Friday, 5 June 2009

Embracing my Inner Child


Even though I have a TBR pile longer than the cumulative length of all of my limbs and then some, I cannot resist embracing my inner child this weekend. Who needs an excuse to revisit comforting childhood reads? I don't.

I love Children's Literature. I read so many great books as a child that are beloved and were an informative part of my reading. I also enjoy discovering new (and classic) children's books.
Some of my favourites have made it onto my Children's Lit bookshelf above although I am dismayed to notice that Anne of Green Gables isn't there and am annoyed to realise that I have inadvertently left it in my parents' home in Glasgow. Leaving one's packing for a move to London until the last minute and having books everywhere will ensure that one's book packing is haphazard -and often nonsensical- to say the least. Case in point: I have the first two and the last Harry Potter books here and the middle four at home. Sigh. I do, however, have them on audio (read by the wonderful Stephen Fry) and I am listening to Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone as I write.

Due to another moving oversight a few years ago (not mine this time) most of my books from childhood were left in a huge box in the attic so I have desperately tried to replace the ones that are most sentimental to me. Borders 20% student discount days whilst I was at University were mainly spent in the Children's department.

This weekend is forecast to be fairly miserable and we have no plans other than the weekly grocery shop at Sainsbury's and watching the F1 in Turkey so I think spending it curled up with a cosy read is an ideal way to spend the remainder. Besides, I feel the need for some heartwarming comfort and escapism in childhood innocence. I plan to listen to the remainder of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone and read What Katy Did by Susan Coolidge and then possibly its sequels or Roald Dahl's Matilda.

What are your childhood favourites? What makes you embrace or become nostalgic for your inner child?

17 comments:

verity said...

What a lovely post. I unashamedly read quite a lot of children's fiction, and only earlier this week I read a Chalet School book before bedtime. My comfort reading is the Chalet School books, most definitely, and other boarding school themed books - Jennings particularly, and Antonia Forest. I don't know what it is about them that makes them so relaxing. I'm sure I'll think of more books in this category, but I hope you have a good weekend relaxing with something nice.

I had a very dear friend who was very depressed, but she loved to be lent Chalet School books (at school 5 years earlier aged 16 we had often shared children's books, swapping them in brown paper bags) and introduced me to Hilary McKay and the Saffy's Angel series. I was gutted that she never got to read the last two stories.

Paperback Reader said...

Oh, Verity, I am sorry about your friend.

I loved the Chalet School books when I was younger but I haven't re-read them. I noticed that Foyles bookshop had a collection of lovely reissued copies that I would like to own some day.

I adored the Enid Blyton boarding school stories,St Clare's and Mallory Towers :).

verity said...

Yes, www.ggbp.co.uk have been reprinting them slowly. It's great because the original paperbacks were heavily heavily cut. I've got a complete set but they're very mixed editions, and I can't really afford to duplicate them all in the lovely ggbp editions!

Enid Blyton was good, which reminds me to recommend Class by Jane Beaton - it's not a terribly literary read, but it's enjoyable enough relaxing read billed as "Mallory Towers for grown ups". I'm sure Emily would have loved it!

I also love adult school stories - Bilgewater, and Frost in May.

Paperback Reader said...

I didn't realise there were so many Chalet books! I may have to pick up second-hand copies.

One of my favourite school stories (and my favourite from the trilogy) is What Katy Did at School; I love that book more than I can express and it may have to feature this weekend. I did use to have a beautiful red leather-bound copy bit it was one of those that were lost. Sniff.

verity said...

Yes, that is such a good school story, and was always my favourite of the Katy books.

Yes, there are a lot of Chalet School books - 58 (more in paperback as they split some editions). A fascinating biography is Behind the Chalet School by Helen McClelland. Not one I own unfortunately.

verity said...

Ooh, and I've just thought of one more series that I love - the Trebizon books by Anne Digby. I've got an omnibus of the first three and haven't had that out in a while, so might treat myself to that in bed tonight!

Paperback Reader said...

There are just so many that make us feel great! Definitely a great way to spend the weekend.

verity said...

Sorry to post again, but I've just been examining my bookshelves now that I am home, and remembered two other genres of books that I love - ballet stories (Noel Streatfeild obviously (and her other lovely non ballet books), and ballet school stories (Rumer Godden, and Jean Richardson and Jean Ure and Mal Lewis Jones), and horsey stories (the Pullein Thompsons and Ruby Ferguson).
What's weird is that I was never interested in doing ballet, riding horses, or going to boarding school as a child but I loved reading about them. I guess that was why they provided such escapism.

Paperback Reader said...

Don't be sorry for posting again; I love reading your comments. I am also pleased as punch that my post has inspired you.

I too loved Ballet Shoes (I am eager to read my Persephone copy Noel Streatfield's Saplings). When I was younger I also wanted to do all of those things, without ever having tried, but then was quite content just to read about them.

Vintage Reading said...

Hi, great post. I too love Noel Streatfeild, Rumer Godden, Louisa M Alcott and of course the Enid Blyton school stories. Never read The Chalet School.

Paperback Reader said...

Vintage Reading, thanks for dropping by! Rumer Godden is great and Little Women by Louisa May Alcott is another one of my favourites.

verity said...

Saplings is fantastic, and I'm looking forward to the books she wrote under the name Susan Scarlett
http://www.greyladiesbooks.co.uk/pages/cp.html

I had a lovely evening last night "playing" with my Chalet School books.

Paperback Reader said...

Ooh, I didn't know NS had also written under a pseudonym.

Sounds like my kind of Friday night, verity! I read HP and today it will be What Katy Did. I was also given an Amazon gift voucher, which I promptly spent. I would have bought some Chalet School books but they were unfortunately out of stock; instead my Children's Lit inclusion was Finn Family Moomintroll by Tove Jansson.

Nymeth said...

I adore children's literature. I missed out on a lot of classics growing up, but I've been slowly but surely catching up. I only read Anne of Green Gables for the first time last year! Next on the list: The Secret Garden.

Paperback Reader said...

The Secret Garden is divine. Frances Hodgson Burnett wrote wonderful books, including adult ones of which two great ones are published by Persephone. I love the classics and hold them dear. Another that I haven't mentioned yet here is the Children of Green Knowe by Lucy M. Boston. Thinking of rereading so many of the ones mentioned in the near future is making me giddy.

dall.susanne said...

I'm currently taking a class on Children's Literature this term and there was one book we had to read, which I had first read when I was 8 - 'The Secret Garden'. Always loved it and I still do. But there are so many children's books out there that I love, I'm not going to bother you with a list. ;) Great blog, added to my reader!

Paperback Reader said...

Welcome to my blog, Susanne!

I would love to study Children's Literature; it is such a rich genre with many wonderful classic novels that I could revisit time and time again.