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Blogging Challenge – Day Twelve : Favourite Childhood Book

Howdy folks.  Yes, I am skipping challenges on the Blogging Challenge.  Just pretend you haven’t noticed ok?

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I was a big reader as a child.  From the age of six onwards, I always had my head stuck in a book.  I was the annoying kid in class who always finished the assigned reading way before schedule and had to be given other books to read while everyone else caught up.  Yeah, THAT kid.  I was like it in high school too.  It’s very possible I was the only one who actually READ the books we were assigned.  But I enjoyed them – everything from
Catch-22 to 1984, To Kill a Mockingbird and Animal Farm.  I loved them all.

My Mum always read to us when we were little and I suppose that’s why we always enjoyed books in general.  As a child, I loved stories with animals in them, but didn’t like anything scary or dark.  I remember one book I read gave me nightmares and actually made me physically ill so my Mum had to go to the school and asked for it to be removed from the library.  I don’t remember what it was called, but it was a book of so-called fairy tales, and it had one story in it where a witch rips the faces off pretty young girls so she could disguise herself as them and get up to mischief.  Kinda gross.   A less sensitive kid might not have been bothered by it, but it frightened me and my Mum took action ha ha.

I know I had a book about a dog called Barney, that my Mum used to read to me (until it fell to pieces) but I haven’t been able to find it since.  Another favourite was “The Golden Egg Book” by Margaret Wise Brown.  It too fell to pieces from being read to death.

When I was a bit older, I read voraciously on my own.  Enid Blyton was an early favourite, particularly the “Magic Faraway Tree” and “The Secret Seven” (my Mum won a set of these in an art competition when she was ten years old – I have them now 🙂 ).  I still secretly read Enid Blyton books, when I am needing some comfort or just to take some time out.  There’s a been a bit of a backlash about them in recent years, with regard to them not being very politically correct, but I love them.

Of course, Judy Blume was a HUGE favourite as I entered into that tricky pre-teen period.  My best friend and I loved her books and read all of them.  “Are you there God, it’s me, Margaret,” was probably devoured by more 10-12 year olds in the 80s than just about any other book ever written.

I also loved Ursula K. Le Guin and Paul Gallico, Beverly Cleary and Diana Wynne Jones.  I read all the classics – “Charlotte’s Web”, “Watership Down” (a little bit adult for me but I trudged through it when I was seven, not really understanding all of it I’m sure) and “Little Women”.

I read non-fiction too.  Mostly about animals and magic and art.  I Loved poetry and silly rhymes, and books about mysteries and fascinating facts.

I have a favourite children’s book now though.  It was given to me by a friend when I was in my twenties, and I dearly love it.  I would give it to my own children, if I had any, and have actually given it as a gift to friends and family (both children and adults).  My favourite children’s book is “A Little Bit of Winter” by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell.  It’s just GORGEOUS.  The story of Rabbit and Hedgehog, best friends in the wood.  It’s Winter and Hedgehog has to go and hibernate.  Rabbit is worried that Hedgehog will forget about him during the long, cold months that Hedgehog is asleep.  Hedgehog himself does not know what Winter feels like and so they are both missing out on something.  It’s a story about friendship, mostly, but it is SO ADORABLE and the illustrations are the best.  I love it.  I have to do the voices when I read it, which is quite sad, but it’s just so darn cute.  There are other books in this series, but this one is my favourite.

Do you have a beloved children’s book that is dear to your heart?  There’s so many great ones out there, new and old, modern and classic.  Don’t let the kids have all the fun – try a few titles for yourself.  They’re comforting and calming and make you feel better about the world.  And, if you do have children of your own, get them in to reading early – it’s SO important.  My brother’s children all love to read and it makes my librarian heart proud. I’d be proud of them, whatever they did, but the fact that they love books and often can be found with their little heads buried in one is just icing on the cake.

Happy Reading Everyone x

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(Picture : The Book Depository)

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Book Heaven (or how to spend money VERY quickly)

Book Heaven (or how to spend money VERY quickly)

Today was the start of the annual Save the Children Fund‘s Book Sale.  It is an event my Mum and I look forward to with almost religious fervour.  We both love to read but also just love BOOKS – the look of them, the feel of them, the stories they tell, the warmth and personality they give to a room, how they keep you company on a cold winter’s night and, well, ok, I may have exaggerated there a little, but basically we lurve books.  The STCF Book Sale is so worth going to because the books are 2nd hand but generally in great condition and cheap, cheap, cheap (compared to regular retail prices which are getting ridiculously expensive, almost prohibitively so) and there’s tables and tables and boxes and stands of them in every genre, style and language.  Awesome-sauce!  Books are the one thing I do not feel guilty about buying.  I watch every penny I spend generally and am known as quite the cheapskate (in a good way – I just like a bargain and make my money stretch as far as I can.  An example of this is I bought a pair of shoes and a skirt for $3.50 this weekend) but, where books are concerned, I have no guilt.  My house is already over-flowing with the titles I already have.  My hubby and I have 6 large and 2 small bookcases that no longer can contain all the books we have collected.  So there are piles on the floor, teetering towers by the bookcases themselves and even more books shoved in any other space I can squeeze them into.  We just love to read (which you would expect from two library people – but it isn’t always that way, lots of library folks don’t (gasp!) read at all) and I personally hate getting rid of any book once I have finished it.  It’s like an old friend or something.  You don’t discard those  do you?  But, I’ve talked about my love of books before so…

Anyway, the Book Sale…ah, such a glorious thing it was.  It had obviously been very well advertised this year because it was crowded with people and they’ve already plundered quite a bit by the time we got there.  But never fear, new stocks were brought out and so there was pretty much an unending supply for us to sift through.  Yay!  My Mum and I quickly decided to divide and conquer so we split up and headed to separate ends of the hall.  Mum reads more crime & suspense fiction than I do (actually, I really DON’T read that stuff…only very occasionally) and I tend towards what would be known as “General” or “Litererary” in public libraries.  I like human tales – they can be set in any era and have any main subject but I like them to be very character driven and have a feel about them…I like to read about people’s lives and overcoming stuff and I also like a quirky plot and humour.  Actually, having just said all that, I will pretty much read anything except romance.  And even then, I will read romance if it it’s got some over sub-text going on.  I just like to read.

So, I quickly got a bag of books (13 titles in all) gathered up and luckily, many of them were under $5.  I got :

  • Veronika decides to die by Paulo Coelho
  •  Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells
  • Me & Emma by Elizabeth Flock
  • The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barberry  (Have been meaning to read this one for ages…)
  • The Truth about Melody Browne by Lisa Jewell
  • The Reinvention of Ivy Brown by Roberta Taylor
  • Life of Pi by Yann Martell  (Again, another one I feel I should have read by now…)
  • The Shipping News by E. Annie Proulx  (Ditto…)
  • The River Wife by Heather Rose
  • The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle  (My doctor has been on at me to read this one – I have anxiety and stress issues!  I was happy paying $2 for it today rather than the $25.00)
  • The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd
  • The Fish Castle by Elizabeth Stead
  • The Greatest Man in Cedar Hole by Stephanie Doyon

My Mum nabbed two big bagfuls and got about 20 books in total.  Pretty awesome.  The sale is on all week.  At the end of the week they sell things for half price or you can fill a box for $10…guess where I’ll be going at the end of the week?!  I didn’t even look at the non-fiction tables properly so I’m hoping to pick up a few craft, cooking or gardening books super cheap.

So now I have to re-organise my groaning shelves to accommodate the newbies…I may even bite the bullet and get rid of a few.  Maybe…