Childhood Books: Enid Blyton


I have countless Enid Blyton memories from my childhood. Colourful Noddy picture books are the earliest among then. My love for her books grew into adoration for the English countryside that I could envisage; and for quiet walks and picnics by lakesides, sandwiches and cycling, boating and camping (mostly thanks to the Famous Five books). When I read the Malory Towers, I wanted to go to boarding school really badly and I imagined myself playing lacrosse and also wanted to swim in the natural, deep pool mentioned in them. The Secret Island was one of my very favourite Enid Blytons. It was my mum’s, its pages were yellowing and it had a nice ancient smell (a smell I came to associate with books at my grandparent’s place). I loved how the four children in that story lived in hiding on an island, smuggling food and hens and even a cow across the lake and then playing house there for months.
In due course, I happened to own the entire collection of twenty one Famous Five books, among a large number of other Enid Blyton novels and story collections (her short stories were equally delightful too). Sitting out in the sun during winter with a book in my lap, or tucked inside a quilt with a cup of warm milk and a novel was honestly the single most pleasurable activity of my childhood. I frequented the school library and English Book Depot…a place that grew from an old bookstore with piles of novels into a sophisticated urbane bookstore, complete with a coffee shop right in front of my eyes.
My book love has been evident for years. When I was little I never realized it and when I grew up, it didn’t bother me anymore that a lot of people out there thought of reading in spare time as something rather boring and geeky (‘it is a Saturday night and you really wanna spend it inside reading a book? Pooh!’). I grew up in a household where books have always been held, if not in reverence, then atleast with a loving respect, and my parents filled my childhood with stories; so many, many stories!
Enid Blyton was always the author of my childhood. Just thinking about the titles of her books is filling my heart with nostalgia for old times…for the cupboard full of Enid Blyton books that I left behind six years ago…

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