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Paperback The Child That Books Built : A Life in Reading Book

ISBN: 0312421842

ISBN13: 9780312421847

The Child That Books Built : A Life in Reading

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Format: Paperback

Condition: Very Good

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Book Overview

In this extended love letter to children's books and the wonders they perform, Francis Spufford makes a confession: books were his mother, his father, his school. Reading made him who he is. To understand the thrall of fiction, Spufford goes back to his earliest encounters with books, exploring such beloved classics as The Wind in the Willows, The Little House on the Prairie, and The Chronicles of Narnia . He recreates the excitement of discovery,...

Customer Reviews

4 ratings

A Journey that Many Bookworms Can Share

Even though I am a few years younger than Mr. Spufford, he and I started reading at just about the same time. His rendition of the discovery of the magic of words on a page is the best I have ever read, and the first that directly connects with my own experience. Even all these many years later, I still remember how amazing it was when those strange marks on paper came together to form... a STORY. Spufford's description of this journey is lyrical, magical and such that I wish to put most of his first chapter in my favorite quotes page. From here, he goes into the books that shaped his reading habits as an adult: C.S. Lewis, Tolkien, Ursula Le Guin, Laura Ingalls Wilder, and many others. His frustration at being "in between" children's books and adult fiction is palpable, and his discovery of, um, one-handed reading for adult men, is hilarious. As others have stated, there is a lot of academic discussion here, and some very in-depth analysis of the stories that shaped Spufford's reading experiences. Some of those portions can be very dry, but I still give this five stars because the rest of it, the best of it, when Spufford discusses his own reading experiences, is pure magic.

Childhood reading: both journey and destination

I read this book in 2003, the year after it was first published. While I read some of the same books as Francis Spufford, my real interest in this book was in discovering someone else for whom reading was such an important part of growing up. Reading can be such a solitary pursuit, especially where it is an escape route, that why we read what we read is sometimes not much discussed. The adult level analysis that Francis Spufford applies to his childhood reading will appeal to some more than others. I enjoyed it because I like the idea of revisiting some of the journeys of childhood and trying to identify some of the influences on the adult I now am. I bought this book in hardcover because I know it is a book I want to keep, to refer back to, and perhaps to share. Highly recommended to all who read. Jennifer Cameron-Smith

A memorable and inspiring testimony to the wonder of books

Francis Spufford, winner of the 1997 Somerset Maugham and Writers' Guild awards, has ably written The Child That Books Built: A Life In Reading, a tribute to the enduring message and power of children's books and how they shaped his life from his early years onward. Fondly reflecting on such classics as "The Wind in the Willows", "The Little House on the Prairie", and the Narnia chronicles, The Child That Books Built is a memorable and inspiring testimony to the wonder of books and the many universes they unlock for the wondering mind of a literate child.

one of the best books about reading as a child I've read

This is a book I wish I'd written myself, and anyone who loves children's fiction or who wants their child to read should buy it. Spufford's loves - Narnia, The Little House on the Prairie, Ursula le Guin etc will be shared by many, but few will describe so beautifully the feeling of learning to read The Hobbit, or of the way books act as "mood altering substances". The essays on individual authors are excellent, but his evocation of a chilhood sheltered by books while his sister was slowly dying of kidney illness, and how his reading changed as he grew up and out of paradise is one that will strike a chord with many.
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