Discussion | When Childhood Favourites Are Republished

This post comes to you from nostalgia, which I’ve just been hit full in the face with, due to seeing the Matilda at 30 marketing. For those unaware, to coincide with the thirtieth anniversary of the book, Puffin have teamed up with illustrator Quentin Blake to produce special editions of Roald Dahl’s Matilda with brand new covers, each reimagining the eponymous protagonist as a 30-year old women and defining her by her career.

When I initially saw the marketing, I was (oddly) a little horrified… and confused, and mainly horrified because of this confusion. You see, I misread the publicity and thought that Quentin Blake had written some kind of new story of “Matilda at 30”, imagining her in turn as Chief Exec of the British Library, a World Traveller, or an Astrophysicist. I thought these were original/new stories featuring a beloved character. When I thought Quentin Blake had written 3 different stories about Matilda’s career at 30 I was confused why the illustrator was suddenly turned author but I thought, ok, maybe they’ve dug up notes from Roald Dahl or they’ve ran with a really great idea, and I guess it wouldn’t be so bad to get an idea what her life might have turned out like, even if I would mostly prefer to think of a beloved childhood character locked in time, at that childhood age, and not a year older. I might have aged, but she doesn’t, she remains a child forever. (I have the same feeling when I see the likes of Nicholas Hoult or Macauley Culkin as grown adults – no, how dare you age, you should stay the ages of your About a Boy and Home Alone characters!)

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Feature | Books That Made Me

As people we are all inevitably shaped by the media and culture we consume. This is especially true of our formative years, especially childhood. I think that’s why any books, films or TV shows that we enjoyed as children hold a strange and special place in our hearts, even as we get older and even if we might notice ‘problematic’ things about them.

This post is inspired by the wonderful Cinzia whose videos I adore and who does a sort of annual favourites video which she titles, for example, Books That Made Me 2015. These aren’t just books that are her favourites of the year; they are the books that contributed a more lasting impact on her life in that given year and whose effect will last many years into the future. This got me thinking about my own favourites, the books that “made me”, and I felt like a wander down nostalgia lane in the form of revisiting some of the books I read as a child that I think contributed into making me the reader, and the person, I am today. I thought it might be an interesting feature post to share with you lovely folks, and perhaps we could start a little discussion about what childhood favourite books made you into the reader you are today?

Even more timely, earlier today I came across Comma Press’ blog from their staff talking about their favourite childhood books in honour of World Book Day today. Today seems like the perfect day to publish my own blog post dedicated to the books that came to me as a child reader and still influence the reader I am to this very day. This is going to be a long one, kids, so buckle up…

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Six Degrees of Separation | Revolutionary Road

I’m a little late to the party this month but I bring you another Six Degrees of Separation, book-style! If you don’t know what this meme is then see my previous post or the creator’s website for more details. Basically, every month a book is chosen and participants have to get as far away from the book as possible in six steps. Here is my efforts…

This month’s chain begins with a book I haven’t read (quelle surprise): Richard Yates’ Revolutionary Road. The book, which tells the story of the seemingly model marriage of Frank and April Wheeler, was published in 1961, the same year as…

Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach, a book which was adapted into a film in 1966 which was made up of a combination of live-action and stop-motion effects. It was directed by Henry Selick who also directed a film adaptation of…

Coraline by Neil Gaiman, a dark children’s fantasy about a young girl who goes exploring in her new home to find a door leading to an Other world, complete with an Other Mother and an Other Father. Oh and they all have shiny black buttons for eyes. Creepy, or what? Gaiman is the master of unsettling fantasy, but he also wrote a slightly more traditional Tolkien-esque fantasy tale which was called…

Stardust which tells the story of young shop boy Tristran Thorne who lives in a rural town called Wall and has never ventured outside his own little comforting bubble until he vows to bring back a fallen star as a prize for his beloved Victoria. The film adaptation (which I adore, by the way) starred Mark Strong as “bad guy” Prince Septimus. Strong has previously appeared as Mr Knightley in a 1996 film adaptation of…

Emma by Jane Austen, a book which famously features an unlikable heroine, of which even Austen herself said  “I am going to take a heroine whom no one but myself will much like.” Another novel which features an unlikable protagonist is…

William Makepeace Thackeray’s Vanity Fair, a hella long novel (which I will probably never get around to reading despite the fact I own it) which is set during the Napoleonic Wars, as is…

Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke, an alternative history set in the nineteenth-century and, surprise surprise, it’s yet another hella long novel. However it’s one which I actually will read in the new year not only because I need to, but also because I actually really want to read it finally. I mean, come on, this is it’s opening line: “Some years ago there was in the city of York a society of magicians. They met upon the third Wednesday of every month and read each other long, dull papers upon the history of English magic.” Just yes, this is what I want. I rest my case and, indeed, my Six Degrees of Separation.


So that was my ‘Six Degrees of Separation’, from Revolutionary Road to Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell. This is a fun meme to add to my regular posts and I hope you enjoyed seeing the connections you can make between seemingly disparate books. I highly encourage you to try it out for yourself and share in the comments below!


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