This is a subject very close to my heart as I love reading. I was pretty young when I learnt to read, maybe four? I didn’t learn by a very conventional method, I had Lucy and Tom’s Christmas by Shirley Hughes as my bedtime story every night until I knew how to read that book and it went from there. I just memorised the words which means that I had to learn how to work out more difficult words at a later date.
I liked lots of picture books, Shirley Hughes, Quentin Blake and Bob Graham wrote lots of my favourites. The first non-picture books I remember reading were when I was about seven and I read things like Milly-Molly-Mandy by Joyce Lankester Brisley, Teddy Robinson by Joan G. Robinson and the Sophie books by Dick King Smith.
Our picture book collection is still going strong despite the fact the youngest person in the house in now thirteen. The mothership still adds to it occasionally when she sees a picture book that she loves and she can’t think of anyone to give it to…
When I was about nine I moved onto two distinct genres: pony books and books about ballet and the stage. My favourite pony books were the Jill books by Ruby Ferguson and Tessa and Some Ponies by Lady Kitty Ritson. I also read more modern ones like the Sheltie books by Peter Clover (although these got a bit too scary after the first couple) and the Chestnut Hill books by Lauren Brooke. The ballet and stage books I read the most were all the ones by Noel Streatfeild, Antonia Barber’s Dancing Shoes series, and the Drina books by Jean Estoril. I must have read the latter over thirty times.
I didn’t (and still don’t really) like anything with any suspense, danger, scary bits, baddies, magic, you get the idea. I once read the first Famous Fave book by Enid Blyton and I was so terrified that I had to go downstairs and sit next to the mothership to finish it. This has limited the extent of my reading slightly. I am very much someone who rereads books, most of the ones I mention here I could probably recite off by heart.
I continued reading those books for a while along with school stories by Enid Bylton, Antonia Forest and Anne Digby. Around this time I also really enjoyed the Laura Ingalls Wilder books. Other authors and series which I liked were the Fudge books by Judy Blume, Frances Hodgson Burnett (The Little Princess is one of the happiest and saddest books I’ve ever read), the Heidi books (the original was OK but the ones I really loved were the sequels by Charles Tritten) and E. Nesbit (pretty much the most adventurous books I read).Just noticed I’ve cut off the top lefthand corner of this shelf and the whole thing looks very orange thanks to my light… I haven’t read all of the books on this shelf but lots of my favourites feature.
When we were on car journeys, which tended to just be very long as we only really went in the car to go on holiday, we would listen to story tapes. This caused lots of arguments as everyone liked different ones. Mostly we listened to AA Milne read by Bernard Cribbins, Just William read by Martin Jarvis and Paddington read by Bernard Cribbins. Another of my favourite series to listen to were the Jeramy James books by David Henry Wilson.
As I got older I read the Casson family books by Hilary McKay. This week I discovered that there is a prequel to Saffy’s Angel which I never knew and I need to order from the library ASAP. I also read the Princess Diaries. I used to like the films when I was younger but since reading the books I haven’t really enjoyed the films as I think the books are so much better. I also got very into autobiographies. Some of my favourites were Wesley: The Story of a Remarkable Owl by Stacy O’Brian, When Sophie Met Darcy Day by Helen Yeadon, Popular by Maya Van Wagen and Hope in a Ballet Shoe by Michaela and Elaine de Prince (I did’t actually read this until quite recently which given some of the content is definitely a good thing).This is the shelf beside my bed with my keyring collection which used to be on my tennis bag until I almost lost the VW camper van which was so traumatic that I moved them to safety.
A couple of books I’ve read recently which I’ve loved are Crow Mountain by Lucy Inglis (slightly terrifying (for someone like be who hate scary stuff) but utterly gripping), An Island of Our Own by Sally Nicholls (so happy 😊), the Bluebell Gatsby books by Natasha Farrent (found the second one slightly weird but the other two I really loved) and Girl Online by Zoe Sugg. I wasn’t expecting to like the latter at all but actually I thought it was really good. I started reading the second one from the library but stopped half way though as I didn’t like it at all. I have a similar relationship with the Geek Girl books by Holly Smale, loved the first two but none of the others.
Lastly I would like to mention my Blue Peter collection. I used to read these so much and I have every single annual published except 39 and 41, never watched an episode of the actual show though. My grandfather had a list in his wallet and he would scour second hand shops for them. A couple of years ago he discovered eBay and purchased the rarer earlier ones. I think my grandmother then changed his password…
I know that there are loads of books that I love that I’ve missed off this list but it’s start!