My name is Alina, my friends call me Ali, my mom calls me all kinds of sickeningly endearing terms, I am in my mid twenties, I live in Austria, I am 179 cm in height and my favourite colours as of now are lime green and purple and now that the technicalities are out of the way I would like to tell you a bit more about me, myself and I. However I thought I wouldn’t do it in the old fashioned way and just rattle off my life story, which, let’s face it, wouldn’t be that interesting. Instead I thought it would be quite fitting that I would introduce myself through my favourite books, or rather the books that have influenced me the most in various ways throughout my life so far.
So lets dive right into the good stuff…
My mother is the one who got me into reading in the first place and until this day I’m more than grateful for that. She and my stepfather are avid readers themselves and our home has always been filled with a crapload of books. When I wasn’t reading myself she was reading to me so from the very beginning of my life I was always surrounded by books.
The two first book series I remember reading when I was around eight to ten years old is called “Sieben Pfoten für Penny” (Seven Paws for Penny) by the Austrian author Thomas Brezina, which tells the story of a young daughter of a veterinarian and her two dogs Milli and Robin. Penny has lots of adventures with various animals and their owners and deals with growing up and her first experiences with love.
The other book series I read when I was a kid is called “Dolly”. It’s based on the English series “Malory Towers” by Enid Blyton and is primarily written for girls. It’s a story about a young girl called Dolly who is a student to a boarding school and it deals with her struggles of fitting in, making friends and growing up.
When I was 12 years old my German professor at high school (we had our differences but God bless her for this!) introduced me to the “Harry Potter” series by J.K. Rowling. To this day it’s still my favourite and most influential book series of all time. I grew up with Harry, Ron and Hermione and now that I’m in my mid-twenties I still like to re-read the series from time to time. If you are one of the few people on this planet who hasn’t read this incredible series yet go to your nearest bookstore or library or borrow the books from a friend – just go pick them up and read them! You won’t regret it.
During my high school years I further discovered two of my favourite classics, namely “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass” by Lewis Carroll and “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” by Frank L. Baum. Those two books always manage to cheer me up when I need to be cheered up.
It was only last year that I read my first dystopian series and instantly fell in love with it and that was “The Hunger Games” trilogy by Suzanne Collins. I found the concept of the books and the world building so interesting and it was so different from anything else I’ve ever read. Not only was this an entirely new and different genre for me but also in the years after I graduated from high school I fell into a complete reading slump and this series helped me rediscover my love for books.
Around the same time thanks in large amount to Tumblr and YouTube I came across the amazing and incomparable Mister John Green. I followed the hype by reading his novel “The Fault in our Stars” and I was hooked immediately and I decided that I have to devour everything that man ever wrote. Which is how “Will Grayson, Will Grayson” (which was co-written by David Levithan) came into my life. The timing in which this book came to me was impeccable because somehow that story fit perfectly to how I was feeling at that time which made the experience even more amazing. It’s just such a wonderful and touching read and it made me feel all the feels and – argh it’s just so perfect!
So those are the books that made the biggest impact in my life. I could however list many, many more. Books make up a huge part of my life. I turn to them when I’m happy or sad or when I need a break and just want to escape from the world for a bit. They help me through bad times and they make the good times so much better.
In the (slightly altered) words of Carl Sagan:
Books are prove that humans can work magic.
— Alina xx