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Books from your Childhood
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ZoffreOffline
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PostPosted: 19-11-2013 15:28    Post subject: Books from your Childhood Reply with quote

Searching for something completely unrelated on the net, I stumbled across an old children's novel called The Weirdstone of Brisingamen by Alan Garner. It rang a distant bell, as did some of his other children's works such as Elidor. I'm sure I had these books (I remember one of the covers distinctly) but I don't think I actually read them. They sound intriguing and I'm wondering whether to read them now, even though they're for children Razz

Anyway, that got me onto thinking about those books you read in childhood that stay with you for one reason or another. I vividly recall reading and re-reading a book called The Machine Gunners about two boys who stumble across a crashed German plane (complete with dead pilot) in WW2. I had most of the Roald Dahls of course, The BFG being my favourite. There was also a book called Over Sea, Under Stone by Susan Cooper, which I absolutely loved because the story involved hidden secrets and strange legends! There were other books which I loved for the illustrations - I had an Usborne book about witches which had some great ones. I still have a collection of Rupert annuals which I used to like looking at when I was a child too.

Anyone else got any treasured childhood reads?
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Pietro_Mercurios
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PostPosted: 19-11-2013 15:44    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you liked Over Sea, Under Stone, then the Alan Garner books might still be worth checking out. Garner's books got a great deal darker and more adult later on.
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HenryFortOffline
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PostPosted: 19-11-2013 16:21    Post subject: Reply with quote

red shift particularly is a strong one

charlotte sometimes which i read because i had 3 sisters ... very atmospheric
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marionXXXOffline
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PostPosted: 19-11-2013 18:21    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, these are all good books to read as an adult, I still love them, all the books by Susan Cooper in that series are worth reading- Over Sea, Under Stone, The Dark Is Rising, Greenwitch, The Grey King and Silver on the Tree. Then there are the Snow Spider books by Jenny Nimmo; Fire and Hemlock and Hexwood by Diana Wynne Jones; Urn Burial and The Devil on the Road by Robert Westall who wrote the Machine Gunners (he wrote a few others too but they are my favourites); all the Alan Garner books, some are for adults, some aimed at children/young adults but they are all good. I'm sure there must be more. I still have most of them in my bookcase!
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gncxxOffline
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PostPosted: 19-11-2013 19:04    Post subject: Reply with quote

Too many favourites to mention, I spent half my childhood reading, but I'm reminded of Eric Morecambe's The Vampire's Revenge which I found hilarious at the time. Weirdly I never tracked down the first book (it was a sequel).

Also as far as series went, I really liked the Dragonfall 5 books by Brian Earnshaw, about a spaceship full of characters who got up to adventures, really enjoyable and I still recall the excitement at finding a bookshop which had two of the books I hadn't read - and I could afford them, because they were cheap. Happy days.

Alan Coren's Arthur books were great too, he was more like a Tintin sort of boy. Was fascinated by the simple illustrations which never showed his face.
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FluttermothOffline
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PostPosted: 19-11-2013 19:23    Post subject: Reply with quote

Definitely give Alan Garner's books a read; well worth it.

I loved The Dark is Rising series; still re-read them on occasions. Do hate the end of Silver on the Tree though; so sad!

Nothing wrong with reading children's books as an adult, IMO; you can get a lot of enjoyment from them.

I read a lot of pony books, if I'm feeling down or am ill; they're very calming Very Happy
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JamesWhiteheadOffline
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PostPosted: 19-11-2013 19:34    Post subject: Reply with quote

I started writing something about a book I remembered as an early borrowing from the local library.

Then I found a delightful blog posting about the long-lost Carnegie Library of Birkdale.

I never personally explored the ajoining disused civic complex but what a loss those buildings were! Sad
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PeniGOffline
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PostPosted: 19-11-2013 19:42    Post subject: Reply with quote

Books for young people are better (and inherently more Fortean) than grownup books because they are written for growing minds.

Hell yes, you should read Alan Garner, though the older and more chemically-dependent he got the weirder his books got. I defy you to grasp The Owl Service fully the first time through. At this year's WorldCon, I ran across a third Cheshire book which ties in to Weirdstone of Brisingamen and The Moon of Gomrath, Boneland. Which I haven't read yet, because I'm a little afraid to!

You will not regret reading Diana Wynne Jones, who IMHO was the greatest living author of children's books (and therefore the greatest living author) in English up to the day of her death. She may still be, since her sister Ursula felt like she was channeling her sister much of the time she worked on completing the book she was writing when she died. Islands of Chaldea has a cover now and should be out in the foreseeable future.
http://dwj2012.tumblr.com/post/67474890388/vinaya-lara-uk-us-cover-art-for-the-islands
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SpookdaddyOffline
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PostPosted: 19-11-2013 20:24    Post subject: Reply with quote

There's a thread for Alan Garner's book, Thursbitch, here. Not a childrens book, though.

I've also posted a couple of photographs of places mentioned in his books on the Illustrated Fortean Wanderings thread, here - including Shutlingsloe, Lud's Church and Errwood Hall.

I was lucky enough to have the northern end of Garner's stamping ground as my backyard when I was growing up. And I'm back within spitting distance now.

Edit: Also the subject of this thread - at least to start with.
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ZoffreOffline
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PostPosted: 19-11-2013 20:51    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for all the recommendations everyone! I shall feel less guilty about reading children's books now Very Happy
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liveinabin1Offline
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PostPosted: 19-11-2013 21:06    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think that The Machine Gunners and Elidor were set texts at one point. I clearly remember reading both of them at school.

My mum bought me the Dark is Rising series and IIRC the two main children are called Colin and Susan, which are my parents names! Despite dyslexia I loved to read but I found that some fantasy was difficult to read due to made up words which I found hard to deal with.

As an adult I suggest rereading the Moomin books. They take on a different life as an adult. I also read the Biggles books a few years back, they are worth it as an adult too.

If I get very upset I read the Milly-Molly-Mandy books. I used to do the same as a teenager when I couldn't sleep because of the fear of the cold war!
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MythopoeikaOffline
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PostPosted: 19-11-2013 21:35    Post subject: Reply with quote

I vividly recall reading both the Weirdstone of Brisingamen and The Moon of Gomrath, and they stuck in my memory.

Anybody recall reading Stig of the Dump?

I particularly enjoyed reading Andre Norton's books for kids (e.g. Starman's Son).

At one point, I had a big collection of some really old William and Billy Bunter books. They were lots of fun.

Gadzooks, yaroo, huzzah!
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HenryFortOffline
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PostPosted: 19-11-2013 21:44    Post subject: Reply with quote

liveinabin1 wrote:
As an adult I suggest rereading the Moomin books. They take on a different life as an adult. I also read the Biggles books a few years back, they are worth it as an adult too.

i was vaguely aware of the tv show growing up but luckily i came to these books in my 20's ... incredible stuff ... very insightful family dynamics !
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JamesWhiteheadOffline
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PostPosted: 19-11-2013 22:01    Post subject: Reply with quote

One of the very earliest fiction books I recall was The Lost Pothole by (Frank) Showell Styles. Styles was a prolific Welsh writer of outdoors and historical books for adults and children. The Lost Pothole, though. was set firmly in Yorkshire, with assorted Holes and Ghylls in the gritty landscape.

This was among the very first books I borrowed from Birkdale Carnegie Library*. I was about six or seven years of age. Probably the book was above my reading-age but I was undaunted. Whatever I did not understand created a grand sense of the sublime (EEK this word has just been immediately echoed on a Radio Four Quiz show! 6:57 pm!)

I see online that it would cost only a modest amount to be reunited with this story after a half-century gap. Almost certainly, it would disappoint. What I recall is that its claustrophobic journey through underground chambers filled my head with images and sounds which have haunted me to this day. I remain rather afraid of underground places but am drawn to them. Mostly I satisfy my underground urges vicariously, browsing for hours on urban exploration sites, without having the nerves or skill-set for the real thing.

Almost immediately, The Lost Pothole had literary and artistic consequences: I began to sketch maps of subterranean passages which forked and converged madly until the page was filled. These were Foolscap pages in an old diary I had been given to scrawl in. Soon, I announced that I was going to write a book. In a blindly proto-Jungian way, I seemed to feel this tunnel system was a metaphor, since the book was to be called "The Tunnel of You." Around the same period, Dr Who was exploring murky caves and tunnels and my subterranean obsessions were about to get a boost from the cinema serial of Captain Marvel, which featured extensive sequences in those abandoned Californian mine-workings beloved of Republic Pictures.

*This beautiful and characterful building dated back to 1905, when it came into being thanks to a donation of £5.000 from the Carnegie Foundation.

edit: Some tightening.
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MythopoeikaOffline
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PostPosted: 19-11-2013 22:20    Post subject: Reply with quote

Also remembered, the Martin Magnus books by William F Temple:

http://www.spacejock.com.au/Magnus.html

They were what really got me into science fiction. I was already a bit interested, but these really got me going...

These books are as rare as hens' teeth nowadays.
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