Should have read classics discussion

54 views
Children's Group Read > Swallows and Amazons

Comments Showing 1-29 of 29 (29 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Lisa, the usurper (new)

Lisa (lmmmml) | 1864 comments Mod
This is the children's read for July. Please remember to post spoiler alerts and happy reading! I can't wait to read this one, never heard of it before.


message 2: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 153 comments You're in for a real treat. A wonderful, wonderful book. I was brought up on it, and brought my children up on it, and they're bringing my grandchildren up on it, and I hope they'll bring . . .


message 3: by Mo (new)

Mo | 43 comments I have never even heard of this book, so I'm anxious to give it a shot. I have to finish a few others first, so maybe next month!


message 4: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 153 comments Mo wrote: "I have never even heard of this book, so I'm anxious to give it a shot. I have to finish a few others first, so maybe next month!"

It's a fairly quick read for an adult, but very much worth the time.


message 5: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 153 comments I just lost an extensive post about Ransome, his life, and the background of the Swallows and Amazons books.

Thanks, Goodreads. :(


message 6: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 153 comments Ransome is a fascinating author. Rather than try to replicate the post I had made, I'll refer you to several valuable websites, and make occasional comments as we go along. However, be sure at least to skim the information on his time in Russia, including his friendship with Lenin and Trotsky.

Here's a link to the Arthur Ransome Trust:
http://www.arthur-ransome-trust.org.uk/

Here's to the Arthur Ransome Society
http://www.arthur-ransome.org/

Here's a site titled All Things Ransome
http://www.allthingsransome.net/

Here's the Wikipedia entry on Ransome,
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_R...

And here's the Wikipedia entry on the Swallows and Amazons books
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swallows...


message 7: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 153 comments While the location of Swallows and Amazons, on a lake which is never named, is fictional, it is based on and around two lakes in the Lake District, Coniston Water and Windermere, where Ransome spent many of his childhood vacations and where he settled later in life. Many of the events in the books are based on his actual experiences, and many of the locations are closely based on actual locations in the Lake District (and, in later books elsewhere).


message 8: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 153 comments The names of the Walker children are taken (except for John) from on an actual family he knew, though he later denied that their characters were based on the Altounyan family, and that he had only used their names. (He was upset that people questioned his creativity in creating his own characters.) The oldest Altounyan child was a girl, Taqui; she was replaced by John, but the names of the other children, Susie, Mavis, (known as Titty), Roger and Brigit were used.


message 9: by Lisa, the usurper (new)

Lisa (lmmmml) | 1864 comments Mod
Wow Everyman, thank you for all the back history about Ransome and his book. I love info like that! It is great! Thanks again!
Must ask did you do it yesterday, when the site had maintenace? I tried to put stuff in then and it was lost also, makes you want to pull out your hair!


message 10: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 153 comments Lisa wrote: "ust ask did you do it yesterday, when the site had maintenace?"

Yes. But after losing the big post, I made sure only to make short posts, and before hitting the post button I copied the post into Wordpad so it was there in case GR trashed it.


message 11: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 153 comments I love the way the action in the book starts off right with a bang. There's no easing into it with introductions, background, etc. That all gets neatly slipped in as the action moves forward, but the first thing we see is 7 year old Roger tacking up the hillside to his waiting mother. That tells us right away that these are children with imaginations, and that Roger is willing to keep tacking when he's so eager to know what their father said gives insight into his character.


message 12: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 153 comments Isn't that a lovely telegram: BETTER DROWNED THAN DUFFERS IF NOT DUFFERS WON'T DROWN.

Such a switch from the over protective helicopter parents so many modern children are saddled with. It shows a level of trust and allowing independence that, when I was a boy, I so appreciated.

While their mother helps out getting them ready, this isn't the controlled, organized sort of summer that modern American children are subject to, of adult-organized sports, summer camp filled with adult-organized activities, and the like. I think it's wonderful for today's children to see children their own age being able to to be independent, creative, working cooperatively together, and in general sharing an experience that not many children today can.

While my sister and I didn't have quite this level of freedom as children, I must say that we came fairly close. We played sandlot baseball and football on the empty lot down the street, bicycled all over the neighborhood including two miles away to the store that sold ice cream cones for 9 cents, organizing our own games on neighbors' lawns -- capture the flag, statues, kick the can, hopscotch, jumprope, and on and on.

Can you imagine a childhood like that which the Walker children were allowed to experience?


message 13: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 153 comments That John's barometer was a prize may not make much sense to American readers, but I was fortunate to have been able to attend an English boarding school when I was 11, and they did indeed have prize days at the the end of each term where students were awarded prizes for various accomplishments. Probably John got the highest score in his Science class, or some such accomplishment, and a small barometer would be very much the sort of prize that would be handed out.

American schools don't do that, perhaps because it smacks of elitism, but I think many of the English boarding (public) schools still do.


message 14: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 153 comments Is anybody reading or planning to read this? Or am I alone here?


message 15: by Mo (new)

Mo | 43 comments I'm waiting for my copy. It should be here soon.


message 16: by Lisa, the usurper (new)

Lisa (lmmmml) | 1864 comments Mod
I'm still waiting on my copy from library loan. Don't think that you have been abandoned.


message 17: by Kerri, the sane one (new)

Kerri | 328 comments Mod
I just started reading!


message 18: by Kerri, the sane one (new)

Kerri | 328 comments Mod
Everyman, thanks for all the info on Ransome. I so enjoy researching stuff and can't wait to check out some of your websites.


message 19: by Kerri, the sane one (new)

Kerri | 328 comments Mod
OK, I have finished the first two chapters and am really enjoying it so far; although, I feel as if I might need a sailing manual or dictionary to understand all the sailing references. I will have to say that I am sure I would not let my kids go off to an unknown island alone to live for the remainder of the summer. I do support kids exploring, adventuring and learning how to take care of themselves...but within reason. Like Everyman, I was able to run around through the woods with my cousins and create all kinds of adventures but I will have to say that now that I have my own kids I do keep a more watchful eye on them than my mom probably felt that she needed to keep on me.


message 20: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 153 comments I particularly enjoy the creativity of the children in using their school learning to enhance the richness of their play. It also shows the extent of English education in the 1930s. The Peak of Darien, for example, is a beautiful image drawn from a poem which I suspect few 8 year old American students will have been exposed to in school. The creativity of imagining the houseboat man as a retired pirate, Captain Flint; the renaming of the geography to include great features from around the world -- the Amazon River, the great city of Rio, etc. (In later books they climb a local mountain which they call Kanchenjunga after the mountain in the Himalayan mountains; how many modern American students will even have heard of it: I certainly hadn't until I read the books.) There is a wonderful creativity here in creating a world (populated with pirates, natives, native tongues, and the like) yet in a way which is totally real and normal, not at all a fantasy world.


message 21: by Suzanne (new)

Suzanne I love the creativity of the children too. I can remember as a teenager watching my younger siblings play some game and feeling kind of sad because at some point I'd lost that imagination where I could play and things seemed so REAL. It is neat the book captures that.


message 22: by Lisa, the usurper (new)

Lisa (lmmmml) | 1864 comments Mod
Has anyone seen the final exam for a Kansas school from the 1870's? It was very interesting and eye-opening. Many of the questions were agricultural based to be fair, but some of the English questions were hard.
I love the creativity of children. Do you think that kids nowadays have lost some of that creative spontaneity? The ability to play without parents, and others hovering over their every move and trying to guide their play into more "appropriate" outlets?


message 23: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 153 comments Lisa wrote: "Do you think that kids nowadays have lost some of that creative spontaneity? The ability to play without parents, and others hovering over their every move and trying to guide their play into more "appropriate" outlets?
"


That to some degree, but also the prevalence of TV and computer games that do the "creating" for you and don't encourage self-creativity.


message 24: by Lisa, the usurper (new)

Lisa (lmmmml) | 1864 comments Mod
I'm STILL waiting for my copy, the library I'm getting it is a school library and it must be closed during the summer. Hopefully, I can read it once it comes in.


message 25: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 153 comments Lisa wrote: "I'm STILL waiting for my copy, the library I'm getting it is a school library and it must be closed during the summer. Hopefully, I can read it once it comes in."

I'll still be here when you get to read it, if you want to share thoughts about the book. I wonder how many people read it but didn't get around to posting on it. I'm very much an advocate for Ransome; I think he's one of the truly great children's writers.


message 26: by Lisa, the usurper (new)

Lisa (lmmmml) | 1864 comments Mod
Oh good, I felt bad that the discussion rather fizzled on this one. You have given such wonderful insights and behind the book info, that I can't wait to discuss it with you. I know that Kerri is reading it, but she went on vacation.


message 27: by Cleo (last edited Aug 15, 2012 06:55PM) (new)

Cleo (cleopatra18) | 106 comments Summer is a wonderful time to read this book but summer may possibly be the reason why it's been so quiet here. I started reading it but we went on vacation and I didn't want to take my hardcover 1930s edition with me, so my reading of it is on hold. I'll try to post in a couple of weeks!

Thanks for the background information, Everyman! When I purchased my used hardcover and brought it home, inside were two newspaper articles about Ransome and the Altounyan children. What a find and very interesting!


message 28: by Lisa, the usurper (new)

Lisa (lmmmml) | 1864 comments Mod
This is book is being offered as a giveaway so hurry over and sign up, perhaps your luck will be better than mine!


https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/sh...


message 29: by Feliks (last edited Jul 23, 2017 10:13AM) (new)

Feliks (dzerzhinsky) | 42 comments I've been familiar with the book title for quite some time because of the author's involvement with espionage during the Bolshevik uprising. Bruce Lockhart's memoirs sum him up without undue fanfare. Certainly, a strange person to be found in that place at that time. I've wondered if Ransome's personality is the basis for any literary characters drawn from that period (in works like Maugham's 'Ashenden' for example). Anyway, this is entirely the significance of Ransome for me; but if --as you say--his children's series focus on sailing, I might be tempted to delve into at least one. The first title has resided on my TBD list now for a while.


back to top