Fans of British Writers discussion

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message 1: by E.M. (new)

E.M. Swift-Hook | 75 comments The first proper book I ever read on my own was by a British author (not so surprising as I am a Brit), it was called Rufus, The New Forest Pony and is so obscure today that it does not even have a Goodreads link. I read it because it was a Christmas present from my parents.

So I am curious, what was the first book you ever read that you knew was by a British author and why did you read it?


message 2: by Rosina (new)

Rosina (rosinarowantree) | 20 comments E.M. wrote: "The first proper book I ever read on my own was by a British author (not so surprising as I am a Brit), it was called Rufus, The New Forest Pony and is so obscure today that it does not even have a..."

Little Grey Rabbit - I went to the library with my mother, when she went shopping, and borrowed it - and read it before bedtime, insisting that we go back to the library the next day.


message 3: by E.M. (new)

E.M. Swift-Hook | 75 comments Rosina wrote: "Little Grey Rabbit"

Oh wow - I had completely forgotten Alison Uttley and the Little Grey Rabbit books. Thanks for reminding me!


message 4: by Werner (new)

Werner | 1014 comments I was reading independently by the time I was six (and I'll turn 64 next month), so the dates when I read things, and some of the things I read, in those early years are hazy, being subject to the vagaries of possibly faulty memory. While I think the first book I read that was by a British author was Treasure Island, Henry Gilbert''s Robin Hood was definitely one I read about the same time (I was seven). (Having grown up in the U.S., the picture books written for very small children that I read would probably have been mostly written by American authors.)


message 5: by Rosemarie (new)

Rosemarie | 613 comments I can't be certain of what I read as a beginning reader because my parents and I emigrated to Canada from Germany when I was six years old. English was the first language I learned to read, even if I didn't always know what the words meant.
The first books that I knew for certain were British were the books of Enid Blyton. I especially enjoyed The Island of Adventure And The Castle of Adventure: Two Great Adventures. I knew they were British because the word curb was spelled "kerb". It took me awhile to figure out that a "jumper" was not what we call a jumper(worn by girls only) in North America.


message 6: by Jane (new)

Jane Baker | 26 comments The first book I read all on my own aged six,I well recall,was called 'Little Dog and The Rainmakers' by Mary Fairclough. I do not know anything about this author. I must have picked up the gist of reading unconsciously from the books read to me by my Mum and older sister and Ladybird books and one day I picked up that named book,opened it,and attracted by the colourful pictures started to read from the middle to the end then went back to the start and read through to the middle.The story is about the adventures a little Native American boy has as he crosses the continent to find the rainmaker people who can break the drought in the northern forest where his people live.


message 7: by Karen M (new)

Karen M | 41 comments My first that I read on my own was probably Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass. I remember getting the book for Christmas.


message 8: by Igor (new)

Igor | 9 comments I started reading more than half a century ago and, and I am almost sure that my first English author's book was "Robinson Crusoe" by Daniel Defoe which, naturally, impressed me greatly. It was one of number ones for us, junior schoolchildren of those times. It was certainly then re-read dozens of times and known almost by heart:)


message 9: by Rosemarie (new)

Rosemarie | 613 comments Igor, have you read any other books by Defoe?


message 10: by E.M. (new)

E.M. Swift-Hook | 75 comments Rosemarie wrote: "Igor, have you read any other books by Defoe?"

I blinked when you said books plural because the only works I know him for are Crusoe and - of course - Moll Flanders. Thanks for this much needed nudge to look deeper...


message 11: by Rosemarie (new)

Rosemarie | 613 comments A Journal of the Plague Year by Defoe is fiction, but it reads like an actual journal of the plague of 1665 in London England.


message 12: by E.M. (new)

E.M. Swift-Hook | 75 comments Rosemarie wrote: "A Journal of the Plague Year by Defoe is fiction, but it reads like an actual journal of the plague of 1665 in London England."

He was a good author and it seems he wrote a lot of historical fiction - including one I will have to read as it is set in the Thirty Years and English Civil Wars, my favourite period in history!


message 13: by Chris (new)

Chris Marchant (chrismarchant) | 5 comments I assume some of the first books I read were Doctor Zeus, as I can remember them well, but not sure if he is a Brit. Otherwise the first I remember are Enid Blyton and C. S. Lewis's Narnia ones.


message 14: by E.M. (new)

E.M. Swift-Hook | 75 comments Chris wrote: "I assume some of the first books I read were Doctor Zeus, as I can remember them well, but not sure if he is a Brit. Otherwise the first I remember are Enid Blyton and C. S. Lewis's Narnia ones."

'The Cat in The Hat' guy? He was an awesome American author - but Enid Blyton and C.S. Lewis were both definitely Btitish ;) Which of those authors did you prefer as a child?


message 15: by Rosemarie (new)

Rosemarie | 613 comments Doctor Seuss, the pen name of Theodor Geissel, was an American. He also wrote as Theo LeSieg.
I read Enid Blyton books when I was a child. I didn't read the Narnia books until I was in my twenties.


message 16: by Igor (new)

Igor | 9 comments Rosemarie wrote: "Igor, have you read any other books by Defoe?"
Of course I have! I've read "The Further Adventures of R.Crusoe" with very interesting pieces on my country, where he criticizes English fireplaces; "Moll Flanders" (and also saw British TV series with brilliant Alex Kingston!); "Roxolana" with its very social and tragic note; "Captain Singleton", where a pirate kills only savages and not whites and morphs into a law-abiding person in the end:) Plan to read more.


message 17: by Rosemarie (new)

Rosemarie | 613 comments I did not know that there was a sequel to R. Crusoe. I will have to look for it.


message 18: by E.M. (new)

E.M. Swift-Hook | 75 comments Rosemarie wrote: "I read Enid Blyton books when I was a child."

Which was your favourite series?

I adored 'The Five Find-Outers and A Dog' series. It started with The Mystery of the Burnt Cottage and there were another fourteen after that.


message 19: by Rosemarie (new)

Rosemarie | 613 comments My favourites were the Adventure series. The Island of Adventure And The Castle of Adventure: Two Great Adventures were my favourites, but I really liked them all the same. I read all the Enid Blyton books our small town library had.


message 20: by Carol (new)

Carol | 133 comments >The Water Babies by Charles Kingsley. I recall distinctly being mesmerized by the idea of babies living under the water, and I loved water myself. The illustrations really drew me in. It was actually my first library book. I pined for that book all through my childhood. I had no idea you could actually buy books (my mom was raised in the depression and would not buy a book if you could get one from the library) Recently, I found a copy with the lovely illustrations and I plan to re-read it all these years later


message 21: by Karen M (last edited Aug 16, 2016 05:55PM) (new)

Karen M | 41 comments Carol wrote: ">The Water Babies by Charles Kingsley. I recall distinctly being mesmerized by the idea of babies living under the water, and I loved water myself. The illustrations really drew me in. It was actu..."

I remember wanting to be a water baby after I read the book but then again I also wanted to be Wendy in Peter Pan! LOL


message 22: by Carol (new)

Carol | 133 comments I got The Water Babies on Audible, so now I am reading it and listening to it at the same time. The humor is delightful and some of it would be above the heads of many children.


message 23: by Rosemarie (new)

Rosemarie | 613 comments I read the Water Babies as an adult, after reading it as a child, and I definitely got more of the meaning the second time, but enjoyed it both times.


message 24: by E.M. (new)

E.M. Swift-Hook | 75 comments Karen M wrote: "I remember wanting to be a water baby after I read the book but then again I also wanted to be Wendy in Peter Pan! LOL."

You and me both ;)

Rosemarie wrote: "I read the Water Babies as an adult, after reading it as a child, and I definitely got more of the meaning the second time, but enjoyed it both times."

It is one of those marvelously many-layered stories which speaks to different ages in different ways. I know the social comment completely parted my hair on the way over when I had it read to me as a child.


message 25: by Jane (new)

Jane Baker | 26 comments I must have been 10 when I read the Water Babies and found its fantasy worlds enchanting but it was only recently when I read the first page of it in an anthology that I realised with horror that little Tom actually dies on the first page. He runs into the river and drowns. Poor little soul. I hadn't got that as a kid.


message 26: by Werner (new)

Werner | 1014 comments I must have been around ten, too, when I read Oliver Twist, but I liked it. "Different strokes for different folks," I guess. :-) But I never read The Water Babies, nor even heard of it as a kid. (And I'd never heard of Enid Blyton until I joined Goodreads. My guess is that she wasn't as well known in the U.S. as she was in the U.K.)


message 27: by E.M. (new)

E.M. Swift-Hook | 75 comments Werner wrote: "(And I'd never heard of Enid Blyton until I joined Goodreads. My guess is that she wasn't as well known in the U.S. as she was in the U.K.) ."

Enid Blyton was almost analogous with children's literature in the UK when I was growing up. It was also often looked down on as having poor literary merit. This was because she chose to use a specifically limited vocabulary to make the books more accessible for children, as she felt this would encourage them to become confident independent readers.

Whether it was true in general or not, I think her idea was vindicated in my case as I had certainly graduated on from Blyton to Tolkien by the time I was nine and since I read an awful lot of her books, I suspect they may well have helped the process along the way. ;)


message 28: by Jane (last edited Sep 30, 2016 11:58AM) (new)

Jane Jago | 24 comments The first book I can consciously remember reading is The Children of the New Forest by Captain Marryat. I read it because my Dad read it to us first and it fascinated me so much that I stumbled through it on my own before I was five -with a lot of leg-ups from Mum.

The Children of the New Forest by Frederick Marryat


message 29: by Rosemarie (new)

Rosemarie | 613 comments Jane, did you enjoy the book? I have not read it yet, but have read about it.


message 30: by Jane (new)

Jane Jago | 24 comments I loved it as a child.


message 31: by Jane (last edited Oct 01, 2016 12:54AM) (new)

Jane Baker | 26 comments A few years ago the BBC made a children's TV series of this book. I can't remember the he storyline but it was so well acted it caught on and got an adult following and for a few weeks the nation was hooked! I'm a different Jane,in UK!


message 32: by Rosemarie (new)

Rosemarie | 613 comments Thank you, both Janes. I have been trying to read all the old children's classics, now that I am a granny with two grandkids, a boy 5 and a half and a girl 6 months old. That way maybe they will want to read them too.


message 33: by Jane (new)

Jane Baker | 26 comments I thought I'd put a word in for a lesser known Victorian lady author,Mrs Henry Wood. She is most famous for her book East Lynne from which comes the quote,"died and never called me mother". It's a melodrama which I once saw dramatised on TV and it does make you cry!!! But she also wrote a series of tales,short stories,each stands alone but also work together,her main character is a pleasant lad called Johnny Ludlow. He lives in a quintessential English village and the stories are like the soap opera of their day in that they give you an authentic feel of everyday life as it was lived by most run if the mill people in the mid 19th century. They are very readable with the bonus as I say of the feeling that you are seeing direct into life of that era not told by a historian looking back.


message 34: by Rosemarie (new)

Rosemarie | 613 comments That sounds interesting, Jane. I like books from that time period.


message 35: by Werner (new)

Werner | 1014 comments Jane, this past summer I read (and liked) one of Mrs. Henry Wood's John Ludlow stories, "The Mystery at Number Seven." (It's included in the excellent anthology Victorian Tales of Mystery and Detection: An Oxford Anthology.) Both the author and the character were new to me.


message 36: by Jane (new)

Jane Baker | 26 comments Werner wrote: "Jane, this past summer I read (and liked) one of Mrs. Henry Wood's John Ludlow stories, "The Mystery at Number Seven." (It's included in the excellent anthology [book:Victorian Tales of Mystery and..."

Great I must look it up. I might have read it before when I had the book,really good stories.


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