Sadly, I read it my way

Diary 1985Reading regrets, I’ve got a few…

As this diary page from my “yoof” clearly illustrates. Desmond Bagley! Alistair MacLean! Gavin Lyall! And the pièce de resistance Jeffrey Archer!

To be fair I was 15 when I was reading these über macho, high-octane thrillers but shame still stings my cheeks especially regarding the naughty Lord Archer. What was I thinking?

All of these authors have completely fallen off my reading radar and I suspect with the exception of Dick Francis and the perjuring Lord Archer of Weston- super- Mare most of these scribblers are largely unread today. Fiction is indeed a fickle mistress.

Cover of The Child that books builtI do love bookish memoirs recounting formative reading experiences, I’m thinking particularly of Francis Spufford‘s The child that books built. Spufford re-read his favourite childhood books discovering “both delight and sadness”. In my case this diary has triggered both profound embarrassment and amazement that I had the audacity to study English at university! If these are the books that build the adult I am today I’d be a gun-toting, flares wearing, libidinous space-rogue. Life on Mars’s DCI Gene Hunt in a spacesuit.

If I could re-write the past I’d display a more accomplished and precocious reading list, maybe a little Proust, James Joyce or Dostoevsky.

Or maybe I just need to be satisfied that the thriller and science fiction schlock I read of yesteryear was nonetheless sufficient fodder to set me up on a longer, more accomplished reading journey.

To help ease my humiliation please feel free to share your most shameful formative reading experiences in this public forum!

9 thoughts on “Sadly, I read it my way

  1. keenanj 30 April 2014 / 2:01 pm

    Similar reading for me at that age, and I still seem to have the odd yearning for the high octane thrill seeking macho male – book that is! Perhaps a nod to my teenage self, but probably just another form of escapism.

  2. Robyn 30 April 2014 / 2:04 pm

    Mazo de la Roche. There. I”ve said it. Avonside Girls’ High School had all 16 of the Jalna series. And I read all of them. Several times. I even imitated one of the characters (alas I can’t remember her name) by applying red lipstick to my earlobes and got punched for my trouble at a church dance – affectation was frowned on in Linwood even then.

    • joyciescotland 1 May 2014 / 11:06 am

      Mazo de la Roche. I’d never heard of her but Googles has now delivered the goods. .Lipstick on earlobes=anarchy.

      • keenanj 2 May 2014 / 11:58 am

        My mother introduced me to Mazo de la Roche. I was obsessed for years

  3. Gallivanta 30 April 2014 / 3:18 pm

    I will join you with Alistair MacLean, Agatha Christie and Dick Francis. Add on Nevil Shute, Leon Uris, James Michener, Victor Canning, Anya Seton, Nicholas Monsarrat, Somerset Maugham……ah, many happy memories and no shame at all. 🙂

  4. bibliobishi 30 April 2014 / 5:18 pm

    Hmm sounds amazingly similar to my reading both of you. Except I had a bit of a Calvinist streak and read the Dr books set in Africa by Paul White. He was a zealous missionary as well as Dr. I think this was when I was younger though.

  5. bibliobishi 30 April 2014 / 5:19 pm

    Did no-one read the bodice ripping Angelique books? I didn’t of course just heard about them from other girls……

    • Vanessaccl 1 May 2014 / 7:27 am

      Ah, the most ravished and ravishing Angelique… My Mum and my Auntie had quite a few of the books and my cousin is named after her. (And, yes, I did read them.)

  6. robertafsmith 1 May 2014 / 3:04 pm

    I read books about pioneers and animals. I yearned for a life more rural (What Was I Thinking?). I have just pulled my favourite book of that time off my shelves – Jock of the Bushveld by Sir Percy Fitzpatrick. I am going to read it again, in an attempt to find out where it all went wrong!

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