I've always been a bit of a bookworm, and I especially have a soft spot for the ones I read as a child and young teenager, since they played a huge role in how I learnt English as a language. Sometimes I get such a hit of nostalgia and an urge to re-read those that were most memorable to me, and I thought I would share these in the hope that some of you might have enjoyed them as much as I did (and might pass them on to any young ones you have in your life!).
Surely, anyone who grew up in the UK has read at least a series or two from Enid Blyton? I initially picked this one because the main girl, Elizabeth Allen, has the same name as a lovely lady I knew. I was hooked on these books, and the Mallory Towers ones too - the thrill of reading about life in a boarding school was just so much fun! Their tuck boxes filled with jam and sponge cake and tins of what is probably disgusting in real life but sounded like treasures, the "bad" characters in the book always turning out good in the end, what's not to like? Funnily enough, I ended up going to boarding school a few years later, and while the experience was a little different there were definitely some things I recalled from these books.
Good old Judy Blume, basically the author of what could be deemed bibles for teenagers. I can't imagine having gone through my adolescence without her books (probably all of which I read) - the growing pains are mirrored in the characters of all her books, putting into words those severely awkward years where all your cringe-worthy memories are stored, and making you feel like those bumps and bruises are normal. I wouldn't mind reading one of her books again for a trip down memory lane.
This series by Arthur Ransome I read when I was younger, when I was about 10. I can still remember being completely immersed in those amazing adventures those kids went on - I swear, they made putting up tents and eating canned food by a river bank sound like the most glamourous thing in the world. I fell in love with the characters, the fearlessness and sense of exploration they exuded and it transported me out of my world of comfy beds and dining tables to a life in the wild.
Double Act by Jacqueline Wilson was one of those books I read over and over - as well as nearly all the other books by her that were out in the '90s. I think that when you're a young girl, you have a tendency to go through that "twin phase" - you know, when you dream of having an identical twin who you have a secret language with and fight over boys with. I would describe her books as being the slightly younger versions of Judy Blume books. These were for those pre-teen years, when you want to be a bit more grown up but still stumble through everything like a new born fawn. JW's books were hugely popular (and I'm sure still are), but I was so into them that my parents had to constantly dissuade me from diving into yet another to make sure they weren't the only books I had on my bookshelf.
It would be a sin to not include Roald Dahl in this post. I've read probably every book of his (including his short stories for adults, like The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar collection), and loved pretty much every one. He just has such an incredibly unique, charming and universal way with words, and I don't believe that any age is too old for Roald Dahl's stories. Matilda was possibly me absolute all time favourite - just thinking about it is making me want to read it again! I basically wanted to be her. I'm still working on it.
Last but not least, my first Tolkien. I read this when I was about 11, upon my dad's recommendation if I remember correctly. We went on holiday somewhere while I was in the middle of this book and I couldn't put it down. It was such an exhilarating, out-of-this-world adventure that drew me completely into the magical setting and it stayed with me for years. I've only seen the first movie that they've made of The Hobbit, and I wasn't particularly keen on it - in a way, I think they've made it too epic to stand alongside the LOTR films, while I felt the book was a lot lighter, young at heart and wonderfully theatrical. It's all subjective of course, and I still love the book and want to read it again at some point.
There is so much more that I couldn't include on here (like the obvious, Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe & co., Pippi Longstocking, everything by Michelle Magorian, Sweet Valley High...) - but we'd be here forever.
Any of these trigger memories for you? What was your favourite childhood/teenage book? I for one still read YA books (because who can say no to the Hunger Games?) and I'd love to discover now what I didn't then.
p.s. apparently it's World Book Day today - a happy coincidence and a sign we should all read as much as humanly possible!