Sunday, May 2, 2010

Reading Across the Generations

Yesterday, I was a my Mum's house sorting out her collection of books.  What Mum wanted to do was figure out what she had and what she wanted to keep.  So, I suggested we wrote out all the titles, sorted them in to fiction and non-fiction and then work on them from there.  It took us around three or four hours to write down almost all the book titles.  We found books from her past that Grandma had read her; and
eventually she herself had read to me.  Then, I found one Mum had gotten from Sunday School called 'Ned The Lonely Donkey'.  The book is still in fair condition.  And it's a lovely story written for children around the ages of 7 - 10.  However, it's a completely different kind of book you'd find for child of the same age for today.  The pictures inside it are drawn and coloured in with an innocent story about Ned the Donkey.  However, today, a lot of other little books that are aimed at children in the same age group have embossed pages, are full of wild adventures and brightly-coloured pages with a story to match.  

So, how have the books from your parents' time changed compared to the books you used to read as a child?  Mine were either hard cover or paperback.  Sometimes - if I was lucky - I'd get a book with pictures of the movie that had just been made from it on the cover.  For me, books were like oxygen - and they still are - as I love to read for pleasure now instead of escapism.  
Books changed the way people see the world.  And when they were published years ago - even before the ISBN came into play - they were something to be kept and treasured in families.  So, what has happened to your family's books?  Do you still have them?  Or have they been given to charity or other family members? 


  1. Wow! That copy of Neverending Story is so old school! DOES WANT!

    My grandfather was in the army, so my mum moved around a lot - meaning that she couldn't keep loads of her books. And we moved around a lot as kids so always had to choose what books to give away and what to keep. I have some of my childhood books but not as many as I'd like.

  2. Bethany, I actually remember that book from only that cover... so whenever somebody mentions the book, it's the only cover that comes to mind. Ironic isn't it? That one is from my tea chest of books that Mum kept for me and I pulled out of respite at their place last Mother's Day (when I began this blog). And I'm so pleased I have it too.

    It's such a pity you couldn't keep as many books as you wanted when you were younger. Imagine if you were allowed to? How many books you'd have now that you had then? My Mum still has her late-brother's stamp album.

  3. 'Ned The Lonely Donkey'! We had that too, and we grew up with the Ladybird Books, all with those beautiful watercolour illustrations. In fact, I still have vast numbers of them, most with the spine fallen off.

    Neither of my parents kept books from their childhoods. As they were children during the war in England / Wales, they may not have owned (m)any books. From my own childhood, I have many books, including my favourite fairy tale collections illustrated with gentle watercolours by Hilda Boswell. I progressed on to hardback Enid Blytons, most of which were given to our neighbour's daughter when we were too old for them. No great loss, except for 'Brer Rabbit', which I would like to read again. It's probably not published any more due to the charicature portrayal of black people.

    Apart from the Enid Blytons, I've kept most of my children's books, and have bought lots more since to share with my children. Living in Holland, I feel I have to provide them with the opportunity to read classics and good new books in their mother tongue. Bonus: even if they don't read them, I do, and I love children's books;-)