Books that got me reading…
As a shy, introverted little girl I always found books a great escape. I wasn’t outdoorsy like my parents and my brother so much,although I had my moments, particularly one glorious sports day when I came first in the cross country. Not one person expected it, including myself. I promptly had an asthma attack afterwards but that part I choose to erase from the day. I enjoyed reading. I was good at it and always ahead of the rest of the class. Maybe I wasn’t popular, but I did have a few friends over for tea now and again, and however hard my mum tried and ensured I was neatly pressed and my hair tightly braided for school I always ended up looking a little bit crumpled and scuffed by the time I got there.
I have been thinking about the very first books that left an impression on me and gave me the urge to read often and eventually to write. I thought I would share them with you here.
Stig of the Dump by Clive King 1963
I loved Stig. I wanted to go out and find him and make him my friend. I remember daydreaming about finding him in the woods and everyone would think I was totally awesome and he wouldnt care if I was a bit scruffy.
First line of the book ” If you went too near the edge of the chalk pit, it gave way. Barney had been told this often enough.”
Danny The Champion of The World – Roald Dahl 1975
I remember really vividly to this day the way the pheasants were described in this book. Their stupidity sticks with me. I also felt a sadness for Danny as he didn’t have a mum. Living in a little village in Surrey in the early 80’s there wasnt one child in my class who didn’t have a mum and dad so I was intrigued by the relationship and the strong bond between Danny and his dad.
The Anansi Stories – unknown
Now, this is a strange one, this book had been long forgotten in my memories until I started to think about the books I loved. Anansi was a naughty spider who tricked others and life lessons were thrown in. It seemed quite grown up to me at the time and I remember being able to read every single word but some I didnt understand. My favourite story was about Anansi and the tar baby, how he tricked brer rabbit to fight the tar baby and he got all stuck in his own fur. Googling and researching this book makes me realise why I maybe can’t find it readily today! It seems to be percieved as maybe having negative race undertones. But to me it was just a strange little book which made itself onto a bookshelf in Bristow Primary and into my hands. It was about a naughty little spider to me nothing more, and in no way had any bearing on my future race relations! Although now this book is back in my head i’m wondering if it had anything to do with me turning into a chronic aracnaphobic.
The Borrowers – Mary Norton
These books make me warm inside to think of. I remember very very clearly getting these books as a very special treat from the book club at school. The book club was a catalogue that came around school and I used to take them home, pour over the books and make a shortlist for my mum to buy. She would make the list even shorter. I loved the little borrower family. They were just like my family only smaller and we didnt eat dinner at an upturned cotton reel. When these books were around I was a very happy, contented child.
The Land of the Faraway Tree – Enid Blighton
These books are deeply entwined in my brother’s and I early friendship, before sibling rivalry and teenage hormones kicked in to make us fight and pull each others hair and break each others toys. Moonface was magical and my brother loved him, and there were other odd little characters like The Saucepan Man, Silky and the Angry Pixie. I remember reading these books to my brother and we would both try and guess the next land they went to or what would happen. Today I truly believe that every single child should be exposed to the joy of an Enid Blyton book.
I could go on forever, but im sure thats enough for now. I would love to hear from anyone who has found memories of these books or any other they remember with love.