MY CHILDHOOD BOOKS – KEEP!

This weekend I was doing my ‘Great Wardrobe Changeover’ – swapping my winter clothes for my summer clothes (I’m not the only one who does this, am I?!) and having a little hoke about in the attic at the same time.

So, when a came across a box with the label ‘MY CHILDHOOD BOOKS – KEEP!’, there was no way I was leaving it in the attic. I have no idea how long these books have been up there, probably for the 14 years since we moved in to our house, but I couldn’t resist a peek to see what treasures I had!

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In between a copy of Heidi, The Diary of Ann Frank and The Secret Garden the main thing that was clear from this haul was that  I was a BIG Enid Blyton fan. My old copies of The Twins at St Clare’s and Mallory Towers were there, along with some Secret Seven’s and Famous Five’s. I was obsessed with The Twins at St Clare’s growing up – I was an only child until the age of 13 and I used to beg to be allowed to go to boarding school, thinking it was all midnight feasts, pranks and fun. I’m glad my parents never indulged me in that particular fantasy!

The Magic Faraway Tree was another favourite, I read that book over and over again. Now that it’s out of the attic, I’ve been reading it to the twins and they are loving the tales of Moon-Face, Silky and the slippery-slip!

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And at the risk of showing my age, my copy of The Magic Faraway Tree is 35 years old, bought when I was a mere 8 years old. I did make that clear enough at the time, right? Reading these books to the twins now, I can’t help but be struck by how they have aged. The boy characters are in charge and make all the decisions and the girls have to help mother with the washing up and the food preparation. It may not sit easily with me now, but you can’t deny the magical nature of her tales and their power to entrance a childish imagination.

Looking through my books also made me realise where my love of crime fiction may stem from – I blame the Secret Seven, the Famous Five and my all time favourites Blyton’s Adventure series. The Castle of Adventure, The Ship of Adventure, The Island of Adventure, I just loved the idea of heading off with my mates and solving random crimes in ruined castles and abandoned islands. There wasn’t much call for my crime-fighting skills in Ballymena in the 1980s but hey, a girl can dream right?

 

Do any of you UK readers remember watching that adaptation of the Famous Five on TV?

I was also delighted to find one of my favourite books of my early teenage years, The Eyes of Karen Connors, which cost me a mere 1.75 of my pocket money. I read this book over and over and here’s why

It began the day that young Bobby disappeared. Karen was babysitting and suddenly he was gone. When they found him, everything was alright….except that Karen had known where he was before he was found.

For no logical reason, she suddenly just knows things. And Ron, the good looking young policeman wants her help to find another missing child.

This is the power that her mother pretends Karen doesn’t have. But she does. She can find missing children ad there are those who want to stop her using that power. People who are prepared to kill if they have to……

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I mean, come on. If I read that premise today I’d pick up that book! I remember reading a lot of those Pan Horizons series, Stranger with my Face and It’s OK if You Don’t Love Me are two that I particularly remember and they were a great bridge between kids books, Judy Blume, Sweet Valley High and proper grown up adult books. You could  say they were a teenagers equivalent of YA in the mid 1980s before YA was a twinkle in a marketer’s eye.

So, the trip to the attic didn’t just bring about some bookish nostalgia for me, the twins are so taken with my old books that they have insisted on getting a shelf for themselves and keeping the books on it.

They are their mother’s daughter!

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I’ve lost a shelf!

 

So,who out there was a Mallory Towers fan? Do you still have your childhood books?

 

The 746

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Cathy746books View All →

I am a 40 something book buying addict trying to reduce the backlog one book at a time!

54 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Oh what a marvellous find… I too was surrounded by Enid Blyton – loved St Clares & Mallory Towers, Famous Five & Secret Seven – and Ladybird books. They stayed with my parents and my kids loved them too… laughed at my little labels and tickets stuck inside from playing libraries! Fab that yours are back on a shelf!

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  2. What a beautiful find! The Blyton Adventure series was my favourite too – and make sure you hang onto your old versions, because the modern editions of her books have been ‘updated’ and sanitised to a disturbing degree! I have very few of my childhood books – some large format tales of Pookie (a rabbit with wings) and my Narnia stories and The Hobbit. Alas, I lost many of my Blytons over the years but I’ve picked up old copies and they’re still as wonderful as I recall! 🙂

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  3. What a brilliant find! I have all my childhood books, they’re spread between my shelves and my stepson’s. I read loads of Enid Blyton’s, in fact I was writing about them the other day, and imagining I was at boarding school…

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  4. What a lovely trip down memory lane. I ripped through a whole bunch of the Famous Five stories when I was younger, and the Narnia Chronicles were another great favourite. Sadly, I’ve lost the majority of my editions from childhood…you have a wonderful collection there!

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  5. I loved the St Clare’s and Mallory Towers books when I was a kid. I want to go back and re-read them but I’m scared they won’t be as good. Maybe one day. I’m also glad to find someone else who wanted to go to boarding school because of them!

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  6. Wow ! I was a major Enid Blyton fan as a kid 🙂 especially Famous five, St.Clare’s and the Five Find Outers ! What about the Put Em Rights ? That was a big favourite too ! I too wanted to be in a boarding school or better, just own an island 😉
    Now I am tempted to check out my old books and see what turns up 🙂

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  7. I loved The Secret Garden! I suspect Enid Blyton hadn’t made it across the pond yet during my youth in the early 1950s – at least not to my neck of the woods. I had Honey Bunch first and then the Bobbsey Twins.

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  8. It’s so much fun reading about your childhood books. I would have totally wanted to read that book, too! Isn’t it funny how the covers are not at all appealing anymore? Were they even then, or did we just have no other choice?
    I didn’t read any of these books, although End Blyton rings a bell. I read Nancy Drew for my mysteries. I also read all of Judy Blume’s books, some Lois Lowry and Beverly Cleary, the Booky books, and, of course, all of L.M. Montgomery’s books (all of which I still have). I don’t have all my other books, though, because most of them kept getting passed on down to my siblings until they were either completely disintegrated or lost.
    Fun post, Cathy!

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  9. They look very much like my childhood books except I think my parents chucked mine long ago 😦 I too was an only child (until I was 15) and adored St Clare’s, I had a couple of omnibuses and could probably recite them word for word. My other faves were the “of adventure” series (mountain, castle, island etc) but I wasn’t a great fan of Secret Seven.

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  10. I still have all of my Famous Five books, all of my Astrid Lindgren books, and the complete St. Clare’s series in one volume. I certainly remember moving them all across the ocean. 🙂 I also read the Trixie Belden books by Julie Campbell. Needless to say, I wanted to go to boarding school, own a horse, and solve mysteries when I was a kid. And yes, I remember the TV adaption of the Famous Five books. When they did the voice-over for the German audience, they changed the name of one of the characters, which always irritated me.

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  11. Ah, what a great trip down Memory Lane! I grew up reading Enid Blyton books too. My favourites were the Famous Five and the Adventure series. I’m sure that’s why I write mysteries today, and certainly why I read the mysteries that others write. There is still something in me that wants to find that treasure map in the old ship-in-a-bottle bought in Greece, or the fabled hoard of gold buried somewhere on Finniston Farm. Enjoy reading them to your children…

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  12. Wonderful find! And how great your girls want to read them as well.
    I’ve still got many of my own somewhere. Either in the cellar or the attic. I’ll have to search for them one of these days.

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  13. Enid Blyton can be quite hard to read now but they gave me countless hours of pleasure when I was a kid. Loved the ‘…of Adventure’ series especially and ‘The Ship of Adventure’ was my favourite book for years. I finally got my very own ship in a bottle when I was thirty-something and still imagine there’s probably a treasure map hidden inside it…

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  14. Yes I still have my childhood books. In fact we just moved and kept them. I don’t have too many, less than 20; as I read books from my school library, so those that I was lucky to have my parents buy for me are keepers for life. I also have the secret garden and a big fan of the baby sitters club. It’s nice to see your kids are giving your books a new life. 🙂

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  15. Your books look so much like the collection I had – My shelves had lots of Enid Blyton, the same covers as yours too – I particularly liked the Mystery of series my favourite being the Mystery of the Pantomime Cat. I remember lots of them being solved by the brand of cigarettes, I got a big telling off for looking at cigarette butts on the ground, unsurprisingly!! Great post you can’t beat a bit of nostalgia!

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  16. What fun to come across that find! I wish I still had some of mine. And yes, I also was obsessed with Mallory Towers: all the midnight feasts, ginger beer and adventures. Who wouldn’t want that for your life? 🙂

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  17. Aw, thanks for the trip down memory lane! I was totally enthralled by Enid Blyton when I was little….though the whole Secret Seven obsession never led to a crime fiction passion weirdly enough. A local secondhand bookshop has an entire corner devoted to Blyton which you’d just adore 🙂

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  18. Aw I love this, it makes me sad I didn’t hold on to more of my books I loved as a kid. I did love Mallory Towers and just bought a set again. Also, I want to be the kind of person with a summer/winter wardrobe – but it’s Ireland – tee’s and cardigans are needed in all seasons lol R x

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  19. That’s a lovely post. Childhood books are truly special.
    I remember a few – a Peter Pan and Wendy picture book, a few Jules Verne and Zane Grey and later on reading Winnetou by Karl May. I used to fantasize about riding a horse in the Wild West and punishing the bad guys. 🙂

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  20. What an awesome find! I wish I still had my childhood books! I spent my junior year of college abroad, my family moved while I was away, and I came home to discover that my father had given away boxes and boxes of books while I was gone. It was a really long time ago, but clearly I’m still traumatized by it! 🙂

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  21. What a fun post! I’m not sure what happened to my childhood books. I let my son read the Famous Five and Secret Seven, and we even found DVDs of them! I do love the idea that we pass on our favorite books to our kids!

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