30 Day Book Challenge: Day 21

picsart_1375358545585Good evening fellow readers! So of course I found a new challenge to participate in the hopes of proving myself better than the last. I picked up this challenge from The Chronicles of Radiya and very much look forward to 30 consecutive (hopefully, gulp) days of blogging.

Day 21: Favorite Book From Your Childhood

This one is very easy today. My swift reply is The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman and I’ll tell you why, it is the first book that I discovered by myself.

In 7th grade I had discovered the wonder of the school library. It wasn’t very big by any means but it was cozy and welcoming. I had read all the recommendations I had received and read everything that was popular at the time so I was in the need for a book. I was hesitant though as I browsed the shelves because I had never picked up a book purely based on my own judgment before. I was nervous about getting stuck in an awful book (because my Need to Finish was present even at that age) so I looked for anything that might seem familiar or easy. I didn’t want to take any risks.

That’s when I saw it. I remember it caught my eye because the spine was dark and it was sitting between two bright-colored books. The title made me pause and eventually pull the book off the shelf. I was nervous about the length and not because I didn’t like long books but because I was in an unknown waters. I read the synopsis which is this:

Here lives an orphaned ward named Lyra Belacqua, whose carefree life among the scholars at Oxford’s Jordan College is shattered by the arrival of two powerful visitors.  First, her fearsome uncle, Lord Asriel, appears with evidence of mystery and danger in the far North, including photographs of a mysterious celestial phenomenon called Dust and the dim outline of a city suspended in the Aurora Borealis that he suspects is part of an alternate universe.  He leaves Lyra in the care of  Mrs. Coulter, an enigmatic scholar and explorer who offers to give Lyra the attention her uncle has long refused her.  In this multilayered  narrative, however, nothing is as it seems. Lyra sets out for the top of the world in search of her kidnapped playmate, Roger, bearing a rare truth-telling instrument, the compass of the title.  All around her children are disappearing—victims of so-called “Gobblers”—and being used as subjects in terrible experiments that separate humans from their daemons, creatures that reflect each person’s inner being.  And somehow, both Lord Asriel and Mrs. Coulter are involved.

The synopsis made the book sound complicated. I was in 7th grade so I didn’t want a deep meaningful read I wanted something that would be fun and this synopsis made me doubtful I would find it in this novel. Then– fate struck. The bell rang signaling the end of lunch and the start of class.

I couldn’t let myself leave without a book so with a last weary glance at the novel I checked it out and hurried on through the rest of the day. It was one of the best decisions I’ve made. The Golden Compass is a gripping novel. Full of complex plot devices and fleshed out characters but told in a way that makes it easy for children to understand. Lyra became somewhat of a hero of mine, she was so brave and loyal and I was convinced that if I became involved with a golden compass I would mimic Lyra.

Phillip Pullman’s world creating is unique and at the same time a social critique on today’s society. It’s truly a fascinating read and I recommend it for all ages who enjoy fantasy.

It remains as my favorite childhood novel because I’m just so proud that I found that novel all on my own. I took a risk and it payed off and it’s because of that novel that I’m willing to try anything when it comes to reading.

What was your favorite childhood book? Share it below and happy reading!