Gosh! I am taking ages to complete the book I am reading, and so I have resorted to stealing interesting memes from off the internet to fill up my blog. This one is taken from Eve’s Alexandria, which she in turn seems to have taken from somebody else 🙂
The idea is to list the books that most shaped your reading life as a child and young adult year by year, or by spans of years.
So, down memory lane I go thinking of all the great and not-so great books that influenced me through the years…
I think the Noddy series by Enid Blyton did the trick for me. I was obsessed with Noddy and his friends. I used to often escape into my dream world where I played with my imaginary friends – Noddy, and Tessie Bear, and Wobbly Man, and Inspector Plod, and Big Ears, and Bumpy Dog, and my god who else have I missed. Now, I am getting to relive those days with my daughter who also seems to have a liking for Noddy 🙂
Again Enid Blyton ruled. She was my favorite author. I devoured her Famous Five, Mallory Towers, and St.Claire’s series of books. Just like Eve, these books made me dream of going to boarding school. I remember my mom threatening to send me to boarding school when I was behaving badly, and being utterly taken aback when I ecstatically responded YES,YES,YES!
I also drooled over her descriptions of food – jammy buns, buttery scones…all these sounded so appetizing for my taste buds that seemed to be always getting boring idlis and dosas. She also inspired me with the idea of having midnight feasts with all my friends and young relatives.
This was the age when I started to delve into classics. I was a tomboy at heart (still am), and Treasure Island, Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn really sparked my imagination.
I did also read Pride and Prejudice, but I must say didn’t really get too much out of it. It was only when I reread it many years later, that I could appreciate it for what it is.
This was also the phase of gothic thrillers and horrors. There was a dramatization of The Woman in White on TV at the time and seeing that prompted me to read and enjoy both The Woman in White and The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins. I also enjoyed Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre by the Bronte sisters.
Agatha Christie also stormed into my life, and I read every book of hers many times over. I still do, there is something so wonderful about her books. Even knowing the identity of the murderer does not spoil my pleasure in re-reading.
In summary, this was a great book-reading phase thanks in part to a neighbor who indulged my love of reading, and often lent me a lot of books from his own personal collection of classics. I even read some Russian authors, and enjoyed Crime and Punishment, which I am quite surprised at now.
This is rather a dark period in my reading history. Spent more time focusing on my studies and not too much on books. I remember a friend stealthily lending me The Other Side of Midnight by Sidney Sheldon, and that was my introduction to the big bad adult world of books where sex was explicitly mentioned. I rapidly read the rest of his books, and I must say they were quite instructive 😉
I also started reading Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, and The Three Investigators series of books – primarily because I did not have much choice, and that these books were the ones stocked in my local library (which was pathetic to say the least). Of all the three, I remember liking The Three Investigators best.
This was also the time of Harlequin Romances and Mills n Boon. Barbara Cartland also makes an appearance. But, I think the less said about these the better. 🙂
By this time, I was fed up of modern-day romances and teenage detectives. I upped my reading slightly to Jean Plaidy’s historicals (I loved the Tudor and the deMedici books), Victoria Holt’s gothic romances, and Georgette Heyer’s regency comedies.
I also started having access to the internet and reading a lot of reviews on books that I would not normally read. The Hobbit was one such book. I picked it up after having heard some interesting stuff on the web, and that was my introduction to the wonderful world of fantasy. I also picked up Asimov’s Foundation, and I fell in love with his very rational style of writing – something that I had not been exposed to earlier. Science fiction and fantasy were then added to my reading lists.
Looking back, I don’t know quite what to make of my list. It seems that at each stage of my life, my reading has reflected the person I was then. There is a lot of variety in this list – partly because I read anything and everything that was available (did I mention my lending library was pathetic), but also, I think it reflects the person I am – constantly searching for something new. And I think that’s still me – because my reading list is pretty varied even now, I think.
All in all, this post was one I really enjoyed posting. Looking back at my idyllic childhood and teenage years was really fun. I might even go back and reread quite a few of these books mentioned here. Hopefully, I will recapture some of the awe and wonder I felt when I first read them.
I am also looking forward to enjoying and guiding my daughter’s path through the world of books. Hopefully, she will enjoy reading as much as I do. It’s too early to tell, right now 🙂
Well, that’s enough rambling from me folks. Would you like to tell me about some childhood reading memories? I would love to hear back from you.