Saturday, 5 March 2011
World Book Night -- Books in my life.
Due to an unsettled childhood I was a very late developer when it came to reading skills, in fact I remember at eleven I was put in a special group at school to help boost my reading. But once I had mastered the skills I very quickly caught up and reading became one of my favourite pastimes and has remained that way all my life. Two books that really influenced me in my childhood the first was the Tales of Robin hood. I've always gone for the dashing hero tale of robbing the rich to feed the poor and throughout my life my heroes have been those standing for truth and fighting for the good of ordinary people.
The Second book and perhaps the one I got the most enjoyment from in those early years was Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson. I think this must be every boy’s dream of sailing off to find buried treasure. I particularly remember the start of the book where Black Dog and Blind Pew hand the old captain the black spot and later when Jim the cabin boy meets up with the one legged Long John Silver. I have re read that tale a few times and it still gives enjoyment. By the time I was in my mid teens I had read most of the popular works by Charles Dickens I loved the colourful way he portrayed the characters in his books, Like Pip and Mrs Havisham in Great expectations and Mr Mcawber in David Copperfield who explained that "Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery". But the book I have chosen as having the most influence on me is Oliver Twist. Having suffered at the hands of bullies at school for being different mainly because I would rather have my head stuck in a book rather than the other pursuits open to schoolboys I could associate myself with Oliver. I've never liked bullies so it was good to see both Fabian and Bill Sykes get there come up pence at the end of the story.
Another thing my school days gave me was a love of Poetry and comic verse, so the next book I'm going to choose is The Collins Book of Best Loved Verse which I have often dipped into over the years. My favourite Poem from my school days was ' The Highwayman' by Alfred Noyes. It is the story of how the redcoats soldiers set a trap for the highwayman by binding is love the Landlords Daughter in her bedroom and waiting for him to call and it ends as a ghost story.. Here’s an exert from the end.
And Still of a winter's night they say, when the wind is in the trees, When the moon is a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas, When the road is a ribbon of moonlight over the gentle moor, A highwayman comes riding, riding riding A highway man comes riding, up to the old inn door. Over the cobbles he clatters and clangs in the dark inn-yard, And he taps with is whip on the shutters, but all is locked and barred; He whistles a tune to the window, and who should be waiting there but the Landlords Black-eyed daughter, Bess, the landlord’s daughter, Plaiting a dark red love-knot into her long black hair.
My next book is A History of Modern Britain by Andrew Marr, I like Andrews’s impartial commentary on our history from the end of the II World War until 2006 he talks of our triumph's as well as the mistakes that have been made. It’s not all about politics he also covers everyday things and is both stimulating and witty throughout. He said of Billy Butlin, A tough little man, who had carried a cut throat razor in his top pocket whilst building is Fairground exhibition Business before the war, and who boasted to friends that is aims were 'money, power and women'. Butlin had a shrewd understanding of what war weary people wanted. He offered in his camps colour, fun, warm cabins, surprisingly good food and almost constant activities, from dancing to the famous’ Knobbly Knees' and 'Glamorous granny' competitions.
My Next book is by a local Author from Skegness Margaret Dickenson. I was late in reading any of her books because I wrongly thought of them as women’s books. What I like about Margaret’s work is the use of Lincolnshire people in Lincolnshire settings. She has written many good books about Grimsby and the fishermen and their women in the Fisher Lasses and the tale of the Millers girl but I started with her trilogy set in the Skegness Area from 1910 to the 1960s. It’s the story about a hamlet that was situated where the present day Gibraltar point is just a few farm houses and an Inn and covers the historical events of the Second World War and the floods of 1953. The three books are Plough the Furrow, Sow the seed and Reap the Harvest.
My last book here is a Historical Novel, I've read many books in this category by authors like Bernard Cornwall and Alexander Kent but the one I've chosen is The Pillars of The Earth by Ken Follet. The story is about the building of a cathedral in the town of Kingsbridge. It is set in the middle of the 12th Century. The story is very dramatic and starts and ends with a hanging. The story is set about the life of the people building the cathedral that took almost a hundred years to build and in which the grandfather often started the work and the grandson ended it. The story is interdispersed with the events of the day. One part of the story is set in a siege in Lincoln where one side resides in the Cathedral and the other is sieged up in the Castle. This is truly an epic tale and very well told.