My Life in Books

I saw this over at Land of Candy Canes and couldn’t resist stealing it. So today I am answering a few questions related to books. I’m not going to tag anybody specific, but if anybody would like to join in please do – I would leave to read your answers!

Lovely, lovely books!
Lovely, lovely books!

1. What is the first book you remember reading?

I have a very vague memory of some book with Spot the Dog with flaps to lift, but I’m not sure whether I could actually read at that stage or was just turning pages. The first book I really, truly remember reading all the words in is The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter. I wish I knew what had happened to that book… I loved it!

2. What books make up your childhood?

Basically any book by Enid Blyton, as well as all Roald Dahl books. I remember reading the Narnia series over and over as well (I was convinced Narnia was real and I just needed to find a way to get there). I also loved the Ramona Quimby books by Beverly Clearly – I first started reading those because the author had the same name as me, then I got hooked. Later I was obsessed with The Babysitter’s ClubΒ  books and at around the age of 9 or 10 I got started on Point Horror (which is probably what led to my love of Stephen King and James Herbert!). Then there were all the individual books: Black Beauty by Anna Sewell (aka the first book that ever made me cry), When Marnie Was There by Joan G. Robinson (I loved this one so much I bought a new copy a few years ago so I could read it again), A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond, I Am David by Ann Holm, just to name a few. But even back then you could have placed any book in my hands and I would have devoured it.

3. What’s the first series you devoured?

I’m going to guess the Secret Seven books by Enid Blyton. When we lived in Northern Ireland, I tried to set up my own Secret Seven club! I would have been about six years old then. I was probably reading other Enid Blyton series, including The Famous Five and Mallory Towers, at the same time though, so it’s hard to say which one I got into first.

4. What books have you or could you read over and over again?

If I like a book, I will almost always read it more than once. I have to re-read books because I keep running out and I have neither the space nor the money to be constantly buying new ones! But here are some that I’ve read more times than I can count: The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Graeme (when I was younger – it’s still in England so it’s been a while since I’ve read it), Charlotte Sometimes by Penelope Farmer (it went missing during one of our moves though. I really need to buy that one again because it’s still along my favourite books ever), several of Terry Pratchett’s books including Witches Abroad and Mort, Chocolat by Joanne Harris, The Orchard on Fire by Shena Mackay and Brother in the Land by Robert Swindells, despite the fact that it makes me cry every time!

5. What books take you back to a certain time in your life and why?

All Agatha Christie books remind me of being ten years old. I’d run out of my own books and was bored, so my mum gave me the few Agatha Christie books she had, figuring they were tame enough for me to read. I was so proud of being allowed to read adult books!

6. What book changed your life, or could at least change someone elses?

Not a single book, but a series. I’ve been obsessed with Austria ever since I discovered the Chalet School books by Elinor M. Brent Dyer when I was about ten. They’re about 90% of the reason I lived in Austria for a year after graduation. I’m not exactly sure whether that’s what was meant with the question, but I certainly don’t think I would have lived in Austria if I hadn’t read these books.

7. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life, which would it be?

No, no, no, no, no! I refuse to even contemplate this. One book! That’s like a nightmare scenario to me. *Shudders*

Those of you who are interested can read Katrin’s answers here. And if you decide to join in, please do let me know!

24 thoughts on “My Life in Books

  1. Aw books… I am obsessed πŸ˜‰

    My childhood was dominated by Otfried Preussler. I just googled him, and discovered he died last year, I’m heartbroken 😦

    Michael Ende’s Neverending Story also made a big impact. No just because it’s a great yarn, but also because of it being two parallel stories, printed in different colours in the book, so young readers wouldn’t get confused.

    I, too, went through a Stephen King phase when I was a teenager πŸ™‚

    Right now, I’m reading four books…

    1. Otfried Preussler… was he the on with Die kleine Hexe? I’ve never read any of his books, for obvious reasons (i.e. them not actually being translated into English!)

      Confession: I’ve never actually read The Neverending Story, although I do have it on my shelf waiting. For some reason I was never bought that one – most of my childhood books came from my grandparents and various aunts and uncles, or the library.

      1. Yes, that’s the one! He also wrote RΓ€uber Hotzenplotz πŸ™‚ They have been translated into 55 languages, I’m sure one of them is probably English… not that you need the translation now, but you’re now waaaay to old!!!

        I don’t think I ever actually READ Enid Blyton BUT I had tons of tapes and vinyls with her stories, and I’d listen to them over and over again.

        Years ago, a good friend told me that her mother had kept her away from Enid Blyton, because she thought her writings “trashy”. That made me feel incredibly sorry for her… πŸ˜‰

      2. They probably have been translated into English, but my local library didn’t stock them. I did read The Little Vampire in primary school, and only found out years later that it was originally German!

  2. I would read just about any book i could get my hands on as a child. Enid Blytons were absolute favourites of course and lots of girl school ones and Follyfoot ,the railway children,Narnia,Alice in wonderland,Little women etc. Oh and I loved the secret diary of Adrian mole as i got older and an agatha christie called Ten little Indians.

      1. LOL! I read A Christmas Carol at 12, but didn’t discover Tolkien until after I moved to my dad’s (my mum’s mostly into crime fiction and Stephen King novels).

  3. You are such a sweetheart! Thanks so much for answering the questions as well, it was so much fun to read them! I love Enid Blyton and Agatha Christie so much! And Paddington Bear! I love him! He’s even my desktop wallpaper on my laptop!

  4. Great list of questions! I’ll see if I can find the time to answer them on my blog, too! My answers will be quite different, having grown up in the U.S. and having read a lot both in English and Latvian as a kid. But – yayyy – Beverly Cleary! I read the Ramona and Ralph the Mouse books. πŸ™‚

  5. What a brilliant, brilliant post!

    I am obsessed with reading, but we have such different literary histories! It’s so cool! Plus, you remember SO MUCH, while I can’t name so many – I devoured books too greedily.

    But I agree about Chocolat – it’s one of the very few books I can read over and over again – mostly because of HOW it’s written.

    Also, Pantoufle.

    ; )

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