Monday, December 31, 2012
Reading Matter--Part ll
Since childhood, after being taught to read by my elder sister when I was four, I've enjoyed the work of many authors. Because I was reading well above the level of my contemporaries at my first school, I was privileged to read aloud The Water Babies, by Charles Kingsley, to the Head Mistress in her study. (I didn't really like the story!) At home, having graduated from Beatrix Potter, I really loved the animal stories of the Canadian writer, Thornton W. Burgess, and the series of books by Arthur Ransome, beginning with Swallows & Amazons. (These stories have also been enjoyed by one of my sons and his daughters.) I was lucky enough to move to a (British-style) boarding prep school at the age of 8, and it featured a well-stocked library. I enjoyed the adventure tales of Percy F. Westerman; The Saint stories by Leslie Charteris; and the novels of John Buchan, to whom we were introduced by Harold Elbourne, our wonderful Math teacher. (At the end of one term in 1938, he read The Thirty-Nine Steps aloud to us.) I also enjoyed C.S Forester's Horatio Hornblower Naval novels. I'm a bit ashamed to report that I haven't read most of Dickens, preferring Jane Austen, Trollope, and Thackeray. I keep a record of the books I read, and I am hooked on anything by my fellow Lincoln College alum (David Cornwell), who uses the pen name of John Le Carré. Also Laurie R. King, Patrick O'Brian, and Patricia Cornwell.