Posted in Weekly Posts

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (February 6)

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Vicky from I’d Rather Be At The Beach who posts the opening paragraph (sometime two) of a book she decided to read based on the opening. Feel free to grab the banner and play along.

Every now and again as any good bookworm knows you spy a book that you know you simply HAVE to read. My excerpt this week comes from one such book – Bookworm: A Memoir of Childhood Reading by Lucy Mangan which will be published on 1 March 2018.


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 with, 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. Amazon

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph ~ Intro

As this is a non-fiction book it seems fitting to take the first paragraph from the introduction

I still have all my childhood books. In fact, I have spent some of my happiest hours in recent months arranging them on the bespoke bookcases I had built under the sloping ceiling of my study for their ease and comfort. I may no longer imagine them, as I did thirty years ago, whispering companionably together at night when I have gone to bed, but I love them still. They made me who I am.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Once I got over my jealousy that Lucy Mangan not only has her childhood books, but that they get to sit on bespoke shelves, I concentrated on that very last sentence of the first full paragraph – that is how I feel about my childhood books too.

So what do you think? Do the titles mentioned in the synopsis bring back vivid memories to you too? Would you like to read on?


A book lover who clearly has issues as obsessed with crime despite leading a respectable life

40 thoughts on “First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (February 6)

  1. You are right – I HAVE to read this book. I still have a few of my childhood books, but alas not my beautifully illustrated Milly-Molly-Mandy book. and I still have the little bookcase my father made for me, sadly not in such a good state of repair now, but I still use it. I didn’t have many books but I read them all so many times and loved each one.


  2. I only have a few of my childhood books as my mum gave away my huge Enid Blyton collection (she’s not at all sentimental like me! But does have very tidy cupboards 😂) I did buy a lot of them again for my own daughter including Milly Molly Mandy and Charlotte’s Web – I’ve got a feeling I’d love this book!


    1. I do love that sentence about your mother!
      I lost mine when I moved away although I did find many second-hand copies for my children when they were younger including far more Enid Blyton books than I ever owned which my daughter has kept. I have had a peek and it’s such a wonderful read.


  3. Oh, this sounds so good, Cleo. What a fascinating theme for a memoir, and what a library she’s had! I’ll be really eager to know what you think of it when you’ve finished.


  4. Have you noticed that several books are being published that celebrate reading – life long reading? I love the sound of this one too. I have all my childhood books – the chapter ones anyway on my bookshelf. I didn’t have a lot of books. My parents were very frugal and thought that the library was the way to go. I do also have the bookcase my grandfather made for me when I was a child. There are games on it now as my books have been pruned and lessened over the past few years. The idea of revisiting and being ‘nostalgic’ over our reading is one that subscribe to completely. It’s what fuels my ‘nostalgic’ posts. I don’t want those authors and books to be forgotten. Mostly, I don’t want to forget them myself. And I agree with the last line you shared – ‘They made me who I am.’


    1. You are right and I’ve read a few of them too!
      Sadly my childhood books were left behind when I left home but I did manage to find many copies with the same covers for my children and we read most of the titles contained in her synopsis. One of the best things about books is that they don’t go out of ‘fashion’ and so a copy can be enjoyed so many years after the initial purchase.
      I truly believe that not only were many wonderful books the backdrop to my childhood a fair few did actually make me who I am and I carry those stories with me from Heidi up the mountain with her goats to Mary in the Secret Garden and the Five Find-Outers solving a mystery, I loved them all.


  5. Ooohhhh lovely! I’m quite envious. I loved all my childhood books as much as she did, but I no longer have mine. It was just my mother and I, and for financial reasons we moved many, many times (ten times in 2 years), making ‘taking my books’ an unpopular request…


    1. I loved mine too and what remained of my books were left behind when I moved away from home but fortunately pretty much all of the stories which were my favourites are still in print and were read to my children. That was a lot of moving!!!


  6. Narnia and the Railway Children. I love E Nesbit.Henry Treec though too. I don’t have my childhood books simply because I didn’t own any. We were very poor and money went on other things like slot machines and race horses. I have since remembered the titles, well all except one, and I now own my favourites. The one missing that I can’t remember drives me crazy at times as I have vague memories of the cover.


    1. I had books as gifts for birthdays and Christmas as I was the ‘bookish’ one in the wider family but I couldn’t have coped without the wonderful libraries both public and school – I loved E Nesbit’s books, especially The Phoenix and the Carpet but I didn’t read Henry Treece at all – I did have the set of Narnia books. How annoying you can’t remember one title!


  7. Oh, yes, a must-read book! I wish I had my childhood books, too, but I got mine from the library…either the one in the village, or the school library. Those books did make me who I am.

    Thanks for sharing, Cleo, and for visiting my blog.


  8. Sadly I don’t have any of the books I had when I was a child. My husband and youngest son did buy me a copy of the book that started my love of books though, Are You My Mother by P.D. Eastman.


  9. My mum used to have the whole, Nancy Drew collection but she had passed it down to her youngest sister who had ended up selling it. :O( I bought some copies at Costco in my 20’s and filled it up from Amazon. I still have them; they’re at least two decades old. I have my Anne of Avonlea set too and the Emily series. I don’t remember how old I was when I had read them.


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