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The fifteen defining works of my early life

My choice of books that may have had an influence on my early life

Showboat                                             Edna Ferber
The Children's encyclopaedia                 Author Mee
The Medical encyclopaedia                     Daily Mail ?
Gone West                                            J S M Ward
The Joy of Sex                                      Alex Comfort
1984                                                    George Orwell
Scouting for Boys                                  Baden Powell
Worlds in Collision                                 I Velikovsky
Tess of the D'Urberville's                       T Hardy
Masterman Ready                                 Cpt F Marryat
Christian bible                                       Various (Talmud)
The count of Monte Christo                     A Dumas
Frankenstein                                         Mary Shelley
Portrait of the artist as a young man       James Joyce
La Dame Aux Camelias                         A Dumas (younger)

I believe there is already a thread for this but I cannot find it !

Doesn't hurt to redo these threads at times anyway, Gino.  But I don't think I can come up with anything like your list.  Hard to know how to define influence.  The main two for me would be LM Montgomery's Anne books and the Bible. They are both works of literature which I used at times for morality (though naturally they suited my morality generally), though often they were above my head at the time of reading.  Anne putting her nose in the air when she overhears someone trying to sell his vote, for instance.  I think electioneering and corruption would not have been part of my experience as a youngster.  

What others? The books I enjoyed from my youth were generally of girls making their way in careers (Sue Barton, Jo's Boys) combined eventually with marriage.  This may have influenced me towards some feminist ideals, but didn't mean that I thought I should have a proper career.  But they did teach me that 'girls can do anything'.

Who wrote those little moral tales - American, I think, often interspersed with Bible stories?  Uncle someone, perhaps.  I devoured those, and probably imbibed their morality too.

On a different theme I read a book on Jack the Ripper when young and that brought an interest in him, and other true-life crime.

What else?  Agatha Christie and Georgette Heyer became beloved authors when I was a young teenager; Heyer has remained a love and I don't mind the odd Christie, though other crime novelists have extended the genre hugely in recent years.  

The Pears Cyclopedia was a constant companion as a child for its Roman mythology.  Why did it do Roman, not Greek myths?  They fed a love of names and genealogy, I think.  And the dictionary itself, Chambers, had a names section at the back, which is torn and written on and grubby and shows how much it was loved.  And first names are still the biggest passion of my life, I suppose (in that sense - husbands and children and sisters and volunteary organisations might be offended to read that).

I can't think of any classics that I had particular feelings for - don't think I read many till university.  Pamela in the 6th form was influential in that it made me think 'classics' were difficult and awful and very boring. Hamlet also read in the 6th form and taught brilliantly introduced us to Shakespeare's breadth of vision and interest and we loved it.  

And the letters of my grandmother written from Scotland to her fiance in NZ before and during WWI surely helped with a love of family history.  

Cheers, Caro.

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