I know, I know, I’ve been neglecting the ol’ blog a bit this week, but it has been rather frantic! In the last two weeks, Adelaide Fringe has launched their 2013 program, I’ve submitted my last uni assignment for the year, I’ve gotten my certificate in first aid, and organised (or tried to organise) myself for my imminent departure for Europe. And it is imminent – it is tonight, in fact! Very excited, but still lots to do.
Last night, I stayed at my mum’s house, and slept in my old bed. I had just finished ‘Ender’s Game’, and did not want to start a new book right before I got onto a plane – you want a brand new story for planes, so you get the most wordage per mile. Half read books are full of pages that contribute to the hand luggage without contributing to the plane ride. So I was on the hunt in Mum’s house for a little book that I could whip through.
Right before I tucked myself in for an early night, I stumbled across a set of books that I had always ignored when I was little. Mum and I aren’t sure where they came from – a grandparent, surely, who read the books when they were young – the books were published in 1922. They are a set of ten books entitled ‘Journeys through Bookland’ – lovely, hardback, matching books. There is a lovely golden boat sailing the front cover, encircled by the words ‘Wisdom, Character, Truth, Beauty, Imagination’. These 10 books are, to quote the title page, ‘A new and original plan for reading applied to the world’s best literature for children’. It is essentially ‘1001 Children’s Books You Must Read Before You Grow Up’ from 1922.
What a variety of tales there are! There are the obligatory fairytales, and extracts from Charles Dickens, poetry from Robert Louis Stevenson, Shakespeare, King Arthur, David Crockett, Lord Byron, Jerome K. Jerome, Edgar Allen Poe, Washington Irving… Stories, plays and poems of all kinds. And beautifully illustrated!
Since, as I explained before, I didn’t want to start a story I couldn’t finish before stepping on the plane tomorrow, I started reading the first volume of ‘Journeys through Bookland’, which was full of nursery rhymes and ‘juvenile fiction’ (otherwise known as fables). The nursery rhymes were so wonderfully illustrated. And many of them were slight variations of the nursery rhymes I can recite by heart from when I was a child. I suppose nursery rhymes, being such oral things, transform themselves after hundreds of retellings.
I wish I had more time to play with ‘Journeys through Bookland’ before I left (tonight!). But they will have to wait until I return home. I can then sail through bookland to my heart’s content.