Books & Beginnings I

img_1061-1I learned to read at age three. It saved my mother from having me muling for her to read me a story night and day. By eight or nine, I had exhausted my love for children’s literature and started at my parent’s bookshelves where I found such treasures as Plato’s Republic and Dante’s Inferno. My parents both studied literature in college.

My cousin gave me J.R.R. Tolkien at age nine but between eight and nine was a difficult time as reading was a fierce addiction for me.  I no longer enjoyed children’s books and my parents bookshelf had an upper shelf I could not reach. They refused to assist me in acquiring the books on the top shelves. They told me I was too young or some such nonsense. It was a condition I easily outgrew, but not at age eight.

One day my mother brought home a book from the library. She made a game of trying to find something that I would love. I could not fathom Dante and Plato was a bit boring, at least when I was eight.  She held the book up and said this was a book written for children like me. She was right. I wonder if you will recognize it as well.

This book, one of the greats of all time for young readers, starts in a way writers are cautioned never to begin their books. With the weather. Funny, how the best writers always break the rules. Funny, how when they do, it is in such a sublime fashion. Recognize this? Such wondrous magic.

ask blackboard chalk board chalkboard

It was a dark and stormy night. 

In her attic bedroom, Margaret Murray, wrapped in an old patchwork quilt, sat on the foot of her bed and watched the trees tossing in the frenzied lashing of the wind. 

Do you know this? Feel free to comment.

5 thoughts on “Books & Beginnings I

    1. This is the opening of the first novel I remember reading on my own when I was little (maybe around 5??) and it remained a favourite for years and years:

      One early spring day three children looked out of a window in a tall London house. Below them was a busy street and not far off was a patch of trees and grass with a tall railing round them.
      “The trees aren’t even budding year,” said the biggest boy, Rory. He was the oldest of the family, black-haired and brown-eyed. “How I do hare to be in London in the springtime!”
      “Well, we always have been and I suppose we always shall be,” said Sheila. She was twelve, a year younger than Rory. Her hair was fair, but her eyes were as brown as Rory’s.
      The other boy rested his chin on his hand and looked thoughtfully down at the London square below.
      (The Children of Cherry-Tree Farm by Enid Blyton)

      Another of my favourites:
      There was once a muddle-headed wombat sitting in the grass and feeling very lonely.

      A wombat is a square animal with thick hair like a door-mat, stumpy legs, and no tail to speak of. He has brown eyes and a comfortable, leathery flat nose like a koala.

      This wombat was lonely because he had no sisters or brothers or aunties or uncles, and besides, he has spent all his pocket money.

      “I wish I had a friend,” he thought, “a nice, comfy little friend who would fit in my cardigan pocket. A wombat could have lots of adventures with a friend like that.”

      (The Muddle-Headed Wombat by Ruth Park)

      Liked by 1 person

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