My archaeological dig
Until recently, I used to sit in my parents' attic on a Sunday afternoon, unearthing all my childhood books and magazines and sitting down on a cardboard box to a good random read. Taking the dust sheets off the boxes and blowing the few particles from the covers, it was a joy to transport myself back to childhood. I was brought up to read from a very young age and my school reports always contained comments in relation to my reading ability. 'Gillian's stories are always interesting to read,' stated my P2 report.
And when I moved from the family home, I took ALL my books, magazines and comics with me (yes, I still have copies of The Beano 1983 floating around somewhere!) They were largely discarded in a spare bedroom, which slowly over the years metamorphosed into a library which looked as if it had been ransacked by the National Party Against Reading (see what I've done there - thrown in a little gesture to the elections!)
While trying to sort out the reading pile, I unearthed many treasures including a plethora of books, I'd read, digested and then forgotten about. I never throw books out, and I never sell them on ebay, or drop them into charity shops. That's one thing I'm selfish about.
I have listed some of them here – many you will recognise, many you might not.
Five Go To Smugglers Top – Enid Blyton – This is one of my favourite of the Famous Five, along with Five Get Into Trouble. It follows the five as they stay in an old house and discover secret passageways. Reading critically now, I see how these incidents of mystery and suspense appeal to the younger generation.
The Lion's Way – Lewis Orde – I bought this at a school fair in 1987. I always headed to the book stall, which was filled with discarded reads sent by parents. However, this story was quite enjoyable, following Daniel Kirshbaum, a Jewish singer, overcoming the obstacles of Depression-era New York, and going on to succeed on the nightclub scene. I then ordered The Lion's Progress which I haven't yet read!
The Haunted Showboat (Nancy Drew) – Carolyn Keene. Poor Carolyn - I wrongly believed Nancy herself was the purveyor of these great mysteries, and the woman who inspired me to write my first novel at the age of 11. It was a Nancy Drew story involving secrets written on paper and hidden in trees. My friends thought it was a great book and better than the rest of the Nancy series!! It's in a landfill site.
The Tripods Trilogy – John Christopher - I remember watching this series with my dad in 1984. It was freaky, and I remember having nightmares as a result of it. These massive alien machines control human minds by 'capping' them.
Ulysses – James Joyce - I'd forgotten about this tattered copy, but I fully intend to get though it in one stint this time, instead of my reading spurt being permeated by other books as was the case a few months ago. If you haven't read it, then you should.
Carrie's War – Nina Bawden – this is what I call a great piece of children's literature. I read it in P5 and I found it such an enjoyable book. Set during World War Two, it follows Carrie and her brother as they are evacuated to Wales. It was made into a television series, such was its popularity.
Have you unearthed anything lately? I have a few quid to spend on Amazon, and always enjoy your recommendations.