Yesterday, I listened to a panel of writers at Readings bookshop talk about the books they read growing up, at ages 8, 12 and 16.
The panelists – YA novelists Nova Weetman, Emily Gale, Allayne Webster and Vikki Wakefield – spoke at the event The readers we were, the writers we became.
There was much hilarious laughter at the overlap between the writers – Judy Blume, Trixie Beldon, Flowers in the attic, Sweet Valley High …
As a kid, I read Anne of Green Gables, Trixie Beldon, Nancy Drew, C. S. Lewis, Judy Blume, all the Billabong books. Plus lots of standalone titles – anything I could find from both the school and local libraries.
Allayne Webster spoke about the importance of reading Deanie by Judy Blume because there was a character who had eczema, and for the first time she saw herself on the page, as a person who had eczema.
Emily Gale remembered feeling that she’d rather be in a book than living her own life, and talked about walking around the streets aimlessly as a teenager, waiting for her life to begin.
Nova Weetman wanted to be Miranda from Picnic at Hanging Rock, and was so disappointed when the final chapter was published years later – the story wasn’t real!
Vikki Wakefield read because she was bored, and found many a trashy novel under the bed of her friend’s parents.
I bought Nova Weetman’s latest middle-grade novel, Sick Bay, because Miss 12 is still sick. She’s been entertaining herself on the couch under a quilt with watching Gilmore Girls. One of the main characters, Rory, talks about books constantly. So Miss 12 has made herself up a reading list of classics – Animal Farm, Lord of the Flies, To kill a mockingbird etc. I wonder how many she’ll read and how influential they’ll be. I’m glad Nova’s book will make it to her list, even if it didn’t appear on Gilmour Girls!
Let me know which books you read as a kid which have stayed with you.