21 September, 2011

That's Quite Enough About Me...

Now that my novel's finished and I am entering the potentially very long process of submitting to agents, I need something else to talk about. Sure, from time to time I may have some interesting news, but mostly I'm just going to be doing assignments for my writing course and playing around with bits of fiction, trying to get inspired. I'm guessing that is not going to make for scintillating reading. So how about instead of talking just about me, we talk about you instead?

Freya Morris recently posted about villains from children's literature. It was a great post in itself, but it was also fun to read everyone's responses to it. It's interesting to find out what different people think (in this case, which villains scared them the most when they were young - both Freya and I would give our vote to Maurgrim the wolf from the BBC version of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. Visit her blog to cast your own vote!). So I've decided that whenever I have no news worth writing about you can do the work for me by answering questions. Starting with:

What is your earliest memory of reading as a child? 
What was your favourite book as a young child (for argument let's say, before the age of eight)?

Image from: amazon.co.uk
My earliest memory is of nursery school, reading the Roger Red Hat series. I remember there was a page that had a picture of Roger with a ball and the words, "Roger has a red ball" underneath. I couldn't read the sentence so I remember desperately scanning the picture to try and guess what the words might mean. I can still see that page as if it were a photograph.

I'm sure I had lots of favourite books, but the one that sticks out in my mind is, "The Hurricane Tree" by *hastily checks Amazon* Libby Purves and Priscilla Lamont. Perhaps it was because I spent every moment I could in the garden and considered the apple tree to be one of my best friends. It's not very famous so I would be interested to know if anyone else has ever read it? I haven't read it for years but I'm pretty sure I've still got it somewhere.

Over to you, then...


  1. Like you Chloe I have memories of reading at infants, the roger red hat series comes to mind (mostly because there was a character called Jennifer Yellow Hat which might appeal for obvious reasons). I also remember reading about biff and chip and kipper and their adventures.

    My first memories of reading at home come relatively late, which suprises me as I've always loved reading and am sure these are by no means the first books I read, but sneaking in at the later end of the age range you mentioned I discovered the world of Enid Blytons Famous Five. From this point onwards I read little that wasn't Blyton for several years, and at one point could have told you a detailed plot outline of each of the 21 famous five stories. This has in another way set a precedent for reading habits that I still have now. Once I've found a book that I love I will often come back to it again and again...

  2. Jenny, you can STILL give detailed plot outlines of Famous Five. Don't pretend you can't. I mentioned one once and you told me it's title and number in the series!

  3. This is a good idea, Chloe :)
    MY early memories of reading are just about how impatient I was. I have always been a slow reader, and that frustrated me because it took so long to get through a book. I remember trying to struggle through Animal Ark books and failing.
    The first book I got through on my own was 'Beware The Killer Coat' by Susan Gates. The first Animal Ark book I got through was 'Squirrels in the School', which was actually when I started to write. I didn't like the ending so thought I'd write my own.
    I enjoyed Enid Blyton's short stories because they didn't take long to get through.
    Harry Potter was a breakthrough for me, as it was the first series I had read cover to cover without hesitation or reluctance. It was much later in secondary school that I discovered the likes of David Almond (Kit's Wilderness, Heaven Eyes, Skellig etc) and Louise Cooper (The Dark Caller Triology), when I retreated to the library to read away from all the pressures at that age. I then discovered Jostein Gaarder and my wish to write was sealed.
    Phew. So there's my life story.
    Nari X

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  5. Hmm, I removed my last post purely because I wanted to edit it really... maybe I should see if theres an edit post button!

    I can indeed still remember lots of things about the famous five but many of the details now escape me :)

    Having said that I can't remember much of what I was reading at that age it does now occur to me that I liked a lot of Roald Dahl, and the narnia series as well.

  6. Enid Byton short stories were great. I mean, they were terrible obviously, but when you're that small they're good fun! Not a patch on The Magic Faraway Tree however. Or Malory Towers.

    Sign of a true writer, Nari... re-writing the ending of something to make it better!

  7. Hey Chloe - thanks for my blog ref.

    Afraid I've not heard of that book. My earliest memory of reading was Peek-a-boo by Janet and Allan Ahlberg. The pages had holes in it to show things peeking from the other page - was brilliant. Twitter told me that it's just had its 30th birthday!

  8. Ah, Janet and Allan Ahlberg! I was just thinking of Jeremiah Obadiah Jackanory Jones earlier - I think he was a character of theirs. Each Peach Pear Plum was a favourite in our family.

  9. I can remember reading two books in class - Firelight and Candlelight (red / orange cover) and Moonlight and Magic (purple cover), but sadly all I recall are the evocative titles.

    May I just pre-empt any straying into television from childhood (and reveal my age in the process) by suggesting: Bagpuss, Pogles' Wood, Hatty Town and Catweazel.

  10. We used to havea video of Bagpuss when I was a kid. But I haven't heard of any of the other books or television programmes!

  11. After reading the othre responses, Rodger Redhat and Biff and Chip come back to me as probably some of the earliest books I can remember.

    I don't think it was long after that I got quite into 'The Magic Schoolbus' books. I think I only had 2 - the waterworks and the human body. I remember being really interested to actually learn about stuff rather than just have a story. I guess I was into science before I even knew what it was.


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