Saturday, 28 August 2010

Books, books everywhere...

Considering how much I've had to read for my degrees, and how much I enjoy reading, I think this blog has been pretty sparse on the book front.  So a little about my book history.  We never had many books in the house when I was a child, although both my Mum and Dad enjoyed reading and used the library (Dad was into SciFi, Mum into crime writers like Agatha Christie).  I do remember working my way through abridged children's classics such as Little Women (and the sequels), Black Beauty (which I'm convinced traumatised me, I can still remember how upset I was about Ginger), and Treasure Island.  Although I could read before I started school, when I did get there I was, ironically enough, given 'special' lessons as it was thought I couldn't read and was generally a bit slow.  The reason I didn't read there was that I hated going, didn't like my teacher and didn't like reading words on cards. I wanted to read stories!  Thankfully a teacher from another class (my teacher dragged me into it one day in anger and left me there - she really was an evil woman!) must have decided to give me the benefit of the doubt and gave me (I can still remember the title) Gold Book Two: Moonshine and Magic, which children three or four years older than I was were reading, and I never looked back.  When I started getting pocket money I bought all the Famous Five and Secret Seven books, and carried on with Mallory Towers and St Claire's, then the What Katy Did... and Anne of Green Gables books.  I also loved the Moomin books and Elizabeth Enright's books about the American Melendy family, which I desperately wanted to be part of (I might have to buy and re-read these now I'm thinking about it)!   As I got older it changed to Agathie Christie and Mary Stewart, then for a few years in my teens I hardly read at all, although I seem to remember loving Tess of the D'Urbervilles

When I started studying for my degree it was strange having to read certain books.  If I was struggling with one I'd just divide it into say 10 or 20 page blocks and give myself a quota to read a day.  Just a few highlights were: The Awakening by Kate Chopin, Behind a Mask Louisa M Alcott, Dombey and Son Charles Dickens, Middlemarch George Eliot, Tristram Shandy by Laurence Sterne, Evelina by Frances Burney (wonderful writer), Caleb Williams by William Godwin, and just about all the poetry we studied.  Poetry was a major discovery for me as we never did any at school (I went to a pretty abysmal school), now I love it.  Of late I've enjoyed reading Jasper Fforde's series of books about Thursday Next (but not the nursery rhyme ones), Lindsey Davis' Falco novels, and John Connolly's crime novels with a supernatural twist.  I love Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy, and one of my most treasured possessions is a card from him congratulating me on my MA!

I used to have six tall book cases in my study in our old house, all crammed from top to bottom.  When we moved here I did have to be rather ruthless in culling them.  I now have four in my 'den', with a small one especially for Will in the living room.  D has three of his own! 

I do try to keep my books in some kind of order... it doesn't always work.  These are poetry, lit crit and theory and some 18th C novels, along with books people have given or lent me and I don't know if I'll get around to reading them...

18th C and 19th C novels, with quite a lot of Thomas Hardy...

19th C and onwards novels, biography, and anything else that has been shoved on there!

Lindsey Davis, John Connolly, history, psychology, books I didn't even know I owned...

Will (plus Posky's silver bow tie is on there for some reason...)

Almost forgot, these are the Art History books...

I now try to be pretty ruthless about acquiring books - if it's a modern fiction paperback (usually acquired from St Mary's Church bookshop or a local charity shop), I don't tend to keep it but pass it on to someone else.  Non-fiction, poetry and classic novels usually get squeezed in somewhere.


1 comment:

Ruth said...

I think you beat us on the number of books, and we have a lot!

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