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The Golden Age

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3.71  ·  Rating Details  ·  228 Ratings  ·  30 Reviews
From the imaginative author of "The Wind in the Willows," an enchanting pair of books that map the imaginative landscape of childhood..
Hardcover, 174 pages
Published September 1st 1900 by Common Reader (first published 1895)
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(showing 1-30 of 616)
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Petar X
May 05, 2015 Petar X rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I was delighted when I found this book as the Wind in the Willows is one of my all-time favourite stories. Most people haven't even heard of the Golden Age story collection with good reason - they are really terrible. Words that come to mind thinking of Wind in the Willows include charming, beautifully-written, wonderful characterisations, relatable dialogue, a story for all children for all time. By contrast the words that come to mind on reading the Golden Age are boring, smug, lacks creativit ...more
Emily
Apr 21, 2016 Emily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: second-childhood
In the Spring of 1990, a friend at college and I read aloud these stories, and those from this book's sequel, Dream Days aloud to each other, usually outdoors on mild sunny days. Simply because of that, I can't help loving these half-forgotten works of Grahame's, despite recognizing that long winded, almost painfully precise Victorian prose sprinkled with Latin isn't everyone's cup of tea (and oh yes, copious amounts of tea were also drunk during our readings). This is an episodic account of the ...more
Nick
Jul 19, 2012 Nick rated it it was amazing
A classic Edwardian evocation of the separate world of childhood that seems to have vanished today with helicopter parents and the Internet. Grahame calls adults "Olympians," as in remote and pretty useless, compared to the present, pointed, world of childhood. The book is short on plot and long on Grahame's wonderful writing and elegiac tribute to that beautiful era of hot summer days, stolen fruit, escapades involving farmers' rowboats, and the safety of childhood innocence. Where have we gone ...more
Sarah
Sep 10, 2011 Sarah rated it liked it
Shelves: novel
Grahame's reminiscences of childhood are framed in term of the Ancient Greek pantheon of gods. While it may be a book about childhood, it's written too much from the perspective of adults smugly remembering the carefree days of childhood to actually be a book for children.The stories of childhood adventures and elaborate imaginings are charming, but there's not a strong narrative to engage the reader's attention from chapter to chapter. Of course, I'm generally one for a novel rather than a nove ...more
Scoats
Jun 28, 2016 Scoats rated it did not like it
I picked this up cheap at some point because I read The Wind in the Willows as a youth and sort of recalled liking it. As part of my read every book we own project, I am in the G's. This seemed like a nice change after some Graham Greenes, Erle Stanley Gardners, and a Sue Grafton.

The Prolog for The Golden Age was a hard slog, so I skipped to the first story after a page. The first two pages of which were pretentious and ponderous too.

Thinking back, it took me several goes to read The Wind in t
...more
Manuel Alfonseca
Feb 12, 2016 Manuel Alfonseca rated it liked it
First part of "Dream days." It contains seventeen stories and a prologue based on the author's own childhood. These stories are shorter than those in the second part. The ones I liked best were "The finding of the princess," "The Argonauts," and "A falling out," but they are all quite nice. Anyway, I still prefer "The wind in the willows," and since I gave that book 4 stars, I must give this one 3.
Amanda
Apr 21, 2008 Amanda rated it liked it
This was a LibriVox recording.

That phrase is now drilled into my head. But that's ok, because The Golden Age was one of the better read stories I've heard on LibriVox. This book is also available at Project Gutenberg.

The Golden Age was published in 1895 and is a novel that is divided up into short stories. The stories as a whole tell about the childhood of 3 boys and 2 girls. The children refer to the adults as Olympians and believe that the adults no longer know how to have fun. The chapters ar
...more
Lisa
Sep 07, 2014 Lisa rated it really liked it
Great book, a tad pretentious even for a Victorian children's book, with all the Latin phrases. Still a great book on childhood. Too bad the author couldn't extend his seeming empathy with children to his own child later in life.
Laura
From BBC Radio 4 Extra:
Five orphans enjoy England's idyllic countryside, but the end of childhood innocence is nigh. Stars James Fleet and Marcia Warren.
Jeff
May 15, 2016 Jeff rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
I LOVE this book. It's not a children's book, but rather a book about childhood. Beautifully written, hilarious and heartbreaking at the same time!
Jessica
Feb 19, 2009 Jessica rated it it was ok
I didn’t like this book as much as I wanted to; the writing just didn’t keep my attention. The concept is great and the story made me feel so nostalgic. The author writes about the live of five children, from a child’s point of view. It is really interesting to hear the child’s thoughts about the adults around him and how they interact with the world.
Dominick
Jan 09, 2016 Dominick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s-lit
Not quite short stories, not quite a novel, this highly episodic collection evokes the pleasures of chuildhood with wit and nostalgia--and with pictures by Ernest H. Shepherd, to boot. It is all enjoyable enough, if largely lacking any real sense of individual identity for the various child characters (the narrator never even bothers to tell us his own name), and written in an occasionally rhapsodic, almost purple prose that doesn't quite fall over the line into absurdity. Not really a children' ...more
Peter J.
Feb 16, 2013 Peter J. rated it it was amazing
I loved this. He truly captures the feel of childhood many of us have forgotten.
Roni Roshni
Jun 30, 2011 Roni Roshni rated it it was amazing
A good book 4 ppl of al ages abt kids n der mindset.
Jori Richardson
"The Golden Age" is narrated by an unnamed boy, possibly meant to be the author himself, as he goes through the "golden years" of his childhood.

With his friends - the dramatic Harold, the shy Charlotte, and Edward, the oldest - he enjoys all the lighthearted, whimsical fun of being young.

The descriptions of the children's games, their outlook on life, their make believe stories, and their favorite fairytales are charming to read about.
I was quite surprised at the writing in this book - it is bea
...more
James Powers
Jul 24, 2015 James Powers rated it really liked it
Beautiful. Much sadder than Wind in the Willows, especially considering what we know of the sadness of Grahame's own childhood and personal life: a lonely childhood w/o any real parental figures, he never matured emotionally and was desperately lonely and lost his whole life; his own son killed himself as a young man by standing in front of a train. The Wind in the Willows is also informed by these sad (so, so sad) facts: particularly the scene with Pan.
Alec Longstreth
Nov 23, 2015 Alec Longstreth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A dense and well-written collection of stories about growing up in the English countryside with two brothers and two sisters. Does a great job of remembering what it feels like to be a kid, in a grown-up world. I felt an overwhelming sense of nostalgia while reading this book, even though I grew up in a different country and era! Delightful illustrations by Ernest H. Shepard throughout. I look forward to reading "Dream Days" next!
Brandon
Jan 11, 2016 Brandon rated it it was amazing
Exceptional writing, and fun little stories that really capture the lives of children. Kenneth Grahame is one of my favorite writers. Brilliant!
Mike
May 29, 2012 Mike rated it liked it


This collection of short stories forms a loose narrative following some apparently privileged children and seems to be a tale of how one's sense of mystery and awe slowly gives way to cynicism and practicality. There were a few adult characters who had more imagination and ability to relate to the kids, but they are certainly the exception.

The stories were interesting enough to keep me reading over the relatively short work, but I don't know that I'll be coming back to this in years to come. If
...more
Kailey
Apr 28, 2015 Kailey rated it liked it
Shelves: owned-books
This is not really a book for children, but for adults reminiscing about their childhood. The language is complex and flowery. The humor dry and a little bit sarcastic. The plot sweet and innocent. I love how the author takes the small doings and events of young childhood and gives them all the end-of-the-world importance that we feel when we are young.
William
Apr 20, 2009 William rated it liked it
I was just going to reread "The Wind in the Willows" (loved it) but opted to venture into this unread work of Kenneth's (famous for "The Reluctant Dragon"). It reads like a collection of short stories on childhood imagination. A little too benign for my tastes, but not unpleasant. My recommendation: Read the other works cited here first.
Khinna
Dec 23, 2012 Khinna rated it it was ok
Shelves: collecting-dust
Was this really the same author of The Wind in the Willows? After three chapters in, I just couldn't read anymore. As another reviewer said,"Overly written." It was tedious. A Kenneth Graham book you can skip over.
Patti
Sep 07, 2012 Patti rated it really liked it
Shelves: miscellaneous
Loved this, but not for everyone. Highly nostalgic look at a remembered and long-past childhood when life was much different than now. Did I mention Ioved it? Made me smile - a good thing.
Terry
Jan 10, 2011 Terry rated it liked it
don't know what I expected--picked it up because it looked like an old classic. It is but is laborious to work through. Still, quick read and interesting read about different age.
Skye
Jul 10, 2014 Skye rated it it was amazing
Shelves:
I read this after the Dream Days, so a little out of order. Liked it better I think, although my favourite story is still 'The Twenty-first of October.'
Barbara
An older sense of childhood. Some of it works, some of it just seems very dated. Like it's the Agatha Christie of children's lit. Am reading the second.
charlotte Phillips
Oct 21, 2008 charlotte Phillips rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook, 2008
Tales of childhood remembered/reminisced/relieved by an adult. That once reviled state of distance and wisdom brings a witty eye to younger adventures.
Casey
Sep 22, 2008 Casey rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Surprisingly good. What's important to note, here, is that I wrote Bear Season well before reading or hearing of this.
Shawn
Dec 20, 2010 Shawn rated it really liked it
A deeply nostalgic reminiscence of childhood as viewed through a series of short stories.
Bettie☯
Mar 06, 2014 Bettie☯ rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: BBC7 listeners
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Kenneth Grahame was a British writer, most famous for The Wind in the Willows (1908), one of the classics of children's literature. He also wrote The Reluctant Dragon; both books were later adapted into Disney films.
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“And perhaps we have reason to be very grateful that, both as children and long afterwards, we are never allowed to guess how the absorbing pursuit of the moment will appear, not only to others, but to ourselves, a very short time hence.” 4 likes
“The pure, absolute quality and nature of each note in itself are only appreciated by the strummer. For some notes have all the sea in them, and some cathedral bells; others a woodland joyance and a smell of greenery; in some fauns dance to the merry reed, and even the grave centaurs peep out from their caves. Some bring moonlight, and some the deep crimson of a rose's heart; some are blue, some red, and others will tell of an army with silken standards and march-music. And throughout all the sequence of suggestion, up above the little white men leap and peep, and strive against the imprisoning wires; and all the big rosewood box hums as it were full of hiving bees.” 3 likes
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