Wednesday, June 2, 2010

What Did You Read as a Teen?

What did you read when you were a young teen?

Because my new novel, Growing Up Ivy, is meant for readers of that age, the interviewer's question was a valid one. I had to stop and think about my answer for a while, though. After all, it's been a very long time! (As witness the black and white photo above!)

But I do remember that by the time I'd reached my early teens, I'd read my way through the Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, and Cherry Ames series.

My taste in reading in those years was very much influenced by the books I was studying in school. I loved Moonfleet, by British author J. Meade Falkner, and was so intrigued by Cue for Treason that I went looking for everything else that Geoffrey Trease had written.

I'd fallen in love with Anne of Green Gables back when our teacher read it aloud to our Grade Six class in Winnipeg. Afterwards, I read all the other "Anne" books in sequence. Grade Nine "Eng Lit." introduced me to Whiteoaks of Jalna by Mazo de la Roche. I still can't understand why that particular book, from the middle of a series of sixteen, was chosen. But it did lead me to explore the other novels by this Canadian author. It came as a shock to me then that my mother had also read the "Jalna" books. Oliver Twist, which I studied in Grade Ten, fuelled my lifelong appetite for the works of Charles Dickens.

In those days, most of the books in my personal library had been gifts from my parents on birthdays and for Christmas. My dad, who was from England, chose British authors for me: Kenneth Grahame and Arthur Ransome (whose books I loved), as well as Jane Austen (whose books I found rather rough going). And of course I read what every other curious teenager was reading in 1957, Grace Metalious's Peyton Place, even if I did have to hide it under the mattress!

Happy summer reading!
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