…well, roughly ten. In honour of World Book Day, and linking on from Paul Magrs’ blog, this is my top ten books as a kid.
I grew up on Enid Blyton and especially loved the Five Find Outer series which was about five kids in a small town led by the master of disguise Fatty, who solved mysteries under the nose of the local policeman PC Goon. Fatty’s character was what made it socially acceptable to dress up in dresses in front of my mother (master of disguise, you see…). The next step up was the Hardy Boys, of which I remember little to no detail and look back on and wonder about the insanely implausible plots. Bizarrely, the Beano annual and The Lord of the Rings fall in the same age-bracket; I read LOTR when I was nine because it was the only non-religious book my mum owned, and I was always bought the Beano annual Christmas, mainly so that my adult brother could read it as well. Animorphs (aliens give kids the ability to morph into animals to protect the world against parisitic alien invaders) was one of the few book series discussed with as much avidity as TV when I was at primary school, so it was my only route into that playground culture. They made a bad TV show of it which was the only thing I was allowed to watch in the brief year my parents owned a TV. Bug Muldoon is just brilliant, a noir detective story transposed to a garden, in which our beetle detective investigates the murder of a snail (I think). Genius. The Pearls of Lutra is part of the absolutely wonderful Redwall series by the late Brian Jacques. I loved them all, and read the whole series right up until I left for university, but this was my favourite because the plot revolved around riddles that led them all over Redwall Abbey. I may have to reread this series, actually. You’ll notice that Jeeves and the Feudal Spirit is actually an audiobook, because this was how I first consumed Wodehouse, when I was young. Michael Hordern is still a better Jeeves than anyone, ever. The Last Command is the third in the Thrawn Trilogy, the first real series of the Star Wars expanded universe that I collected obsessively as a teenager. On the picture it’s actually the graphic novel version, which I loved. And finally Magician by Raymond E. Feist which was the first proper fantasy novel I read after Lord of the Rings.