Bookworm: A Memoir of Childhood Reading by Lucy Mangan

Review published on June 12, 2018.

It is easy to spot a bookworm at a party, they are looking for the first opportunity to slide off to a quiet room or a comfortable seat and fish their book out of their bag where they can immerse themselves in the latest fictional creations. It is not recommended to disturb them as this could be detrimental to your health, just to leave drinks in the close vicinity. And maybe some snacks.

I took the news and the list to my parents. ‘I’m going to need all of these,’ I said gently

Lucy Mangan is a complete bookworm and has been for as long as she remembers. For her, the worlds that books opened up were places of adventure and full of magic or a place of safe haven where real life seldom ventured. If she had to go out it was invariably to the library or the bookshop to acquire more reading material. They were a source of information too, a way of learning how different people reacted to different situations. The more that she read, the more that she wanted to read further; the discovery of a first book in a series would be a moment of joy as another seam of stories would be mined. As well as books for birthdays, her dad generously provided books on an almost weekly basis, introducing new authors to her. It seems like she hasn’t got rid of many of these either as she has 10,000 books, yes TEN THOUSAND books, at home!

A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, said Jojen. The man who never reads lives only one. ― George R.R. Martin

I wasn’t a complete bookworm as a child like Lucy was, I read a fair amount as a child, but unlike her, did venture outside to play on bikes and climb trees. However, reading books like this means that I can trawl my memories of the books that formed a part of my formative reading experience. I had some overlap with Lucy’s reading, Blyton and C.S. Lewis to name but two of the authors that we have both have read. I remember being forced to read some dire books at school, but memories of others came like Swallows & Amazons, Stig of the Dump, the Willard Price Adventure books, Adrian Mole and even the Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone books that began with the Warlock of Firetop Mountain.

All of my reminisces about childhood books aside, if you’re a book lover of any form then you will almost certainly get something from this book and that alone makes it worth reading. Do though be warned there are spoilers for some of the books she talks about and, hopefully, you will look fondly back on the books of your childhood too.

Paul Cheney 4/3

Bookworm: A Memoir of Childhood Reading by Lucy Mangan
Square Peg 9780224098854 hbk Mar 2018

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