- Books, Literature, and Writing
Diana Grant or Gloriousconfusion Book Collector
My Book Collection Started When I was Nine
Enid Blyton's Famous Five were my first loves
I would buy one book a week with my pocket money and soon went on to read the Magic Faraway Tree series, The Secret Seven, and as many of the boarding school books as I could lay my hands on. For some reason which I can't now recall, I always thought the Twins at St. Clare's were better than the Mallory Towers books, but I read both series avidly, and thus was I psychologically prepared for boarding school, where I wallowed in books during my formative years.
Image: - This is one of my antiquarian books - The Tales of a Grandfather
At School I Was Known as Bookworm
Our school library was awesome
I was seldom without a book - I would even carry one into morning assembly and sneak a few pages whilst everyone else was singing hymns.
I discovered Noel Streatfield and Lorna Hill - wonderful books about ballet school and families who lived in huge houses with a fleet of servants. I remember one family who fell on such hard times that they had to sack all their domestic staff except the cook. I read the Little Women series by Louisa May Alcott, and What Katy Did and What Katy Did Next - and I drank in their lives and all their earnest endeavours and misfortunes. Even being bedridden like Katy taught me what it must be like to be confined to bed for months. I loved Just William and the lithping Violet Elizabeth and collected and read much of the series. Then there was Jennings the naughty schoolboy and his cohorts. They came out a lot later than the Richmall Crompton's William books, and were therefore more modern, and caught the spirit of the era - my era.
Image above: Two Jennings books by Anthony Buckridge
Rupert Annuals, Beano and Dandy Annuals, Eagle, Superman, Captain Marvel - I loved the comics and comic strips and was naturally given annuals for Christmas
I lived in Africa at that time, and we used to get the American versions of the American comic strip heroes, like Mary Marvel, Batman and Robin, Superman and so forth - and i can tell you they were much better than the English versions at that time - when I went to England I found the English versions quite disappointing - I think the American ones were better colours, or more lurid or something (or maybe they were just not censored so much and were considered unsuitable for the sensibilities of little English children).
Image above: Rupert Annual 1958
If you would like to buy this vintage Rupert Annual for £25 using Paypal, you can contact me
Books About Books - See What Amazon is Offering
More lovely books - this time to assist you in collecting and valuing your own books
The Meaning of Home:
Shelves and shelves of lovely books waiting to be caressed and read!
I'm very cheap to entertain - just leave me in a room full of books and I'll say I've had a wonderful time
More About Books After the Intermission
I start on the adults's books then
You'll find a real trip down memory lane
I started boarding school in 1952 and I became an even more voracious reader - by the time I left school I had read most of the fiction in the library.
Take The Poll Below - Is Reading a Dying Form of Activity? - Do You Read Much? See How You Match Up to Other Pollsters
A modicum of reading will probably always be necessary, at least in the foreseeable future - else how would you read the instructions on your ready-made meals, or read the football scores, and a thousand other things like shopping on-line and choosing an Avatar or your Member of Parliament?
But how about reading a four-hundred page book like A J Rowling's Harry Potter or Stieg Larsson's The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo? And What about nine-hundred pages like Vikram Seth's A Suitable Boy, or Tolstoy's War and Peace?
Do you think that reading for pleasure or information is dying out?
I Started Reading Adult's Books from the Age of Eleven - We had a huge number of school set books
We read most of the Dickens books and Shakespearean plays as set books, two or more a term. We also had to read Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility. I really enjoyed them, sometimes with help from our excellent teachers.
Not only did we have two or three set books a term, but we were also expected to read classics during the school holidays. It was a bit of a chore at the time, but I am grateful now.
I also studied Latin books (in Latin, I'm afraid), like Caesar's Gallic Wars (and there were a lot, I can tell you), the poetry of Ovid and the speeches and poetry of Catullus (who was a famous Roman lawyer). Homer'sThe Odyssey and The Illiad. Some of Ovid's poetry was considered too rude for innocent schoolgirls, but, having learnt Latin for five years, I grabbed a copy of his Ars Amatiae (The Art of Love) as soon as I had left school. The school was right!
I Was at Boarding School, so Had Plenty of Time to Read Novels
It was the 1950's and I read many of the popular novels of the era
I loved Neville Shute who was very popular at that time - The Far Country, On the Beach, A Town Like Alice.
Then there was Richard Gordon's iconoclastic series about doctors - Doctor in the House, Doctor at Sea, and on and on. He was a doctor himself, so the stories had a ring of truth. Then there was Nicholas Montsarrat - the Cruel Sea and The Ship That Died of Shame - again writing from his own wartime experiences.
Our school library was impressive, but although there was every kind of encyclopaedia and novel, we didn't do blatant sex. Gone with the Wind was passed round surreptitiously when I was about 15, and I read The Sheikh when I was 16 - all fluttering eyelashes and being swept off her feet in a tent - hot stuff for a teenager with a protected upbringing. I expect it would be considered very tame nowdays, when you see humping people on the cinema screen as a matter of course in many films. It was all more tastefully done when I was a girl - just a meaningful look and a boudoir door closing.
By the time I left school at the age of sixteen, I had quite an extensive vocabulary.
Then I discovered Historical Romances and Adventures - With my fertile imagination I lived these stories!
I read nearly all the historical romances of Georgette Hayer and, less well known, Rafael Sabatini and historical adventure stories - Baroness Orczy's Scarlet Pimpernel series ("They seek him here, they seek him there, those Frenchies seek him everywhere! Is he in heaven or is he in hell, that damned elusive Pimperne!").
These led on to other books about France - The Man in the Iron Mask, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Margeurite and Les Miserables. And, of course, Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities I still remember the opening and closing quotes - they made an indelible impression on my mind: "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." and " 'Tis a far, far better thing that I do now than I have ever done before, 'tis a far, far better place where I go now than I have ever been before". And then he dies on the scaffold, a hero who has given his life in exchange for saving another man's life.
Then there were all the Conan Doyle books - not only the Edwardian Sherlock Holmes mysteries but his stories of Sir Nigel at the Crusades. And I loved Rider Haggard books - She, King Solomon's Mines and Alan Quartermain, and John Buchan's The Thirty Nine Steps. And The Prisoner of Zenda and Rupert of Hentzau.
Popular True War Stories
"Lest we Forget"
Then there were all the popular true stories arising from the War, like The Great Escape, The Dam Busters, Stalag Lufft, and The Wooden Horse.
I was inspired, and have remained so today, by Reach for the Sky, the rivetting story of Douglas Bader, the ace pilot who lost his legs in a flying accident and overcame his disability by learning to walk again and later to fly aircraft).
Then there was The Diary of Anne Frank, another inspirational story, and numerous books about very brave spies. such as Odette, some of whom were caught and tortured, and stories of separation and loss.
My Mother encouraged me, nay, insisted that I should read these books, so that I would know what happened and understand - "Lest we Forget", she would say. And quite right too.
In later years, the 1960's, I read Leon Uris's Mila 18 about the Warsaw uprising, QBII a court trial about about the role of a Polish doctor in a German concentration camp, and Exodus, a fictional account of the persecution of the Jews and how and why Israel was set up. I also read many other books about the consequences of the war and about war criminals, Indeed, when I was studying International Law, I was fascinated by the legal complexities involved in the hunting down and kidnap of the war criminal Eichmann, and his trial and execution in Israel.
By the time I had finished reading all those books, and more, I had some feel for what people had suffered. They were harrowing, but a necessary part of my education.
Image source: Wikimedia - Odette Sanson
Why not join an eBay Auction for First Edition Books?
If you haven't used eBay before, just sign up and register with them, and then you can start bidding.
Be careful to check the descriptions and cost of postage carefully to make sure that items are in good condition, and that the cost of post and packing is reasonable. Then away you go. You can pay by credit card, or PayPal. I always use PayPal for everything online. Again, it's easy to sign up for PayPal, and most online sellers now accept payments made this way.
Here are some of my web pages - books and blogs - You might find something of interest:
- Glorious Confusion Vintage Books
I've just started building this one, and it is still partially under construction
- Glorious Confusion Antiquarian Books
Lots of photos, and old books
- Glolrous Confusion First Edition Novels
Just a couple of items here, but I will be adding a lot more
- Diana's Blog - Glorious Confusion
I blog about current affairs, London, and things which draw my attention
What sort of books do you read or collect - or have you got any other irritating habits?