Sunday, January 5, 2014

Sunday Selections #153 or good books from back in the day!

 The Sunday Selections meme is hosted by River at Drifting through Life. The rules are so simple as to be almost non-existent. Post some photos under the title Sunday Selections and link back to River. A chance to show off some of the photographs you have gathering dust in murky corners.

Well, I am back and just for Elephant's Child who is jealous and River, who is feeling chilly, according to the comments they left last time.... here's a picture of a piece of equipment they will NEVER have to buy.......  no, not the cars, the snow blower, silly!  Should have used the zoom, I think! Wonder what happened to the WT?  He was there a minute ago........


It's been snowing since early evening yesterday and has continued all day.  It's not very cold but the mercury is set to descend rapidly tonight and tomorrow we get wind too, oh, happy happy, joy joy!

So.... can't get to the main computer to find photographs as the WT is working from home so decided to do a book report!

Not from the past year but ones from way back .....  I am slightly ashamed to say that my first remembrance of reading to myself was, sorry, an Enid Blyton story about the blackbird who wished for elegant colorful feathers instead of the boring black he was given.  Not sure of how it was achieved but he ended up with beautiful shiny feathers and a bright yellow/gold beak with which he was apparently content!  I think it was in an Enid Blyton compendium.  Let's just gloss over the fact that I had the WHOLE set of Noddy, shall we?

The Pink Hyancinth by Mabel Lucie Atwell was another story I remember reading (along with many more of hers) but on googling Miss Atwell I found she was in fact a children's book illustrator so not sure if she wrote the stories too.  She actually has a page on Pinterest!

The Wool-Pack cover.jpgWe go up a notch with the next book, The Wool-pack by Cynthia Harnett as she was the 1951 Carnegie Medal winner!

From age five to eight I lived in Worcester in the west of England and attended the Alice Ottley School for Girls or possibly Gels as it was quite posh!  We had what I now realise for back then was a fairly progressive history teacher who really made the time we were studying come alive.  The book is about the Fetterlock family and set in 1493.  Along with having the book read to us we each wove a rush basket in which to keep our history exercise books and also wove a small piece of cloth each on a loom that she had set up in the classroom.  There were plans to visit Burford too, but by then we had moved..... to Egypt!  I think those lessons began my life long passion for history and in particular, the Middle Ages!  I still have my copy though minus the interesting dustcover!

Side note...... reading the Wikipedia entry for the school, former pupils included Vanessa Redgrave and Barbara Cartland......who knew?

The Good Master by Kate Seredy is another favourite, my copy (sadly long gone) had the most wonderful coloured illustrations.  I loved that book, I read and reread it.  I need to search for a copy but it must be a hardback, a paperback or on Kindle just won't do!

What Katy Did by Susan Coolidge is next.  An American book so have no idea how it came to be a favourite of a young girl who knew little of America, lol!  My mother was a librarian at Dunfermline Public Library before joining up in 1939 so I am sure it was one of her suggestions.  I chose it in a book club I belonged to in Chicago, oddly the others in the group (all American) had never heard of Miss Coolidge. 

We were living in Nottingham, I was twelve perhaps, and my maternal grandparents came to visit from Dunfermline and Granny brought me a somewhat shabby and huge book bought in the library book sale, Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell.  I can remember a line from the book.... Ellen O'Hara was 32 and by the standards of her day was a middle aged woman......  Loved that book and was one of the many who queued in Leicester Square in London to see the remake of the film at the end of the sixties. 

Another book written about a woman living in the Middle Ages was Katherine by Anya Seton.  My stepfather had a selection of book club novels of which this was one and regrettably I never returned it to him!  I have no idea what happened to that copy but others have been borrowed from various libraries over the years.  It needs to go on The List!

Hmm, I'd better stop..... I could go on and on..... the reason for not putting up a cover image is, quite frankly, apart from the Wool-Pack they are absolutely NOTHING like I remember or the book didn't have a dust cover when I received it so I really shouldn't be entitled to call this a Sunday Selection except it IS Sunday and it's a selection!  Forgive me, River?

I would love to hear what you loved to read when young.......

Thanks for stopping by, keep cool, warm, or dry but above all keep smiling and be nice!

love, gillie x


  1. Still jealous. I am consistent at least. I hope you can stay warm and cosy, and admire the beauty.
    I read lots as a child, and still do. The Enid Blytons of course, Arthur Ransom, What Katy Did, the stories from Arthur Mees Encyclopedias, my brothers' Biggles books, The Narnia series, Wind in the Willows, Rupert Bear....

  2. No longer jealous, it's been cool here in Adelaide. I read Enid Blyton as a child, loved Noddy, and all the Naughtiest Girl in the School novels, Famous Five, Secret Seven. What Katy did was a favourite along with What Katy Did Next, Heidi, Pollyanna. I've never read Gone With The Wind. There are book shops around that have out of print books, maybe you can find The Good Master there? Try a Google search.

  3. Snow always looks nice on a pic, not so fun when you have to go out in it though, stay warm and cosy Gillie, enjoy stitching instead of venturing out.
    Enid Blyton was my favourite as a child. Everyone loves Noddy, I'm able to read him to my granddaughter now - entering my second childhood and finding all my favourites again.

  4. The Good Master by Kate Seredy is available from the book depository,
    Hardback is $17.37AU, paperback much cheaper, delivery is free.

  5. Love Cynthia Harnett - good stories and historically sound. It's a shame so few are in print. The Load of Unicorn was back in print about 10 years ago but The Great House is difficult to find. All my childhood books came from jumble sales but I had a good collection including the Katy books, lots of Enid Blyton, Heidi and beautiful leather bound copies of The Prisoner of Zenda and its sequel, Rupert of Henzau, sadly now lost.
    No snow here but horrendous flooding and terrible high winds. Alice Ottley is now merged with RGS in Worcester.

  6. Dunfermline? Your family is from Dunfermline? Maybe we're related! Looks like a great list of books!

    Hope you're staying warm -- do they get snow like THIS in the UK??? ;-D I LOVE all the snow, but the temps could be a little higher!

  7. Love your snow pics Gillie! Hey no shame in reading Aeneid Blyton....I did and a lot of others too...I also read What Katy Did and have also Read Gone With The Wind although I think I should revisit it! Happy Reading!

  8. Love seeing the snow! We don't get snow where I live except in the local mountains. It's always fun to stop by your blog. :)

  9. Interesting list of books with lots of familiar ones on it. This English girl also read the 'Katy' books alongside the 'Little House' & 'Anne of Green Gables' books. I didn't read a huge amount of Blyton but was (am) very into the Chalet School stories by Elinor M Brent-Dyer

    1. I LOVED the Chalet School series, but couldn't remember the author. Thank you so much, now I can track them down for my grand daughter.

    2. The closest thrift store has more than a dozen of the Chalet School books right now, but I hadn't heard of them before - maybe I need to check them out!

  10. My very favourite was "Tom's Midnight Garden" by Philippa Pearce.

  11. We got a lot of snow too--although given your location and mine, I think a bit later than you.

    I love your book reviews. I grew up with Enid Blyton, which is funny considering I was a transplanted North American living in Africa. I borrowed all her books from my English friend. My favourites were the Mallory Towers books, closely followed by the Naughtiest Girl stories--perhaps because I was a boarding school product myself. But my kids now have the books as reprints.

    I read Gone with the Wind as an adult, and probably cried over it and got mad at it in turns.

  12. Loved hearing of your books - I hadn't thought of Cynthia Harnett for ages, and must track down that one and a couple of the Seredy titles as well. Enid Blyton was a favorite - I loved her "Adventure" series - and read Arthur Ransome to my own son. The Secret Garden remains a special book too. I have my own snow pictures, no jealousy there LOL - we've had more than 3 times the amount of snow in the past month than we usually have, though I love it, no complaints (just don't care for the icy roads).


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