found the ‘Adam & Eve’ allegory and the biblical references really interesting. Though I’m not religious myself, I liked how cleverly religious ideas were subtly entwined in a story set in an alternate universe. It just gave it a whole other dimension that really made it stand out from any other children’s book at the time.
Also, I loved the daemons. I used to wish desperately that daemons were real when I was younger, thinking I’d never be lonely again if I had one. I used to imagine mine would be some kind of wolf.
Which book which you leave for generations below you? Why?
The second book I’ve chosen is one I would like to pass on to future generations. I’ve picked ‘Boys don’t cry’ by Mallory Blackman for this one. Though I’ve only recently finished reading it, I was completely blown away by this book and thought that the message it carried was so relevant to society right now.
The story follows Dante, who’s about to go off to College, until his old ex-girlfriend shows up with no warning, tells him he’s a daddy and then leaves the baby with him. Dante, with the support of his dad and younger brother Adam, must figure out how to adjust to this sudden turn of events and deal with this huge change in his life.
I find it so rare to find a book that deals so well with relationships between men. At times hilarious, at times heartbreaking, Blackman does a fantastic job of completely breaking down gender stereotypes and examining what it means to ‘be a man’ in this society. It’s such a controversial and difficult subject to get right, especially without sounding preachy, but Dante is an incredibly relatable and likeable character. Not only that, the story is thought-provoking and deals with other stigmatised issues such as sexuality and mental health without trying to sugar-coat or romanticise them.
In a society where people are expected to conform to certain social roles and repress who they really are, where being violent and aggressive is considered to be ‘masculine’, I think a book like this should be taught in secondary schools. Literature and story-telling is a powerful way of changing social norms and spreading new ideas. It’s a way of fighting back against injustice without actually causing conflict.
Fabulous choices. I loved Malorie Blackman’s Noughts and Crosses series.
Thank you for sharing your favourite books with us Annmarie. Good luck with your own book.