Childhood favourites (Was Oh the horror!)
m.a.knight at ru.ac.za
Mon Feb 17 11:41:32 EST 2003
The Chalet School books. I got one as a present one year and then couldn't
get enough of them.
I'm so glad someone else mentioned these. I was completey addicted to these
during a bad patch in my childhood. I even bought one or two at junk shops
recently, and they weren't quite as cringe-worthy as i expected they would
be (not that they aren't embarrassing, you understand). Incidentally, there
is a whole web-based fan club and mailing list for these books, apparently a
very active community.
My mother was a librarian, and for years she brought home books for us to
read from the library, so i read pretty much anything. As I recall, her
taste ran rather to anthropomorphic animals when I was younger, but then to
more intelligent comic and fantasy material. I remember her loving the Helen
Cresswell books, and Diana Wynne Jones, and Nicholas Stuart Grey. She
absolutely loathed Enid Blyton, to the extent that she was never allowed in
the house at all, and I have read only one Enid Blyton book to my knowledge
(I think it was a Secret Seven in which they escape from the savages by
predicting an eclipse - now there's an original plot device). She had a lot
of JRRT, and I read the Hobbit as a child, but she wouldn't let me read the
LOTR, she said it was too difficult for me.
We also had AA Milne, and Tove Jansson, and the Mumfie books (about a baby
elephant and his best friend, a scarecrow). They had the most wonderful
illustrated plates, and were quite old-fashioned and magical. We also read
all the Noel Streatfeild books, although not the Gemma ones, which came much
At school we read the usual stuff, including Narnia, which I liked, but
never found as seductive as other stuff - I never wanted to live in the
I also remember the What Katy Did books, and finding them very preachy, and
not really liking Little House on the Prairie.
Oh, and Monica Dickens - the world's end series, and Madeleine L'engle, and,
oh god so much else.
PS, my nephew loved Love You Forever, at a time when he and my sister were
living in a shelter to escape his vile father, and he developed a phobia
about going to sleep and waking up alone. I'm sure it has a lot to do with
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