Third Year at Malory Towers cover

Third Year at Malory Towers

Two people on the Authonomy site (about which there will probably be another post in due course) have mentioned that The Roman and the Runaway reminds them of Enid Blyton’s Malory Towers books. Although both of them spelt it Mallory Towers. I think I should find this slightly offensive, except that I did love the Malory Towers books myself when I was a child and still have a soft spot in my heart for them. I used to save up my pocket money (a whole 10p a week) until I had enough to buy the next book. A children’s paperback was 35 pence in those days, so I had to rely on the school and public library systems to supply the bulk of my reading.

I hope that The Roman and the Runaway is a more complex read than the Malory Towers series, but there’s no denying that those books did have a big influence on me when I was young. I went through a Jennings phase, too, I recall. Perhaps those early memories have stayed with me.

As far as other influences go, I would have to single out Diana Wynne Jones as the one author whose children’s books have been a constant presence on my bookshelf and in my hands ever since I first read Charmed Life in the late 1970s. Indeed, it is thanks to Diana Wynne Jones that I ever read anything apart from Enid Blyton (my poor mother was starting to despair!).

My tastes have got slightly more eclectic since then. I’ve been trying to keep a log of my reading on the LibraryThing website. This holds details and reviews of all the books I’ve read since emigrating to Canada in June 2007. I’ve got 87 books on there at the moment. Which works out at around 2.5 books a month. I still get most of my books from public libraries but I suspect my reading rate was much higher when I was a child, even though these days I could probably afford to buy more than one book a month!