Background artiste from 'Better than Stars'

Monday, 30 July 2012

What's Your Classic?

I'm really grateful to CarlyB at Writing from the Tub for drawing my attention to this.

Next week, Vintage will republish a selection of children's classics. See Carly's blog above for a schedule of interesting reflections on the event - but what intrigues me is the choice of books to be released. I'm sure it has been shaped by all sorts of restraints of copyright etc rather than being an absolute free choice, but it made me wonder what I would bring back from the past.

My own quirky choice - apart from CS Lewis - would be E Nesbit. I see The Railway Children is on the list, but I grew up with an almost complete set of vintage (with a small 'v') copies of her work, and when I was a child her most famous book was actually my least favourite. My taste was for the more off-the-wall imaginative works, such as The Amulet, Harding's Luck, Nine Unlikely Tales ... I could go on. Yes the writing style and social contexts were unfamiliar, but that was part of their charm: like the fantastical line drawings from another age under their sheets of tissue.

On the other hand, tastes change. At the charity bookshop where I volunteer there's still a market for the Little Grey Rabbit series with its pre-feminist household of the hardworking female rabbit and the feckless male hare, but it's mostly the grandmothers who buy it.

What would you bring back for your own children/grandchildren - of the present or future?


CarlyB said...

Hi Sue, thanks so much for the link - that's really kind of you. And yay for another Bathonian blogger/YA writer!
I hadn't thought about which books I'd bring back as part of a classics list but I'm sure it'd include a lot of Enid Blyton and CS Lewis.

SolariC said...

I must say I'm super excited they're republishing Black Beauty. I've been looking for a nice copy of that to replace the one I read to shreds when I was little. As for what I might want to see on the list...perhaps Dr. Doolittle? I always loved reading stories about how he talked to the animals and had adventures.