Me on books


I’ve always been a reader and I think I still have my first book Baby’s First Book published by Ladybird around 1966 – it still gets a thrashing when the twins are here as it is now one of their favourites…

I was always the boy who would rather be with a book than doing anything else but I am very glad my parents forced the issue on many occasions and I learned to ride, swim and do work. I would devour anything and by the time I was tenor so, had quite a respectable library under my belt. My earliest memory of a real book (one where text outweighed pictures was a back to back volume of Robin Hood and The Knights of the Round Table. Other early literary memories include The Midnight Folk and a Reader’s Digest version of Miracle at Midway – the start of a lifelong fascination with this pivotal encounter. My grandparents on Mum’s side also had a pretty respectable library and I recall Travis VC, Air Above the Ground and Dynamite for Hire as early reads; plus dozens and dozens of Reader’s Digest Condensed Books.

Comics were never encouraged much at home – we subscribed to Look And Learn for a few years: it was a great source of information but the main attraction for me was the comic serials in each issue like Jason January and The Trigan Empire. It was a major coup when I was eight to convince my parents that a subscription to Countdown/TV Action would be a really really good idea: woohoo! Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet, Dr Who, Fireball XL-5 and other favourites (even now!). I gave that up as a bad joke when it was taken over by American crime shows like Hawaii Five-O, Cannon, etc.

In the mid-70s, I discovered the local book exchange, though I don’t think I have ever exchanged a single book – once I get ’em, I keep ’em! Here I discovered E.E. ‘Doc’ Smith‘s Galactic Patrol (over time have slowly acquired others in the Lensman series – his other series never quite appealed)  and Don Pendleton‘s implacable Mack Bolan: Jersey Guns was my first Executioner and again I acquired most of the original series until the ghost writers who took over from Pendleton just got too sad…

In the late 80s, I joined a great UK-based military book club that had a broad selection of themed books and I moved to Singapore for two years and used both opportunities to expand my library. Around the same time, my room-mate introduced me to Dean Koontz via Lightning and this kicked off another phase…

The common theme through most of my reading is right v wrong, good guys and bad guys…I like things, even complex things, to be this simple…

4 thoughts on “Me on books

  1. Peter at The Strategist commented on the difficulty he has faced trying to find suitable books for his seven year old son…

    You’re so right, Peter…there seems to be a gap between booms for preschoolers and those aimed at teens i.e. Twilight, the Tomorrow series, etc. When I was 7, I was already devouring Jules Verne (I can still see that Christmas ’72 20000 Leagues and Around the World on the shelf from here), The Coral Island, etc. My first ‘big kids’ book (which I have unfortunately lost) was a back-to-back volume of Robin Hood and The Knights of the Round Table. My parents did store most of my childhood books and I now delight in the twins use of them – although only at the Ladybird and Golden Book stage so far… I was lucky that my parents and grandparents were all members of various book clubs and had reasonably good libraries at home through which I could browse. One of the key enablers for me was Readers Digest, the monthly and the Condensed Books, because, regardless of what one may think of their editorial then and now, they were accessible, covered a vast range of topics and provided me a means to increase my vocabulary. We had good libraries at my primary school (Oamaru North) and in town and I was a regular at both. Until I discovered models, all my pocket money went on things to read. Some where does that leave Peter now? In search of a decent secondhand book shop, I’d say…and Wellington has a few from memory…

    • Thanks, I haven’t been very prolific recently as that work thing keeps getting in the way but am working at it…I see that you have committed to the postaday challenge so well done you on that…I’ve just popped over to check out Get Reading Now and enjoyed your posts…what a great message “Get Reading Now”!!! I read prolifically as well and should follow your lead and post reviews of what I’m reading….now there’s a simple idea that I WILL do…might also ‘borrow’ your “5 Must Reads for 2011” as well…thanks for nudging me to achieve more…

  2. I come from a small town whose population never changed. Each time a woman got pregnant, someone left town

    Me Comment: Yeah, I know it’s spam but it is kinda funny…so approved, just this once….

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