I haven't actually been doing a lot of reading in bed lately - it used to be my favourite pastime; going to bed early, reading til past my bedtime then going to sleep dreaming about the story I'd just read. But for various reasons, that just hasn't happened over the last few months. So instead, I'm bringing you a list of my top five bedtime reads I had as a child:
1. The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton
To be fair, I could've mentioned any book by Enid Blyton, but it's this book in particular that's stuck with me through the years. I LOVED reading about all the different lands at the top of the tree, but even more than reading about the magical lands, I loved reading about the food. Yup, typical Rachel; always loves reading about food! Whenever I used to read this book in bed, I always wanted to get up and have a midnight snack. The friendships that are formed in this book are simply beautiful; I loved how well the children got on with the folk in the Faraway Tree, and reading about all their adventures - especially the ones where they snuck out of the house at night! I used to wish I would meet my very own Silky and Moonface in the woods around where I lived (but not Saucepanman - I didn't really like him). In fact, I have such great memories of this book, that when me and my partner saw it on sale in a supermarket a few years ago, we just had to buy it. And needless to say, it was just as magical reading it now as it was when I was reading it all those years ago.
2. The Usborne Book of Legends
You know when you read a book over and over as a child, that even now you can vividly recall the illustrations and parts of the text? That's what this book does for me. I simply adore the pictures in this book! It's a collection of Greek legends, and these tales fascinated me as a child. Even though I knew how each story ended, every time I reread the book my heart would start thumping again because I was terrified the hero wouldn't survive! I genuinely don't think I have a favourite Greek legend that I can pick out...although a lot of the tasks Hercules was set still stick in my mind. I was so happy when I managed to track this book cover down on the internet - just seeing the cover brought back so many memories. We had a couple of other Usborne books in our house too, and once again, although I can't remember the titles, I can still remember the cartoons!
3. Cosy Corner Stories by Meg Daniels
This is a collection of short stories that I got as a gift one Christmas from a family friend. I can still remember curling up in a chair with a bar of chocolate and reading this book over and over again (have you noticed a common theme yet?). Although I don't think this book was that well known, it meant a lot to me because of the person who gave it to me and the fact that I used to read it so much. As you can see, I still have it today. The stories were only very short; they were all about animals and usually had some theme running through them, but to me, this was a delightful collection of tales that kept me entertained throughout the years.
4. Grimm's Fairytales/Favourite Fables
I've been a little bit cheeky and combined two in one here, but as a child, these books went hand in hand. Even before I found these books in our spare room so I could take a photo of them, I can still remember the illustrations in these books. What is it about illustrations that makes them stick in your mind so much?? I can also remember being in bed and and thinking about how heavy the book was while I was reading Favourite Fables, which as you can see, is a pretty hefty title! I was so excited when I got both of these books - I have a feeling they were gifts, but it's the Favourite Fables book that I remember being super excited about (that should give you some idea of how much of a bookworm I am - who else would be so excited about a massive book they could barely lift?). To this day, I have a special soft spot for fairytales, traditional tales, the Brother's Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen.
5. Spooky Stories
I've saved my favourite book for last. Spooky Stories is a collection of scary short stories and creepy poems, which I used to absolutely LOVE reading, especially before I went to sleep! There's one poem that I can remember even now - it was about a ghost who wanted hot buttered toast, and whenever I read it, I immediately wanted toast (and quite often, I'd go and made myself some!). This is an absolutely fabulous book that I enjoyed well after I grew up. It was just so fresh and original when I read it, that there's no doubt in my mind that it's subconsciously influenced my writing - in fact, whenever I do get the urge to write a horror story (which happens more often than you might think), it's always a short story I write, never a novel. When I moved out of my parent's house, I knew immediately that this was a book I simply had to keep. And you may not be surprised to hear, that this was a birthday present from my mum and dad - and I think the fact that I still have it and cherish it now speaks volumes.
So there you go! Those are my top five books that I remember reading by the light of my bedside lamp (which was shaped like a tortoise and I called it Tilly) for many years. These weren't the only books I read (and reread) - I had boxes and boxes of books crammed into my wardrobe, as well as a bookcase downstairs, but these were the titles that immediately sprang to mind when I was asked to write this post.
I hope you enjoyed finding out about my favourite childhood bedtime reads! And a special thanks goes to Casper for giving me the opportunity to write this. If you fancy finding out more about Casper and what they do, you can check out their website here (which has nothing to do with friendly ghosts, I promise).
What were your favourite books to read as a child? Do you still remember them now? What bedtime books would you recommend?