Thursday, September 23, 2010

Flashback Friday: Favorite Childhood Books

Mocha with Linda hosts a meme called Flashback Friday, and I decided to jump in this time!

(I'm also combining it with another Friday meme, Company Girl coffee-time, hosted by Home Sanctuary.)

The subject? Favorite childhood books and reading habits

I'm going to cheat a little and borrow from a post I did on this subject a while back (originally posted on 12/15/05):

I've been a voracious reader ever since I could string words together on a page, and I had some definite favorites as a child.

I went to a British school in Beirut, Lebanon for two years, and read "Jane Eyre" at the age of nine. It remains one of my favorite books of all time other than the Bible...probably my very favorite.

I remember one Christmas, when I was nine or ten, I got several classics, including "Pride and Prejudice" by Jane Austen, "Gulliver's Travels" by Jonathan Swift, and "Villette" by Charlotte Bronte. But probably one of my very favorites was a large anthology of Enid Blyton.

Enid Blyton
was a British writer who was very prolific. I loved everything she wrote, including a series she did about a girl's boarding school called "Malory Towers."

[NOTE 11/14/06): I'm delighted to find that you can buy many Blyton titles new now, and they are also available new or used on sites like eBay and]

The anthology was a huge,almost coffee-table size book full of her stories. I loved that book and wish I knew where it was today. (By the way, I still have many of the hardcover books my parents gave me in those days, and re-read them every now and then...even the ones that were for children.)

(I blogged last year about my delight in finding one of my childhood favorites, "Red Knights from Hy Brasil," by Christine Savery.)

It was during this era that I also fell in love with Noel Streatfield's "shoes" books, C.S.Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia, and anything by Louisa May Alcott.

Beirut also had a Christian bookstore in those days, owned by a British missionary society. They had a great selection of books from Moody Press (anybody remember the Danny Orlis series?) as well as many by British authors. Again, I still have many of those books.

And today I ordered another of my childhood favorites...

It's "Auntie Robbo," by Ann Scott-Moncrieff.

I've probably read this book at least once a year throughout my entire life. The problem is, my copy--yes, the paperback one my parents bought for me circa 1966--is coverless and missing the last couple of pages of the book.

The engaging, quirkily humorous story is about an eighty-something Scottish lady who is highly eccentric and stubbornly independent, and who totally refuses to act her age.

Seen through the eyes of her great-nephew Hector, who is a boy of eight or nine, Auntie Robbo is a highly admirable and fascinating character. The two live a carefree and rather undisciplined life in the Scottish hills, and Hector's perfectly happy with the status quo.

When the second wife of Hector's late father shows up to claim him as her own--Hector has never met this obnoxiously annoying lady until now--Auntie Robbo and Hector go on the run. Their adventures make for delightfully absorbing reading, even at my advanced age.


UPDATE: I did get my copy of "Auntie Robbo," by the way, in very good condition, and thoroughly enjoy re-reading it.

Click on one of the boxes to participate in Flashback Friday or Company Girl Coffee:


Jim said...

Hi Cindy, I am glad you decided to share with us this morning. I liked reading about the Christian Bookstore in Lebanon. I wonder if it is still there? When we were in Jerusalem in 1980 there was a Baptist Bookstore. We bought some souvenirs there.
Isn't it nice to have some of the old books that we had when we were kids? I hope our children still have some of theirs. We tried.
My granddaughter, now 13, started at the International School in London this year. I hope she does as well as you did.

Katharine said...

Oh my word! The twins at St. Claires, and Mallory Towers were my very favorites growing up. I have read each series through at leat 5 times...I couldn't get them all here in Canada, so I had an aunt in London who would send them to me till I had the series!
Love your blog background
Blessings on your day!

skoots1mom said...

thx 4 reminding me of Jane was the FIRST novel I ever read twice...and i forgot it on my list, hahaha! those "horring mones" again, I guess.

CherryBlossomMJ said...

It seems that Little Women is popular with most people in their Flashback. :)

- MJ

CindyC said...

I loved Jane Eyre, too! Caddie Woodlawn, and the Little House books were up there in my favorites.

Joyce said...

Great list of faves.

One More Equals Four said...

I LOVED Little Women....still do. My husband gave me a first edition copy for Christmas a few years ago and I treasure it! Thanks for sharing!

Lea said...

WOW! I'm impressed! I did not enjoy reading at all when I was a child, but in my early adulthood I fell in love with reading and still enjoy it to this day. If I had it to do over I would listen to my parents and heed their advice, go grab a book and read. :o) Happy weekend!

Barbara H. said...

I had not heard of several of those. What a treasure trove! I'm glad you've been able to find copies of them.

Mocha with Linda said...

What fun memories. I've never heard of Blyton or Auntie Robbo. And I really need to read Jane Eyre, especially since my girl loves it!

bekahcubed said...

What great memories!

I didn't read Jane Eyre until my late teen years--and even then I wasn't too fond of it. I wrote off both the Bronte sisters because of it.

Then I spent some time in Mexico homeschooling a missionary friend's daughter--and found an abridgment of Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights. I read a bit and figured it might be just the thing for my reluctantly-reading pupil (She was 14, but both her and her mother had had multiple medical issues that had put her WAY behind in school, so she was reading at a barely proficient level.) My pupil loved it--and I started to appreciate the Brontes a bit more. I've since re-read both books (in their unabridged versions). I don't think I'm yet an enthused fan, but I certainly have revised my original bad opinion of Jane Eyre.

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