Tuesday 6 May 2014

My Life in Books tag (#BEDM 6)

A couple of weeks ago the lovely Jenny from Sunny Sweet Pea tagged me in her Life in Books tag.  I've had a life-long love affair with books, so answering these questions has been an absolute ball!

1. What is the first book you remember reading?

I remember reading the Roger Red-hat books in Primary One.  (Wikipedia tells me that the series was actually called One, Two, Three and Away but I'm not sure I ever knew that as it doesn't ring a bell.)

We were pretty competitive about which books we were reading.  I seem to remember zooming through the series and going on to far more interesting books like The Garden Gang books I was reading at home.

2. What books make up your childhood?

I read so, so much as a child.  Our next door neighbour was the school librarian and she always made sure I had a huge trunk of books to get me through the summer holidays as well as frequent trips to the library!

I devoured every boarding school story I could get my hands on and was desperate to go to one where life seemed so much nicer and bullies were dealt with swiftly and sometimes even became your friend after they'd repented and Learned To Be a Better Person.  Mallory Towers sounded wonderful, especially the midnight feasts!

The Nancy Drew mysteries were an absolute staple on my bookshelves.  I think I must have read them all several times over before starting to 'borrow' my Mum's Dick Francis and Dennis Bagley books, much to her horror!  Crime fiction is still one of my big loves.

3. What's the first series of books you devoured?

The Chalet School books by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer.  I am five books short of the complete set and naturally, those books are astronomically expensive on Amazon!!  The exotic location in the Tyrol was a huge draw, and I loved reading about life on the continent.  Especially kaffe und kutchen, with EBDs loving description of cakes covered with 'clouds of whipped cream'.  I was convinced for years that the books were stories from a real school!

There is quite an active fandom out there for these books with organised trips to the Tyrol, touring around the book locations.  I need to win the Lottery so that I can take myself off on one!

Every so often I bury myself in nostalgia for a couple of weeks and read my way through the whole lot, accompanied by plenty of milky coffee and plenty of cake!

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

I've read the collected edition of The Dark Is Rising series by Susan Cooper many, many times.  It's quite an old book now, but it really does stand the test of time and the writing is fabulous with incredibly strong characterisation.

It's a familiar story...the battle between good and evil, with Arthurian legend and Welsh legend thrown in.  The innocence and strength (resilience, too) of children plays a huge role.  If you haven't read it, then you're missing out!  And whatever you do...do not watch the film version!!!

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

Doctor Who and the Abominable Snowmen was the first Doctor Who book I ever read. I was probably about nine and didn't know about regeneration yet, so I assumed it was another story about the Fifth (or possibly Sixth) Doctor.

Stephen King's Four Past Midnight was the first book to properly terrify me.  The Library Policeman novella scared the living daylights out of me, so much so that I was too scared to take my one day late book back to the library and hid it under a chair in my bedroom for months.  It turned out that my Mum was far scarier than the Library Policeman when she eventually found it!

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

I'm not sure that it changed my life, but Sophie's World has played on my mind for a number of years.  Philosophy has never been something I've paid any attention to.  In fact, I've always been quite fond of this quote from Small Gods:

"What's a philosopher?" said Brutha.
"Someone who's bright enough to find a job with no heavy lifting," said a voice in his head.

I found this book intriguing, confusing and irritating in equal measures but there's something about it that keeps me re-reading occasionally.

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

Today Lucas asked me what my favourite flavour of ice-cream was.  I actually stopped on the spot for five minutes while my brain simultaneously exploded at the idea of having to choose and also running through every flavour I'd ever tried.  I mention this because the same thing is happening again right now!  Choosing just one book is hard!

(Coconut ice-cream with a hint of lime, if you were wondering. Absolutely no flakes or bits of coconut in it though--smooooooth all the way.)

I think that I would read The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.  There's always some new subtle nuance to discover and they're just plain fun!

* * *

If you're a bookworm, then feel free to join in with the fun!

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  1. This is SO COOL. It brings back so many memories of my own childhood/young adulthood books. I keep them all too. I'm a book hoarder and proud.

  2. I am trying to thin the herd somewhat...it's a bit painful but I have more books than shelf space, so something has to give. (No room for more bookcases either.) Woe.

    I am keeping my very favourites, though!

  3. I can remember reading The Silver Brumby stories as a child, which just added fuel to the fire regarding my desire for a pony! I love your bit about the Stephen King novella!

  4. There should be a bloggers pony trekking weekend. I'm sure LOADS of us loved pony books when we were kids. I'd love to go over a jump, just once!

  5. We have a lot in common with our reading habits. I remember the Mallory towers books with great affection and I too, desperately wanted to go the boarding school.

    I've just read through your entire blog with interest and am now following you. I live quite close, in Trowbridge, so it is interesting to hear you write about the city of Bristol which I know well. And anyone who loves Doctor Who ... well, I can't fault you!!

    Eileen@ In My Playroom

  6. Pretty perfect summage of Sophie's World, I too keep going back for another look! I knew you'd be a Nancy Drewer though, she helped me through childhood too.
    I might do one of these...not that I can be called a book worm or anything else at the moment!
    M x


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