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Bookworm: A Memoir of Childhood Reading

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  2,650 ratings  ·  506 reviews

When Lucy Mangan was little, stories were everything. They opened up new worlds and cast light on all the complexities she encountered in this one.

She was whisked away to Narnia – and Kirrin Island – and Wonderland. She ventured down rabbit holes and womble burrows into midnight gardens and chocolate factories. She wandered the countryside with Milly-Molly-Mandy, and play
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published March 1st 2018 by Square Peg
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Average rating 3.96  · 
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 ·  2,650 ratings  ·  506 reviews

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"I read omnivorously but not well and certainly without a thought for posterity. I read because I loved it. I read wherever I could, whenever I could, for as long as I could."

This is a wonderfully nostalgic memoir of author Lucy Mangan’s childhood reading life. But more than that, it is a book that will cause any bookworm that has adored reading since the days of diapers and bottles to reflect on his or her own experiences with books. That is exactly what I found myself doing as I read this one.
Emer (A Little Haze)
As a child my books were my constant companions. As an adult this has not changed. So when I read the blurb on this book describing it as a memoir of childhood reading I knew I had to read it and I am ever so glad I did.

This book is simply beautiful. It is full of heart and soul. I felt almost like this was my own childhood story I was reading about even though I hadn't read all the titles featured in this memoir as a child myself. The author Lucy Mangan writes with such joy when she discusses
Diane S ☔
Apr 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nfr-2020
A booklovers dream and a nostalgic romp through ones childhood. The authors love of reading is apparent on every page. Although their were a few books and authors I hadn't read, I found many that I had. Good memories, not just of books but libraries and teachers as well. There is more than just children's stories, there are those like Lord of the Flies and others that I read in middle school. Certainly brought back memories. A pleasure to read and one I intend to buy, treasure.
Apr 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
This nostalgic memoir of a bookworm effectively reflects the dual nature of the reading experience, that of both a deeply personal encounter and one which is shared by hundreds, thousands, even millions of others over time. That we all bring ourselves to each book is an obvious truth, and while books have a life of their own, there must be something within them that connects all those that read it, something that we all connect to within the pages. As a bookseller, I saw the same books chosen ag ...more
Feb 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have never read anything by Lucy Mangan before, but, having adored this delightful memoir of childhood reading, I will certainly be exploring her previous books. Like the author of this book, I was a bookish child and have remained a bookish adult. Like the author, I always preferred my childish adventures to be vicarious – I would rather read about the Famous Five out camping than suffer the discomforts, and dangers, myself. Like her, I became immersed in books, to the infuriation of those ar ...more
Roman Clodia
Mar 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
So, fellow GoodReaders, this is probably our communal biography! Anyone who charts their childhood by what they were reading, anyone who recalls the wonder of weekly visits to the library with a parent (all those books!), anyone who remembers being forced to read the back of the cereal packet because books weren't allowed at the dining table will find themselves in here.

Mangan captures beautifully not just the fact of reading constantly, but the magic of complete child-like immersion in other w
Feb 26, 2018 rated it it was ok
I tend to always love books about books but unfortunately this was an exception to the rule. Even though Lucy Mangan talks vividly about books I recognised and read as a child, I found it quite tedious and slow. It takes a lot for me to not finish a title and I rarely feel like I just cannot manage to get to end but that did happen here. Books are subjective though, so i'm sure i'm in the minority with this view. I do feel that most bookworms would love this, especially if they grew up in the sa ...more
Diane Barnes
May 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.5 rounded up. If you were the kind of child who stayed indoors to read while other kids were playing outside, whose family was irritated because "your nose was always stuck in a book", who haunted the library and spent all your allowance on books, then Lucy Mangan has your number. This was a trip down memory lane in books for me, and I enjoyed the whole thing. Plus Mangan is very funny.

The only downside for me was her description of "the funniest book she ever read" and her all time favorite:
Dannii Elle
Feb 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a must-read for any former child-bibliophile.

Lucy Mangan is an individual I had never heard of before reading this book but one who feels like a long-time friend, now I have finished it. This is a memoir, of sorts, chronicling Lucy's toddling, childhood, and teenage years. She uses books to mark the passage of years, which alter with the growing vocabulary and her her burgeoning love for the written word.

I found myself reminiscing about so many of my own childhood favourites, whilst read
Gumble's Yard
Aug 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
A memoir of and, as importantly, a paean to, childhood reading.

The writing style is lightly humorous, self deprecating and engaging, although the serious nature of the book and in particular the research carried out should not be underestimated.

There are also some serious reflections on how to best allow a bookworm to flourish - I find the comments in the importance of frequent re-reading to a child, as opposed to an adult, very illuminating.

On one level I would expect that most serious Goodr
Lucy Banks
Feb 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I received a copy of this book from Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

Warm, completely relatable account of growing up as a bookworm.

I've always been a passionate believer in the power of books - even from an early age. I guess that's what being a bookworm is all about; and this is something that Lucy Mangan clearly understands too.

This book is a sweet, engaging narration of the author's life, told from a bookcentric perspective. With each chapter, she outlines the books that shaped h
Jun 04, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: books-read-2018
It is easy to spot a bookworm at a party, they are looking for the first opportunity to slide off to a quiet room or a comfortable seat and fish their book out of their bag where they can immerse themselves in the latest fictional creations. It is not recommended to disturb them as this could be detrimental to your health, just to leave drinks in the close vicinity. And maybe some snacks.

I took the news and the list to my parents. 'I'm going to need all of these,' I said gently

Lucy Mangan is a c
Mangan takes us along on a nostalgic chronological tour through the books she loved most as a child and adolescent. No matter how much or how little of your early reading overlaps with hers (a lot of mine did), you’ll appreciate her picture of the intensity of children’s relationship with books – they can completely shut out the world and devour their favorite stories over and over, almost living inside them, they love and believe in them so much – and her tongue-in-cheek responses to them upon ...more
The reader finds out quite a lot about Lucy Mangan from her book. For one, that she has an amazing memory for the books she read as a child. I think few of us, myself included, could bring to mind so much detail about the books we read at each age. Then again, the author is clearly a hoarder, or perhaps more correctly, a cherisher of books, still owning many of the books she acquired as a child.

Bookworm gives the reader a picture of a somewhat solitary child; not lonely, but self-contained, grab
Girl with her Head in a Book
For my full review:

This was one of those rare and wonderful books about which I had the vague feeling might actually have been written with me in mind.  I followed journalist and author Lucy Mangan's Children's Book Corner column in the Guardian years ago, so it was with delight that I discovered that she had written a whole book on the topic.  Tracing from her babyhood to the present day ('For the true bookworm, life doesn't really begin until you get ho
Apr 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I too was a girl told off at breakfast for not passing the cornflakes packet as I hadn't finished reading it yet.
May 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Full review now posted!

Children’s fiction, especially children’s classics, will always be incredibly special to me. Books have been foundational for me since I was born. I slept curled around books instead of dolls or teddy bears, and I stared at pages desperately trying to understand how the squiggles on them were words. I memorized the stories my parents read to me, matching the words with the pictures on the pages well enough to convince them that I had already learned to read when I was thre
Aug 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
A book and biography for book lovers everywhere!

If you love books, you’ll remember which books you read as a child and the first set of literary adventures you had, the visits to the library with your parents, your mum and dad reading to you, quiet time reading at school….

This is walk down memory lane and also a chance to return to the sights, sounds and smells of reading when you completely lost yourself in Narnia and even sat at the back of any wardrobe or cupboard you could find – just becaus
Wendy Greenberg
Mar 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Loved it. As a fellow bookworm it brought back my book blinkered childhood, both in the books discussed and her life. Mangan writes in an engaging, emotive and amusing way.

I have a few years on Mangan and treasured many different titles but so many of my familiars mirrored hers. Bookworming is such an opinionated activity, albeit in an internal way and bound up with living outside my own box. I have never regretted my obsession
Oct 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
The cover is even prettier irl.
This is British, so not all the titles I glean will be available in my libraries, but it's a joyful read anyway. (And some of them might be on OpenLibrary.)

"Riccardo Manzotti describes the process of reading and rereading as creating both locks and keys with which to open them; it shows you an area of life you didn't even know was there and, almost simultaneously, starts to give you the tools with which to decipher it."

"Girls write to ask who the little women marr
Cleopatra  Pullen
Mar 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
How can any bookworm resist this delightful mix of reminders of childhood favourite books and funny self-deprecating humour of a woman whose life has been shaped by them? Not me!

Lucy was a bookworm from the word go, she remembers the familiar The Hungary Caterpillar with his holes with the same affection she recalls Sugarpink Rose, written by Adela Turin and Nella Bosnia and published by a 1970s feminist collective, this book sadly didn’t appear on my bookshelf but I now wish it had. Visits to t
Sheila Beaumont
What a fun memoir for all of us who have loved books ever since childhood! It seems Lucy Mangan was even more bookish than I was as a child, which I find amazing. Since I'm of an earlier generation than the author, and I'm American while she's British, we differed in many of the books we read as children. I had never heard of some of the books she refers to, especially those written for young children, but still she and I had plenty of books in common. Many of them I read after I was grown up (I ...more
Sophie Crane
Nov 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I have lapped this book up like a brand new sponge in a large bath. I loved it, and it will always stay on my book pile.
I to was a bookworm, reading anything, everywhere, by torch light, street light, huddled in a corner whilst life went on around me
Lucy perfectly captures the 'just one more page / chapter ' accurately. It had some very warm passages where I laughed out aloud . I did enjoy the tales behind the stories, This book perfectly captures the pure pleasure of a reader, the smell of boo
Jul 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Very enjoyable - and it can't help but stir memories of your own, personal childhood reading. I was definitely a 'bookish' child and had the great good fortune of having a mother who worked in a Library.
I remember as a child packing to go on holiday - a big pile of books always took priority over everything else.
I now work as a Librarian at our local Community Library and always feel completely at home within its walls.
My own favourite was the Swallows and Amazons series. My childhood did not
Mar 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely ADORED this book.
It made me feel so happy as it caused me to remember my own journey through books and made me want to read them all over again.
Whilst remnisicing about classics, LM describes how she came across the books and what they meant to her and I loved this insight into her life.
If you are like me, and gre up reading Matilda, Alice in Wonderland and The Secret Garden, I really would recommend reading this beautifully written love story to books.
I will be buying this for SO
Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore
Apr 02, 2018 added it
Recommends it for: Children's Literature fans, bookworms
My thanks to NetGalley and Random House, UK for what turned out to be a quite lovely read for me. I’d also like to add a thank you to my goodreads friend Susan for mentioning this book, else I mayn’t have come across it.

Bookworm quite simply can be described as the author’s memoirs of her childhood reading, and it is that, but also so so much more. The author, Lucy Mangan, takes us through her reading from the days she was read to, to when she began reading herself, through till her teens, and e
The 'date started' is approximate! I only remember the date I finished which is pretty cool since it was Halloween in the U.S., and this is a book dedicated to childhood reading.

I do love a book where I learn things - and this book was full of unknown (to me) tidbits on various authors and/or the childhood books they read. Lucy Mangan has a terrific sense of humor to boot, so if you read this one, don't miss her footnotes where she is not shy about injecting her own opinions. Speaking of the aut
Feb 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this leisurely stroll down the memory lane of books read and beloved. This author has an amazing memory and a long lasting connection with the books she reads. I remember only snippets of my early childhood years and could not begin to recall all books read in those years. Lucy Manganese, however, tells her story and that of her family through the eyes of her childhood self who would have always rather be immersed in the pages of her current read. I consider myself to be a childhood (a ...more
Jo Chambers
Apr 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved this 'memoir of childhood reading' - it was like chatting to a kindred spirit about what books we loved as children. Lucy was a more eclectic reader than me and I wish I had read some of the books she adored as a child. I have been inspired to order a few to catch up! This is a warm, witty and passionate book - I thoroughly recommend it to all fellow bookworms!
Had set aside this Sunday to finish many chores , which alas! lie unfinished as I was totally immersed in this book.
I would recommend this as an essential weapon in the armamentarium of any bookworm parent with an expectant bookworm offspring . This book is like a mini treatise on childhood books replete with the authors recommendations .
A few of my notable childhood favourites like Jess and the river kids , and all Indian regional and cultural books were ( naturally) missing . I didn't know of
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Lucy Mangan (born 1974) is a British journalist and author. She is a columnist, features writer and TV critic for The Guardian. Her writing style is both feminist and humorous.

Mangan grew up in Catford, south east London, but both her parents were originally from Lancashire. She studied English at Cambridge University and trained to be a solicitor. After qualifying as a solicitor, she began to wor

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As dedicated readers already know, some of the best and most innovative stories on the shelves come from the constantly evolving realm of young ...
12 likes · 7 comments
“Each book is a world entire. You're going to have to take more than one pass at it.” 3 likes
“The philosopher and psychologist Riccardo Manzotti describes the process of reading and rereading as creating both locks and keys with which to open them; it shows you an area of life you didn't even know was there and, almost simultaneously, starts to give you the tools with which to decipher it.” 3 likes
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