Thursday, 5 June 2014

MasterM, Bibliophile

Man Reading
John Singer Sargent

MasterM will be setting off for a period in the bush soon. His main concern is not heat, flies or chance meetings with rhinos but having nothing to read. MrsM suggests a kindle and MasterM politely declines on the basis that a kindle does not fit his image. MrsM retreats gracefully and recommends the excellent local hospice book shop.

After a concentrated half hour MasterM left the shop with the following books:

As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning
Laurie Lee

Born Free
Joy Adamson

Out of Africa
Karen Blixen

Jock of the Bushveld
Percy Fitzpatrick

Cry, Beloved Country
Alan Paton

Hangover Square
Patrick Hamilton

James Joyce

Burmese Days
George Orwell

One Hundred Years of Solitude
Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Beware of the Dog
Brian Moore

The Night of the Generals
Hans Kelmut Kirst

Ice Cold in Alex
Christopher Landon

Ill Met by Moonlight
Stanley Moss

The Great Escape
Paul Brickhill

633 Squadron
Frederick E. Smith

The Dirty Dozen
E.J. Nathanson

The Blue Max
Jack D. Hunter

The Dambusters Raid
John Sweetman

Richard Hooker

The Colditz Story
P.R. Reid

I can remember talking to a teacher when MasterM was 10 and expressing concern that he did not enjoy reading. The teacher, who was old and wise, reassured me that, although MasterM was not reading the sort of books I expected him to read, he did in fact read a great deal. When I thought about it later I realised that he read newspapers, particularly the sports sections, and non fiction books including war stories but he did not read Heidi, Little Women or Jane Eyre which I subconsciously expected him to enjoy because I had when I was his age. After that I let him get on with making his own choices and I have ended up with a son who reads voraciously. Sometimes, parenting by neglect can work wonders.


  1. Choice or the freedom to choose and exercise free will. However expressed, the best learning takes place through choice rather than the hand that is forced. Just think, those books will probably broaden the horizons of far more people now as well, as they accompany him on his journey back to the hinterland.

  2. That's an excellent list, just the sort of books I'd like my sons to read. The elder who does read voraciously likes mainly fantasy and the younger does not read at all. Master M give me hope. As I Walked Out.. is perfect for a young man starting out on life.

  3. Oh Alice! You've just pulled a very stiff nerve of mine. Brizio not only doesn't read books ... he also gives me the worst nightmare with school ... SAD FACE ...

  4. A kindle may not fit his image but it will save him countless chiropractors bills after he's carried that lot around the bush

  5. I take it he's not taking any clothes back in his baggage?

  6. I'm guessing you'll ship him some more in a month or two.

  7. What a wonderful load of books! Well worth carrying . . . in the bags and in memory for years to come.

  8. A wonderful selection. I remember having similar worries about sons who wouldn't read but they are also all voracious readers now. They just need time to discover what they like.

  9. What a terrific selection. And...i love that he (and i assume many others his age) eschew the Kindle et al !! Sorry, but i (who am definitely an OF) consider them totally uncool.

  10. Wow, that's a serious list. I remember worrying about not having anything to read when I went on a five-month cycling trip from SW England to North Africa. I had to carry the books with me though, so my list was lot shorter! How satisfying to have a child who loves to read. I do hope mine end up like this too.

  11. AnonymousJune 06, 2014

    What a great selection! The youth in my house won't read kindles either, and I kind of don't blame them.

  12. To be shipped out at intervals? Or perhaps there's porterage on his trip, although I can't see that fitting his image either.


Thank you! I love reading your comments and even though I don't always have time to reply I am really grateful to every one who joins in the conversation.