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When Lucy Mangan was little, stories were everything. They opened up new worlds and cast light on all the complexities she encountered in this one.

She was whisked away to Narnia – and Kirrin Island – and Wonderland. She ventured down rabbit holes and womble burrows into midnight gardens and chocolate factories. She wandered the countryside with Milly-Molly-Mandy, and played by the tracks with the Railway Children. With Charlotte’s Web she discovered Death and with Judy Blume it was Boys. No wonder she only left the house for her weekly trip to the library or to spend her pocket money on amassing her own at home.

In Bookworm, Lucy revisits her childhood reading with wit, love and gratitude. She relives our best-beloved books, their extraordinary creators, and looks at the thousand subtle ways they shape our lives. She also disinters a few forgotten treasures to inspire the next generation of bookworms and set them on their way.

Lucy brings the favourite characters of our collective childhoods back to life – prompting endless re-readings, rediscoveries, and, inevitably, fierce debate – and brilliantly uses them to tell her own story, that of a born, and unrepentant, bookworm.


5.0 Stars5.0 Stars5.0 Stars5.0 Stars5.0 Stars  by Debra Found

Back to Childhood Books

This was, quite simply, the perfect book for me. I am a bookworm. I say that proudly with my head held high whenever it isn't between the pages of a book! This is Lucy Mangan's trip through her childhood books. Conveniently she appears to be only a couple of years younger than myself so it was also a trip through my childhood books. A book full of nostalgia but also pride in belonging to the clan "Bookworm".

The author takes us from her very earliest memories (The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Babar the Elephant etc) and through the early books of Milly Molly Mandy and the Worst Witch. We skip through 2 years of Enid Blyton - why did she name them the Five Finder-Outers - not vastly original! We also pop into the classics - I had forgotten the love of a The Secret Garden and onwards into what are now called young adult. There is a slight deviance into pony books - which I had totally forgotten I had read and a surprising lurch into the Sweet Valley High books at the end.

It was bliss to remember my old childhood friends that were shared by the author. I also enjoyed remembering the books that the author appeared to have bypassed - No Moomins or Paddington and Dr Doolittle and Mary Poppins didn't make an appearance. The author is not a fantasy lover so never discovered the wonders of The Wizard of Earthsea. My own love of the Alfred Hitchcock & Nancy Drew detective books seem to have been untouched by the author.

It wasn't only the books though. It was everything that went with it. The Library - the haven of many a bookworm both at school and in town. The curling up with a book whilst other girls grew up into an incomprehensible world surrounding boys and parties. The lack of understanding by so many but the glorious understanding by the few.

The book itself is well written with humour and light hearted moments as well as the shattering insight into how hard life could be for those who didn't quite fit in.

For me this is the ideal book. I loved it for itself as well as for the memories of my old friends the books of my childhood.

I received a free copy of this book via Netgalley

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