Monday, October 25, 2010

Minxes' Favourite Childhood Books - Part 3

Childhood reads? Where to start...the beginning is probably as good a place as any. And it all started with Dr Seuss. The Cat In The Hat to be exact. It's a lovely book - has limited vocabulary (all the better to read it yourself), tons of quirky illustrations and the story is told in rhyme, so you can sing it if the mood hits you. I adore Dr Seuss even now - although my favourite these days has to be 'Oh the places you'll go...' - every word is true and it gets better with every page you turn, warning of troubles and worries that might lie ahead for the unsuspecting reader. The tale is told with wit and warmth and all accompanied, of course, by Dr Seuss's distinctive illustrations.

Like other Minxes, my childhood home library shelves groaned under the weight of Enid Blyton's works - many had belonged to my dad when he was a child. I spent hours in the company of the Famous Five and the Secret Seven (although, the boy in the Secret Seven who liked to dress up did annoy me greatly). The Naughtiest Girl In The School, Mallory Towers and St Clair's books were also great favourites.

And then, ghost stories. A gentle introduction, when I was nine, with A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. I loved that book and reread it frequently - even when it wasn't Christmastime. After a while, I moved on to horror - James Herbert was a particular favourite and his books were eagerly shared between my group of friends (The Rats, The Fog, The Dark...). And science fiction - I was lucky enough to be taught by a wonderful and inspiring English teacher, Miss Ferguson, who introduced us to Daniel Keyes (Flowers for Algernon) and John Wyndham (The Chrysalids, Trouble With Lichen, The Kraken Wakes and others). This, of course, led naturally on to The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, written by the frighteningly clever and sadly missed Douglas Adams.

Now I'm going to push it a bit here, because my last choice isn't a book - but I read it every single week between the ages of 10 and 15. Some of you will realise I'm talking about Jackie magazine. Fashion advice, health columns, problem pages - Jackie had it all. And fiction - it was Jackie's fiction pages that inspired my first short stories. Although these attempts were hand written, cringe-worthy and never submitted.

And what about romance? When did that make an appearance on my shelves? Well, romance has a story all it's own. And, if you're very, very good, one day I might tell you all about it.


Scarlet Wilson said...

Suzanne great minds think alike! I had a story published in Jackie magazine about computer dating - I thought I was soooo modern at the time! The only thing that spoiled it was who was on the cover that week - Craig MacLachlan from Neighbours, yuck!

Suzanne Ross Jones said...

Oh, well done Susan. I probably read that story - actually, maybe not, you're younger than me so I'd probably stopped reading it by then. I hope you kept a copy.

I used to work at a univerisity and Craig MacLachlan caused quite a stir by appearing at the Students' Union with his guitar. I gave it a miss, you'll be pleased to hear.


J E Fritz said...

Dr. Seuss wrote my first book, too, although it was One Fish, Two Fish. I wish I still had it, just to look at sometimes.

Suzanne Ross Jones said...

Hi JEFritz - I lost my originals, too , but used my daughter as an excuse to buy myself new copies. :-)


penandpaints said...

Hi Suzanne!
Great, you know how I love childrens books, loved all of those up until the horror ones. I think I missed those!
I've also aquired replacements of original favourites:)

Suzanne Ross Jones said...

Hi penandpaints - we didn't have ya fiction when I was a teen, if we had I'd probably have given most of the horror a miss :-). Glad I didn't miss out on the science fiction, though - Hitchhiker is still a favourite.


Sally Clements said...

Great post, Suz! I love Dr Seuss too - its classic!

Suzanne Ross Jones said...

Thanks, Sally. His books sure are great.


Lacey Devlin said...

Three cheers for Dr Seuss! The world just wouldn't be the same without The Cat in a Hat. The same can be said for A Christmas Carol. I know I watch/read some version of it every year.

Suzanne Ross Jones said...

I know, Lacey - love his books. And, like you, A Christmas Carol is a festive event here.