OPINION: Favourite tales stir nostalgia

Raelene HallMidwest Times
There’s nothing quite like the joy of reading a book.
Camera IconThere’s nothing quite like the joy of reading a book. Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

One of the greatest gifts my late mother gave me was my love of books and reading. I don’t so much read books as devour them.

Recently Gemma Tognini, from GT Media and a columnist for The West Australian, asked people to tweet their favourite childhood book.

Book? Singular? Totally impossible. There were so many books in my childhood, some that stick in my mind and others I had forgotten until others tweeted them.

Enid Blyton with her Famous Five and Secret Seven books were first to spring to mind. I can recall all the names of the children in the Famous Five, not forgetting Timmy the dog, of course.

Julian, the eldest, followed by Dick (PC police would not like that name), gentle, quiet Anne and tomboy George. I always wanted to be George but unfortunately my personality was more of a timid Anne.

Any book that mentioned horses made my reading list. Black Beauty, Flicka, The Silver Brumby series and the Billabong Series by Mary Grant Bruce were favourites.

Mustn’t forget those Australian classics — The Magic Pudding, Snugglepot and Cuddlepie, Seven Little Australians (the death of Judy broke my heart), The Muddleheaded Wombat, Dot and the Kangaroo and Storm Boy.

I was also a fan of English books about boarding school life. Mallory Towers was one series I recall. The girls seemed to have a wonderful time, even when in trouble, and their midnight feasts were legendary. Other classics I recall enjoying were Little Women, What Katy Did (I always loved the name of her sister “Clover”) and the sequels to the book. Wuthering Heights, was a classic then, and still is.

My brothers and I always received a book on Christmas day. It took me a while to figure out that Mum’s plan was for us to read all afternoon and leave her in peace. These books started out as the annuals to the comics we were allowed each week.

Most of my books are packed away in a sea container. I kept them out hoping my children would read them but there were so many new books to appeal to them. What will I do with them? Maybe I’ll just have to reread them all.

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