Every week my BBH and I are going to throw up a post each that is non review related on whatever subject matter we feel compelled to write about. BBH has decided Fridays are her day and I’ve taken Sundays. So, welcome to the first of my ‘Sunday loves’!
This week I wanted to revisit the books that I read as a child that I loved. The books that helped make me the book lover I am today. I still remember staying up way too late in bed trying to get to the end of my latest book and paying for it the next morning (I seem to have learned nothing though as this is still my life story, staying up wayyyyy too late for the love of books!) So rather than being inspired with new reading material tonight, I hope you have a read, and like me, relive the beginnings of your reading obsession. It’s nice to take a stroll down memory lane once in a while don’t you think?
5. Lucy Maud Montgomery – Anne of Green Gables
This is listed partly because I still remember this book vividly, as in the actual physical book! Thick hardcover with a green vintage patterned cover and a picture of a young girl with red hair in plaits set in a time far in the past. It obviously made an impression. Funny how some things stick in your mind. Covers can have such a huge part to play, even now as an adult I’m a sucker for a great cover! The story of Anne, an orphan who was sent to a family in Avonlea, instead of a boy by mistake is an old fashioned one. The book itself was written in 1908. The adventures within these pages are mild and not anything too outrageous. It’s definitely not every ones cup of tea, but I will read almost anything and I do think it’s thanks to giving books like this a go when I was younger.
4. Ann M. Martin – The Babysitters Club series
Aaaand…..Bam! Yes I’ve done it. I’ve included The Babysitters Club in this list. You need to understand I couldn’t leave it out! It was practically an institution when I was a girl. My friends and I loved reading about these girls. In fact, we wanted to be these girls! They were so cool and trendy. We were obsessed. We all had our favourite character, the one we could ‘totally’ relate to. The stories were fluff pretty much, but they appealed to the audience of which they were aimed at. I’m sure there are plenty of you out there who can remember reading them (BBH?). There are too many books to give detailed recounts of them, (over 100 spanning a 14 year period apparently!) but for those of you who don’t know, the stories are based around four central characters (at least to begin with before the club grows) Kristy, Claudia, Mary Anne and Stacey. Together they babysit and partake in everything a teenage girl could, including; boyfriends, break ups, hair style emergencies, school dramas, parents divorcing and remarrying, diabetes, friendship break ups and make ups and the list goes on. Still to this day I enjoy a light fun read once in a while. I guess this series is the ‘tween’ version of chick lit!
3. Roald Dahl – Everything! In particular – The Twits, The Witches and James and the Giant Peach
It probably goes without saying; with my taste obviously Roald Dahl would be on this list. His stories are iconic, unsettling, intriguing and totally not your standard storytelling for children. I actually remember practicing my reading with my Nan and Opa, reading the twits aloud to them. As a child I read most of his stories but the ones listed above are the ones I remember truly loving. What subject matter! Witches who want to exterminate all children in England by turning them into mice through poisoned lollies. A pair of truly horrible people who mistreat each other and outsiders, (whether it be people or creatures) playing pranks on each other and in the end getting just what they deserve. Another story that was a favourite was the utterly absurd yet totally readable adventure of a lonely boy called James, oversized bugs and a giant peach. There were sharks, evil relatives and in the end a house made of the giant peaches pit and a happily ever after. No one has the voice of Roald Dahl. His stories stand the test of time and if you haven’t tried them I definitely recommend them, to read with yours kids or without.
2. Enid Blyton – The Faraway Tree series – The Enchanted Wood, The Magic Faraway Tree, The Folk of the Faraway Tree, Up the Faraway Tree AND Wishing Chair series – Adventures of the Wishing-Chair, The Wishing-Chair Again
These books were my introduction to Fantasy Fiction. The Faraway Tree books are based around three children Jo, Bessie and Fanny and a magical tree which has a ladder up the top which reaches into magical lands and is inhabited by various magical creatures such as Moonface, (My favourite I think! He lived in a house where everything was round and had a slide that you could slide on to get to the bottom of the tree) the Angry Pixie and Silky the Fairy. Each Book has the children embarking on different adventures in different strange, sometimes wonderful sometimes horrible lands such as, the land of Topsy Turvy, The Land of Birthdays, The Land of Tea Parties and The Rocking Land to name a (very) few. I remember being enthralled with these adventures and magical lands, wishing that I too could have a Faraway Tree of my own.
Now for The Wishing Chair books, this time we are following Mollie and Peter who find a magical chair which grows wings and can fly! They keep the chair in their playhouse and soon they are flying off on many adventures to magical places! The first adventure they embark on, they rescue a pixie called Chinky, he starts living in their playroom and joins them and the chair on future trips. One of my most memorable story lines involve the chair getting its wings cut off and subsequently the children using ‘Wing-growing’ ointment on some of their toys… Just like The Faraway Tree series, Enid Blyton created magic and intrigue which had my younger self escaping into the pages of these books. In fact, just writing about these books makes me want to re-read them all over again. Which I may just do…
1. E.B White – Charlotte’s Web
This is an Iconic book. I’m sure many of you have heard of it and read it, if not you need to find it and read it. It’s such a beautiful, heartfelt, heartbreaking tale. Wilbur is a piglet sent to a farm to await slaughter. Snubbed by fellow barn animals he is befriended by a voice who turns out to be Charlotte, a spider. She weaves an amazing plan to save his life, which she manages to do before dying. I remember being so emotional about this book. In fact I still have trouble reading or watching animal stories. But this is where I think its greatness really shines through. This story made SUCH an impression on me that to this day I remember its story and its characters. Not every book can manage to do that, leave an impression so deep that you can remember almost every detail about it and recall every feeling you had reading it.