Welcome to another edition of Bookish Bloggers Unite. The #bookishbloggersunite tag came about when a bunch of likeminded friends wanted to talk about books together. This week we’re talking about influential childhood books, and we’re being hosted by the wonderful Katy over at The Bookish Cronk.
I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t able to read. I also don’t really remember any favourite picture books from my childhood. There is one series that loomed large for me.
I had every Trixie Belden book and I read them obsessively over and over from the age of about 7. I was already a tomboy, now I just needed a club and adventures – none of which really materialised. I even managed to convince my parents to get me some Bob-White quails (so cute!) Trixie was great – she was strong, independent and wouldn’t take any crap. As much as I loved these books, I haven’t tried to reread them as an adult as I’m worried about how they would hold up. I don’t remember a single character who wasn’t white.
As I got a bit older and entered high school, I discovered another series of mystery novels – Arthur Upfield’s “Bony” Books.
I don’t need to reread these as an adult – what I can remember has me cringing for real. Plot summary for those of you not familiar with these gems. Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte (aka Bony) is “half” Aboriginal and works on police cases in the outback. He is subjected to racism until the people he is dealing with realise he’s a police Inspector. The final nail went into the coffin of these books for me when a movie was put together in the early 90s with a white actor “blacking up” to play the lead. No, no, no. It is also a sad indictment on my education that I learned way more about Aboriginal culture from these books than anything else in the formal curriculum. (Not saying that was accurate or appropriate, merely noting the meagre offerings.) Shame on you, Queensland Education.
Of course the holy grail of my childhood reading was this.
Adams taught me about language, pacing, comedy and social commentary. I still love this book so much (and I also still have a digital watch.)
What books shaped you growing up? You can join in by adding your link to Katy’s blog post.