My idea of rich is that you can buy every book you ever want without looking at the price and you’re never around assholes. That’s the two things to really fight for in life.
Penguin Books Founder Allen Lane with a Penguin and, ah, a penguin
Happy Birthday, Penguin and Thanks for Inventing the Modern Paperback Book
Thanks blackballoonpublishing! A happy birthday indeed to Mr. Lane!
Michael Redgrave being swoony and slapstick in Climbing High [d: Carol Reed, 1938]
Vaguely interesting archiving news! (contain your joy).
So I have finally got around to making a my gifs page. It’s not everything, and I’m sure I’ve missed things, (I need to put more telly on there I think) but it’s a decent start and oh dear god why have I made so many gifs?
I’ve also tidied up my tags page because I was on a roll.
That’s all. As you were.
I was tagged by ralphsmotorbike a while ago in the ‘10 books that have stayed with you’ meme. Halfway through my list I realised it was becoming kid-oriented, so I
cheated tweaked it a bit and have chosen 10 children’s books (as opposed to books I read as a kid) that have stayed with me. (Literally, as well as metaphorically).
In case it’s not obvious, I loved these books. LOVED THEM. I still do, but nothing is quite like the fervent instinctive love for stories that you have as a nipper.
Danny The Champion of the World: Roald Dahl. I had other Dahl faves (Fantastic Mr Fox, for one) but this - one of the least fantastical - lingers. I could actually imagine being in this book. I landscaped it with familiar places (my home town) and longed for safe but exciting night time escapades.
The Iron Man: Ted Hughes. I read this again today. It’s so brief and vivid and precise and visceral: it’s Hughes’ poetic eye only slightly tempered for kids, his particular genius for the physicality of things: the Iron Man chewing on a rusty stove like a delicious toffee. I didn’t know it as a kid but this book made me a Hughes fan for life.
The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark: Jill Tomlinson. Easy to see now it’s a book about a timid child making new friends and overcoming fears, which is a great lesson to surreptitiously learn. But it’s delightful, and adorable (like Plop, our hero owl) and funny without being twee or cosy.
The Kingdom Under The Sea: Joan Aiken (illustrations by Jan Pieńkowski). The (re-told fairy tale) stories are marvellous, but the pictures are what stays with me. I spent happy minutes reading Meg and Mog books at the library, but this is a different level of Pieńkowski’s artistic beauty.
A Book of Milliganimals: Spike Milligan. Because to this day whenever I read/hear/think the line ‘Tyger Tyger burning bright’ (often, because I’m a Blake fangirl) I follow it up with ‘Look out! You’ll set the forest alight’. You’re never too young for silliness. When you’re a kid you just read books, you don’t know who the writers are, so I loved Spike long before I knew what he was famous for.
The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe: C S Lewis. I think no other book has invaded my subconscious like this one. None of the other Narnia books did. I remember being horribly disappointed when someone told me (I was still young) that Aslan was sort of Jesus, but it didn’t stop me loving him, or the book. Or feeling - guiltily - that it was only the fact that I hate turkish delight that would have stopped me from being Edmund.
Just So Stories: Rudyard Kipling. All the stories, but especially ‘How The Alphabet Was Made’. Both my parents read to me all the time, but that one reminds me of my dad, because it’s about a little girl and her dad and words and inventing a written language. I want to clutch this story to myself and never let it go.
Alice Through The Looking Glass: Lewis Carroll. More than ‘Wonderland’, for many reasons; Jabberwocky, the talking flowers, and that moment Alice discovers she is on a giant chessboard.
Mr Tickle: Roger Hargreaves. I was obsessed with the Mr Men, reading them, and drawing them (all the time) and - the excitement - watching them on telly. Mr Tickle lying in bed and reaching into the biscuit tin downstairs was probably my first terrible epiphany of how disappointing life is compared to the glory of fiction. I’ve still not recovered from that one.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar: Eric Carle. You can get VHC everything these days, but it doesn’t matter: nothing compares to that first glorious moment of seeing the holes in the pages and the different sizes of page and OH! of course all the glorious food. I was a gluttonous child. And the illustrations are quite beautiful; timeless and of-their-time both.
Ronald Colman in If I Were King (1938)