Friday, November 17, 2006

Early Reading Meme

I came across this meme on Danielle's blog and was instantly entranced. These questions were designed to bring back happy memories!

1. How old were you when you learned to read and who taught you?

My mother always tells me that I was reading by the age of two. Apparently I sort of taught myself – she devoted some time every day to reading to me (which I loved) and I got to know a lot of my books so well I could recite them by heart, and she says I used to sit on the stairs with a book, reciting the words of the story aloud and following what I was reading with my finger until I could read new material independently.

2. Did you own any books as a child? If so, what’s the first one that you remember owning? If not, do you recall any of the first titles that you borrowed from the library?

My earliest memory is about books. Books, and the birth of my sister. I was two and a half years old when my sister was born, and I remember going to the hospital to see my mother with my newborn baby sister. To prevent any jealousy, my mother had thoughtfully found something for my baby sister to give to me as a present – an entire series of Blackberry Farm books! There must have been over twenty of these little books, all containing different stories of the farmyard animals, and all different colours. I especially remember the maroon book with the illustration of the bounding black and white sheepdog on the front. I was delighted with my gift, and I think that sealed my adoration for my baby sister more effectively than anything else could have done.

3. What’s the first book that you bought with your own money?

Difficult. I have always received lots of books as gifts and I’m pretty sure I used to get book tokens from a young age too, so I could select for myself what I wanted to read. The purchase I remember clearly was one I made when I first started my paper round. I earned ten pounds a week, and it was the first money I’d earned for myself. I went to Waterstones and bought a copy of Robert Frost poems. I think it sticks in my mind because it was the first ‘proper book’ (ie, not junk) that I bought for myself. Before that, I suspect it was mostly horsey fiction that combined my two passions – reading and horses!

4. Were you a re-reader as a child? If so, which book did you re-read most often?

Definitely! I re-read The Saddle Club series over and over and can still recite the adventure of Stevie, Lisa and Carole and their arch-enemy Veronica to this day. I also read The Silver Brumby Series by Elyne Mitchell over and over, entranced by the creamy coloured Australian brumbies and their magical sounding names – Thowra, Bel Bel, Kunama, Mirri, Yarraman. Basically, anything with horses in was a hit when I was younger.

5. What’s the first adult book that captured your interest and how old were you when you read it?

Well – Jilly Cooper probably! I used to poach my mum’s bonkbusters from quite an early age and secretly read the sexy bits with glee. I was far more educated about sex than any of my friends when I was younger! Besides Jily Cooper, Tom Jones by Henry Fielding was the first classic I read, which I recall because I made a conscious choice to start reading classics. We didn’t have many in the house, but I knew that I wanted to take my reading to a new level. I think I was about 14.

6. Are there children’s books that you passed by as a child that you have learned to love as an adult? Which ones?

Um…I can’t think of any. I devoured anything that came my way without discrimination when I was a child and loved almost all of it. I have been back to revisit some of the books I loved when I was younger, but have stopped after a couple of books because they don’t hold the same charm for me anymore and I was sullying happy memories with my adult perceptions ruining it.


Dorothy W. said...

Tom Jones -- that's a great novel! I wonder how you liked it at 14??

The Traveller said...

I can't remember much, to be honest. I think I quite enjoyed it, but I recall thinking it was a long book to read - you know how some books are thick but take little time to read somehow? Maybe the style of writing slowed me down!

Stefanie said...

What smart parents you have, to know that book bribery would work to get you to like your new baby sister!