Gosh, I am late this week — Week 16 Challenge — Did your parents read to you when you were a child? What was your favourite book growing up and why ? Among my favourite books were Highland Bumble and Mary Grant Bruce – The Billabong Series. Then I started to think about the books on my bookshelf when I was younger. My grandmother gave me a copy of Ring of bright water, by Gavin Maxwell and I fell in love with otters of all descriptions. When I was in grade three I read Bull of minos by Leonard Cotterell and wanted to be an archaeologist. Gerald Durrell’s books starting with My family and other animals and the whole series of wonderful books introduced me to the importance of education and conservation at an early age.
Like Gerry, I had match boxes with bugs and started a furore at the Melbourne Museum when I walked in with a cigar box of Syrex wasps [dead] and wanted to know how to mount them. Funny thing is today I can’t remember how I came to have them.
I read everything that I could get my hands on and devoured the classics as well as more modern writers of the day. I loved Arthur Upfield, very much out of favour today in the world of political correctness as is Dennis Wheatley but incredible writers both of them.
When I was growing up we had censorship in Victoria but not in my home and I remember reading the Group by Mary McCarthy pub 1963, and Lolita pub. 1955 in my early teens. No book was off limits. I read the Dam busters Paul Brickhill , Off with his head Ngaio Marsh, 1957, Reach for the Sky by Douglas Bader and these books rubbed shoulders with Raymond Chandler, Sax Rohmer and Enid Blyton, L M Montgomery and Louisa May Alcott, the Bronte Sisters, Jane Austen, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Dickens and so many others. Happy memories.