On hung-up books

A few weeks ago, a workmate at the bookshop asked me what my ‘hung-up book’ was. I didn’t know what she meant. She explained that a ‘hung-up book’ is one that you turn to, again and again, whenever you are ‘hung-up’ on sometime – upset, frustrated, in need of comfort. A ‘hung-up book’ is like an old friend, that will always make you feel better, that you have read countless times in different situations. I had not really thought about what my ‘hung-up book’ was, but on reflection, I thought about the books that I turned to again and again whenever I feel down:

– when I was younger and living overseas, it was without Elizabeth Honey’s books, especially 25 & 27 Stella Street and Everything That Happened, Remote Man and Don’t Pat the Wombat

– A book that I borrowed from the library more than any others was Sorcery and Cecelia or the Enchanted Chocolate Pot by Patricia C Wrede and Caroline Stevermer. I bought the book and its two follow up novels last year, and have since read them twice.

– All Edward Eager’s Magic books are just lovely, a mix of old-fashionedness and magic that are just so comforting.

– Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials series, Garth Nix’s Abhorsen triology, C. S. Lewis’ Narnia series and J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series all have a wonderful mix of familiarity, escape and discovery that makes me turn to them again and again. 

My friend at work answered with one book: The Changeover by Margaret Mahy. She had read it so many time that she says she can almost mime the words along with the characters. I had never read The Changeover or any of Margaret Mahy’s novels, only her picture books. So when I found The Changeover at the library, I was very intrigued to read it, and see exactly what my friend had found so comforting.

Do you have any books that you turn to when you are feeling low? What are your ‘hung-up books’?



  1. Pingback: On hip and cool language « 1001 Children's Books

  2. A reallyyy old one called Beautiful Joe by Marshall Saunders. What a wonderful blog — my daughter who writes Books J’adore led me here.

  3. Pingback: On where the list of 1001 Children’s Books I Must Read Before I Grow Up (Too Much) comes from | 1001 Children's Books

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