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Swallows and Amazons (Swallows and Amazons, #1)
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Archive YA/Children Group Read > 2018 August YA Classics: Arthur Ransome

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message 1: by Rosemarie, Northern Roaming Scholar (new) - rated it 3 stars

Rosemarie | 8778 comments Mod
We are reading books by Arthur Ransome. Swallows and Amazons is the suggested book, but discussion of his other books is welcome.
Blueberry wiil be our discussion leader.


message 2: by Blueberry (last edited Aug 02, 2018 12:24AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Blueberry (blueberry1) | 765 comments From Wikipedia:
Swallows and Amazons is the first book in the Swallows and Amazons series by English author Arthur Ransome; it was first published in 1930, with the action taking place in the summer of 1929 in the Lake District. The book introduces central protagonists John, Susan, Titty and Roger Walker (Swallows) and their mother and baby sister (Bridget), as well as Nancy and Peggy Blackett (Amazons) and their uncle Jim, commonly referred to as Captain Flint.

At the time, Ransome had been working as a journalist with the Manchester Guardian, but decided to become a full-time author rather than go abroad as a foreign correspondent. He did continue to write part-time for the press, however.

The book was inspired by a summer spent by Ransome teaching the children of his friends, the Altounyans, to sail. Three of the Altounyan children's names are adopted directly for the Walker family. Ransome and Ernest Altounyan bought two small dinghies called Swallow and Mavis. Ransome kept Swallow until he sold it a number of years later, while Mavis remained in the Altounyan family and is now on permanent display in the Ruskin Museum. However, later in life Ransome tried to downplay the Altounyan connections, changing the initial dedication of Swallows and Amazons and writing a new foreword which gave other sources. In 2003, the novel was listed at number 57 on the BBC's survey The Big Read.


Blueberry (blueberry1) | 765 comments Major characters:
John Walker – Eldest of the Walkers and captain of the Swallow
Susan Walker – Second eldest of the Walkers and mate of the Swallow
Titty Walker – Able Seaman of the Swallow
Roger Walker – Youngest of the sailing Walkers and ship's boy of the Swallow
Bridget Walker – (nicknamed "Vicky" due to a resemblance to pictures of Queen Victoria in old age, and referred to as such in the book) Youngest of the Walkers and ship's baby of the Swallow
Nancy Blackett (Ruth) – Captain of the Amazon
Peggy Blackett (Margaret) – Nancy's younger sister and mate of the Amazon
James Turner – Nancy and Peggy's uncle. Known to the children as "Captain Flint"

Settings:
According to Ransome, every place in his book can be found in the Lake District, but he took different locations and placed them in different ways: the lake is a fictionalized version of Windermere but the surrounding countryside more closely resembles that around Coniston. Wild Cat Island, the location of the island camp, has elements from Peel Island in Coniston and Blake Holme (or Blakeholme) in Windermere. Holly Howe, the farmhouse where the Swallows stay, is based on Bank Ground Farm, which exists to this day. It was featured in the 1974 film.


Blueberry (blueberry1) | 765 comments If you have any trouble finding the book you can read it online at:

https://www.fadedpage.com/showbook.ph...


Blueberry (blueberry1) | 765 comments Arthur Mitchell Ransome was born in Leeds, The United Kingdom in the January 18, 1884. He was died June 03, 1967.

He was educated in Windermere and Rugby. His family spent their summers at Nibthwaite, to the south of Coniston Water.

In 1902, Ransome abandoned a chemistry degree to become a publisher's office boy in London. He used this precarious existence to practise writing, producing several minor works before Bohemia in London (1907), a study of London's artistic scene and his first significant book.

An interest in folklore, together with a desire to escape an unhappy first marriage, led Ransome to St Petersburg, where he was ideally placed to observe and report on the Russian Revolution. He knew many of the leading Bolsheviks, including Lenin, Radek, Trotsky and the latter's secretary, Evgenia Shvelpina. These contacts led to persistent but unproven accusations that he "spied" for both the Bolsheviks and Britain.

Ransome married Evgenia and returned to England in 1924. Settling in the Lake District, he spent the late 1920s as a foreign correspondent and highly-respected angling columnist for the Manchester Guardian, before settling down to write Swallows and Amazons and its successors.

Today Ransome is best known for his Swallows and Amazons series of novels, (1931 - 1947). All remain in print and have been widely translated.

Arthur Ransome died in June 1967 and is buried at Rusland in the Lake District.


message 6: by Rosemarie, Northern Roaming Scholar (new) - rated it 3 stars

Rosemarie | 8778 comments Mod
That is very interesting, Blueberry. Maybe he wrote the books because he wanted to put the Russian portion of his life behind him, but he did marry someone Russian. I am sure she was happier in England, away from the turmoils in Russia.


Kathy | 1078 comments Thanks for the introduction to the book and author, Blueberry. I will be reading this but starting later in the month.


Susan Maria | 6 comments I loved Swallows and Amazons! It was a birthday present from my grandmother when I was 11(I think). It is a book that brings back a lot of very special memories for me, and is one of my childhood favourites! I didn't know anything about the Author at all, so I think might read this again (maybe late August?)


Blueberry (blueberry1) | 765 comments Chapters 1-4

The tents the mother made for the kids were very interesting.


Blueberry (blueberry1) | 765 comments Uncle Jim Turner / Captain Flint ... normal native or bad guy?


message 11: by Rosemarie, Northern Roaming Scholar (new) - rated it 3 stars

Rosemarie | 8778 comments Mod
Who left the pile of firewood on the island?
I am sure we shall find out soon.


message 12: by Rosemarie, Northern Roaming Scholar (new) - rated it 3 stars

Rosemarie | 8778 comments Mod
I wonder about Uncle Jim too. Why is he so secretive?

The children have a lot of independence in this book and the adults are generally helpful.


Blueberry (blueberry1) | 765 comments Finished. I enjoyed it, more than last months The Railway Children which I dnf. I also enjoyed it more than it's movie which added a convoluted subplit.


message 14: by Rosemarie, Northern Roaming Scholar (new) - rated it 3 stars

Rosemarie | 8778 comments Mod
This was a great book to read in the summertime. The last few chapters were exciting after a leisurely beginning.


Kathy | 1078 comments I've started reading and am through chapter 3, where the Walker children just arrive on the island. It feels like a very comforting read for summertime.


message 16: by Rosemarie, Northern Roaming Scholar (new) - rated it 3 stars

Rosemarie | 8778 comments Mod
I wouldn't mind having a holiday on their island.


Kathy | 1078 comments Rosemarie, I think that would be wonderful! I imagine it wouldn't be as hot and humid as the weather we've been having. Dog days of August.


Kathy | 1078 comments I'm halfway through Swallows and Amazons and am enjoying how Ransome has the children pretend in their conversations about sailing, camping, pirates, names for places. There's also a lot of detail survival how-to, e.g. marking the way into the harbor, making charcoal.


message 19: by Rosemarie, Northern Roaming Scholar (new) - rated it 3 stars

Rosemarie | 8778 comments Mod
I liked their pirate language as well, and learned some sailing terms as well.


Blueberry (blueberry1) | 765 comments Kathy wrote: "I'm halfway through Swallows and Amazons and am enjoying how Ransome has the children pretend in their conversations about sailing, camping, pirates, names for places. There's also a lot of detail ..."

It reminds me of my childhood in that we had more freedom in being away from the house for long periods without worrying about bad people coming to harm us. I also enjoyed how they were able to keep in their imaginative play for long periods. I don't see as much playing 'pretend' in children today.


Blueberry (blueberry1) | 765 comments Rosemary, I see from your reading list that you have read other books from the series. Do they all follow the same cast of characters?


Blueberry (blueberry1) | 765 comments Is anyone reading or has read anything else by Arthur Ransome?


message 23: by Rosemarie, Northern Roaming Scholar (new) - rated it 3 stars

Rosemarie | 8778 comments Mod
They are all with the same cast of characters. My favourite is Winter Holiday, of the four that I have read.


Kathy | 1078 comments I felt transported back to childhood while reading this book. So much fun.

I haven't read any other books of Arthur Ransome, but will be adding some to my TBR.


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