Bookshelf Travelling for Insane Times

Judith at Reader in the Wilderness hosts this meme – Bookshelf Travelling for Insane Times.  I am enjoying this meme, looking round my actual bookshelves and re-discovering books I’ve read or am looking forward to reading. The idea is to share your bookshelves with other bloggers.

This is really a Friday meme, but once more I’m late writing my post!

For this week’s post I’ve been looking through some of my oldest books.

The Secret Garden

First is a book from my childhood, The Secret Garden by Frances  Hodgson-Burnett. It is now yellowing and a bit battered, but still in one piece. In the description at the front of the book the editor writes: Girls like it most, and between the ages of nine and fourteen – and, be warned, keep your copy carefully. You will want to go back and read it over and over again. I can’t remember how old I was, but the editor was right – I did read it over and over again.  I’ve wanted a walled garden ever since I read about the secret garden that Mary found at her Uncle’s house, Misselthwaite Manor in Yorkshire. It’s about the magic of nature, that makes plants and people grow and develop, the magic of the power of positive thinking and prayer, of the healing power of the mind, and of laughter and love.

Mist over PendleNext a book I read as a teenager – Mist Over Pendle by Robert Neill. Set in rural Lancashire in the early 17th century it tells the story of Margery Whitaker, an orphan who went to live with her relatives on the Lancashire and Yorkshire border. People have died, apparently from belladonna poisoning and two old crones are suspected of witchcraft. Margery and her cousin Roger investigate whether they really were witches. I found it fascinating and it was probably the book that started me off reading historical fiction.

YogaI began doing yoga when I was in my thirties and Yoga by Ernest Wood is one of several books I bought at the time. It’s not just a book about the yoga breathing practices or the yoga postures – and there are no photos demonstrating them – it’s more about the classical background of yoga and its goals – the awakening of the higher spirit, bodily and mental health and the benefits of yoga in daily life. So, there are chapters on the ethics and morality of yoga, yoga and the intellect, yoga and vitality and the basic philosophy of yoga.

Lark Rise mineAnd finally a book I read in my forties. I’d had a really bad case of flu which meant that I couldn’t even lift my head off the pillow, never mind pick up a book! But when  I was recovering I read and loved Flora Thompson’s book Lark Rise to Candleford. It’s a trilogy including in addition to Lark Rise, Over to Candleford and Candleford Green. It’s a record of country life at the end of the 19th century, based on the author’s experiences during childhood and youth. It chronicles May Day celebrations and forgotten children’s games as well as the daily lives of farmworkers and craftsmen, and her friends and relations.

17 thoughts on “Bookshelf Travelling for Insane Times

  1. I loved The Secret Garden, Margaret! I positively ate it up as a child, and then shared it with my daughter later in life. It’s one of those special books for me – that one and A Little Princess. And thanks for the reminder of yoga. I enjoy it, too, and am very much looking forward to going back to yoga class when the time comes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, Margot, The Secret Garden is such a special book, one of the few that I’ve kept from my childhood! I’ve never read A Little Princess, although I did watch a TV version as an adult. I’ve been doing some yoga at home during the lockdown.

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  2. Oh those are lovely, Margaret! I did a post a year or two ago about my oldest books – all over 50 years back. I might rerun that one too since I’ve been picking back through my archives for posts to share. Hope you guys are well and safe – take care!

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      1. I adore both but do acknowledge the terrible way the slaves were portrayed. Still the movie won some real civil rights victories. The N word was not allowed. The attempted rapist was changed to a white man and, of course, Hattie McDaniel won an Oscar even though in real life she was not allowed in the Theater where the premier was help 🙂 I love the book—obviously so much had to be left out of the movie. Scarlett’s wedding night with Charles is pure gold!

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  3. Yes, I adored The Secret Garden as a child too. How lovely that you still have your copy! I love the Sound of Mist Over Pendle, even though I’m hardly a teenager!

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  4. An appealing sounding shelf. I hadn’t seen that cover of The Secret Garden. Someone recommended Mist over Pendle to me long ago but I have never found a copy. Worldcat describes it as a Timeless Horror Classic, which does not sound accurate at all.

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  5. I never read The Secret Garden as a child although it was read once to my class in elementary school. I would like to read it sometime. The other one that appeals especially is Lark Rise to Candleford.

    How nice to have those books from your childhood. When I was a child we only had library books, although my mother took us often I think. The library was a mile away and I often walked there once I was old enough.

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  6. Tracy, I only have a few of my childhood books left. My mother took me to the library before I was 5 and I’ve been borrowing books ever since. As a family we didn’t have a lot of books but there were always lots of library books to read.


  7. A lovely selection. Like you I longed for a walled garden after reading The Secret Garden. I had a garden with three stone walls for years but I’m back to fences now. The stone walled garden is the only thing I miss about the old place. I’ll have to look out for Mist over Pendle now. Thanks.

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