Thursday, January 07, 2010

Francis Spufford: The Child That Books Built/Hur jag läste böcker och lärde mig leva

I've read this in translation, but decided to post about it in English anyway. It was another one of those accidental finds, I liked what the cover told me, that Spufford writes about all his favourite children's books and how they've helped shape him etc. However, the cover wasn't entirely truthful. I expected a trip down memory lane, sharing a few memories of books I'd read too, perhaps getting some idea of what I'd missed growing up in Sweden... well, there was that too, but there was also a lot of rather serious stuff like discussion of different theories on child development yada yada yada. It's not quite what I had in mind, and I was tired - reading on my night job or on the way home - and when one is sleep-deprived theoretical stuff like that is not really what makes you happy. But the bits I liked I did like. I liked that Spufford defends all the books he liked. He's shown me why a child can love the Narnia books passionately - I never did, but I now understand why. He makes no excuses for wandering into sci-fi as a young adult, and describes really well why LeGuin's books are better if they're early, but why they were criticized by feminists among others.

I found the translation a bit heavy, not that there was anything wrong with it really, but I kept translating back, inside my head. Annoying that! I have gotten lots of reading tips out of this too, so I'll have to make a list and start reading children's books again.


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