This week I read/finished csinman
's Madcat Mountain (hopefully my comments are useful and not too glowing or too complaining, San) and Turn Not Pale, Beloved Snail; A Book about Writing among other things
, I think you should read that one. Some of it's quite, quite dated, but mostly it's a lovely book about sharing the love of writing with kids, about avoiding that "OMG I HATE writing" thing which lots of us encounter in school.
For me, Turn Not Pale...
mostly reminded me how much I loved The Wind In the Willows
, among other magical mostly-children's books, and how important my family's love of words was in my love of reading.
One of the questions San asked (to get an idea about the background of the readers for Madcat) was what genre we read in, or what favorite authors and books were. I realised that I left out a whole shelf of very formative books, really deeply treasured words, because they aren't on my shelf or reading list now
. A lot of these are 'children's classics' that have had the misfortune to be disney-fied and turned into movies. Heidi
, The Secret Garden
, The Wind in the Willows
, Winnie the Pooh
. If you just think of the sacharine movie story and don't read the books, you're missing out on some wonderful language. Great, great read-aloud books.
My family read aloud all the time. Mom and Dad would read out-loud after dinner when I was little. When I was older, we three would take turns passing the book around to read-aloud at dinner, and we'd read things that I enjoyed for Andrew. That's how we learned, say, that my mother never mentally pronounces weird names, like in the Lord of the Rings, and that Dad and I tend to mentally pronounce them the same way. That the sad, high glory bits make my Dad cry, and that when you run into bits of elf-poetry, the book is always, always passed to me. Mom gets the silly bits. Peter and I once spent an evening reading out loud to each other (alternating chapters of Chesterton's Napoleon of Notthinghill
- Chesterton is another of my favorites), and it was a lovely way to pass an evening.
I also left my favorite book of all-time off the list - David James Duncan's The River Why
. I think that some of these are so much a part of me that I glance over them. One assumes that everyone else grew up, more or less, how you grew up, and it's never true. Even families with a similar love of reading read different books - Swallows and Amazons
was one of westrider
and Helen's favorite books, and I only read it last year when Peter loaned it to me. It's marvelous!
Hmm...methinks reading the book about writing and reading has made me overly loquacious. I'll leave you with a short piece, written by one of the author's girls at age 10:
"Jon was the most mischievous boy in Parson's Court. He could sink his father's shoes in the rainbarrel and not feel guilty. So when he tied the three year old baby on a helium balloon and let it go he only felt rather glad Benny was gone.