How did you become a Bookworm?

Character Names

Rant You’ve got to be kidding me...

Status
Not open for further replies.

Paul Whybrow

Full Member
Jun 20, 2015
7,539
16,511
British writer Lucy Mangan has just published a charming book in which she reminisces on her childhood reading:

Bookworm review: Lucy Mangan looks back at the books that inspired a lifelong love

My parents were both avid readers, with mum favouring books about nature, including the Gerald Durrell non-fiction adventures with his family and other animals, while dad preferred manly action novels by Wilbur Smith.

I devoured many of the Enid Blyton stories, initially the Noddy tales, then The Famous Five and the Adventurous Four, which is when I first became aware of how a writer churned out a series.

My mum introduced me the public library, which I thought was the best idea ever! Orchard Road Library was opposite a stately mansion, guarded by high brick walls, which were embedded with shards of glass in the top—to discourage scrumping youngsters who might shin over to steal the apples from the large orchard—some of the trees were so tall, that they shed their fruit onto the road to be crushed by cars. I doubt that it's legal to use broken glass as a security measure these days, though razor wire is OK! Seeing the glass made me aware of 'them and us'—how the rich kept commoners away from their possessions, even if they were only apples. :confused:

The single-story 1950s library stood at the top of the road, and was one open space, with a carpeted children's section and a small room that served as the reading room and reference library. In the early 1960s, information was gleaned from newspapers in a rack, and a book case of encyclopedias and dictionaries, Wisden Cricketers' Almanack and Old Moore's Almanack.

There was a table for spreading the broadsheet newspapers out, which I sometimes did, as I liked feeling grown-up and getting black newsprint on my fingers!

Above the bookcase was a framed print of Édouard Manet's A Bar at the Folies-Bergère, which puzzled me at the time, and for years afterwards, as it's fraught with problems of perspective and layout. I didn't realise for several decades, that the barmaid's reflection is shown in the painting, as I thought it was a second barmaid facing away from the viewer. I first became aware of art by staring at this painting every week.

800px-Edouard_Manet%2C_A_Bar_at_the_Folies-Berg%C3%A8re.jpg


Other reading matter came from what were then called bric-a-brac or junk shops, and I grew up trying to learn things from rather dated sets of encyclopedias which clung to a colonial take on the world, as they'd been printed as the British Empire was breaking up, with countries seeking independence.

For leisure reading, I was captivated by the Biggles WW1 fighter ace adventures and Tarzan of the Apes, both of which ran into scores of stories. In true child is father to the man fashion, I'm now writing the fifth novel in my own Cornish Detective series, which is set in the world of art, and has a sub-theme of class war. :D

How did you get infected with the reading bug?

Did you visit a neighbourhood library?

Was your reading matter sourced from charity/thrift stores, car boot sales or garage sales?

Remember the thrill of receiving a book token as a birthday or Christmas present?

pe600413LR.jpg
 
How did you get infected with the reading bug?

When I was very young and just getting to read story books, as against picture books with very few words, my mother ran a nursery school out of our house. One day a well meaning parent of one of the children donated about two hundred children's books to us so I had a fantastic library to read at home. There was everything; Enid Blighton, C S Lewis, Lewis Carol, A A Milne. And even some older books for later on, H G Wells, John Wyndham, etc. I just lapped it all up and couldn't stop reading.
 
How did you get infected with the reading bug?

It was something I could do by myself that was thoroughly enjoyable and which didn't require the permission or participation of anyone in my life and which also had the added benefit of helping me forget they existed. Which I'm sure is a hateful answer but its accurate enough.

Did you visit a neighborhood library?

Yes. All the time. I walked there. I came home with piles of books.

Was your reading matter sourced from charity/thrift stores, car boot sales or garage sales?

Sometimes but not very often. My Mother read and we had bookshelves. I'd take her books.

I was allowed to read Jackie Collins but not romance. I lost count of how many sexual partners Jackie Collins' main character Lucky had by the end of the first book. Lucky was about 13 too....

I was allowed to read historical fiction but not historical romance. I still remember a scene from a really boring historical fiction novel where a man lifted up a young ladies dress and did things with his mouth I didn't know could be done.

Oh hell and now that I think about it ... there was a Penthouse Forum in the bathroom. My parents were idiots.

I'm still not much of a romance reader but there's all kinds of different types of trash.

Remember the thrill of receiving a book token as a birthday or Christmas present?

Yes. I received many compilations of fairy tales. I've read Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen. I don't even know how many fairy tales I read. They went very nicely with my bathroom reading.
 
How did you get infected with the reading bug?
I don't really know. I think I was born that way. LOL! My earliest memories involve me reading something. Anything. I'd read the back of cereal boxes while having breakfast in the mornings. I'd take a magazine with me into the bathroom. In first grade, we didn't have to ask permission to use the bathroom. We were allowed to simply get up from our desk and go. But I tried once to take one of my workbooks with me so I'd have something to read, and I got in trouble for it. Try being six years old and explaining that at home, when you ... ahem ... know you'll be in there for a few moments, you always take in something to read.

Did you visit a neighbourhood library?
All the time. And when I got older and had already blown through everything written for my age, I started checking out books written for older teens or adults. Actually had the librarian call my mom at work one time (I think I was 13?) and ask her permission to let me check out the books I'd chosen. My mom read her the riot act, told her she never wanted to be bothered at work again for such a silly reason, and that I was allowed to check out any books I wanted. :)

Was your reading matter sourced from charity/thrift stores, car boot sales or garage sales?
When I was older and had money to spend on books of my own, yes. When I was younger, I read books my mother had and I read library books.

Remember the thrill of receiving a book token as a birthday or Christmas present?
No, I don't recall anything like that. Books weren't given to us as presents. Actually, nothing was given to us as presents that we *wanted* or *asked for*. Presents were all about exercising parental control. I had an interesting childhood. Filled with dichotomies. :)
 
Remember the thrill of receiving a book token as a birthday or Christmas present?
No, I don't recall anything like that. Books weren't given to us as presents. Actually, nothing was given to us as presents that we *wanted* or *asked for*. Presents were all about exercising parental control. I had an interesting childhood. Filled with dichotomies. :)

Oh man. That's a bummer. There's nothing better than getting a book as a present. I could always tell it was a book by the way it felt, even before I unwrapped it. They are the only presents I remember being happy about getting and didn't usually come from my immediate family but from the older members of my Father's side of the family. Except, my most favorite book ever when I was a kid:

Greek Myths

I got the Greek Myths book from my Maternal Grandfather. Sometimes even bad people get it right. I still have this book. In fact, I have two copies. I gave my original copy to my son and because I fancied myself a hippie, I let him do what he willed with it. It's barely hanging on now. It was one of his favorite books as a child too. So, I bought a new one. It's still in print.
 
Oh man. That's a bummer. There's nothing better than getting a book as a present. I could always tell it was a book by the way it felt, even before I unwrapped it. They are the only presents I remember being happy about getting and didn't usually come from my immediate family but from the older members of my Father's side of the family. Except, my most favorite book ever when I was a kid:

Greek Myths

I got the Greek Myths book from my Maternal Grandfather. Sometimes even bad people get it right. I still have this book. In fact, I have two copies. I gave my original copy to my son and because I fancied myself a hippie, I let him do what he willed with it. It's barely hanging on now. It was one of his favorite books as a child too. So, I bought a new one. It's still in print.

I get them now from my husband and daughter. :) :)
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Character Names

Rant You’ve got to be kidding me...

Back
Back
Top