books · shanti

Small Shanti Takes on Books

Hi Virtually Readers! I hope your Good Friday is progressing magnificently. I am so glad for the long weekend! Today, I thought I’d do quite a fun post: a whole lot of stories about my obsession with books as a child. Also, this photo was taken about 6 years ago; the hamster has died but not much has changed otherwise.

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  1. Book Smuggling

When we first moved to the place we live now, we had to leave a lot of books behind. It was tragic. However, we went back the next summer to go hiking, and I was delighted to be reunited with my precious books. However, my cruel sensible mother told me that I could only bring five books back with me. Eleven year old Shanti was having none of that. I stuffed my bag with NINETEEN books, which left very little space for other stuff. I was convinced that this was a secret (though in retrospect it was probably quite obvious) and didn’t let anyone else touch my bag in case they realized how heavy it was, until (many hours of bus and car travel later) we got home.

  1. Competitive reading

When I was in primary school in New Zealand, we had books read out loud to us. One of these books was Good Night Mr. Tom, a heartbreaking World War II book. There was a bit of a struggle to get said book from the library, but once I did, I read in in a few days and promptly threatened to spoil everyone, because I was really mean like that (and probably just wanted to show off my reading speed)

  1. Thanks a lot, Shar

So Shar and I used have this thing where we read all the same books, over and over. It was a big deal to finish a book first. I finished the first four Harry Potter books first, and had made considerable headway on the fifth when we went over a windy pass in a bus. While I was feeling nauseous and vomiting out the window, Shar’s imperviousness to puking meant that she read most of the book in that time. We finally arrived at our destination, and I made off with the book and hid under a bed so that I could finish it. When I was on the LAST PAGE, Shar came and found me and took it back. (To be fair, she had reason to want to do this because I would always finish books first then spoil her. Sorry, Shar.)

We were also very competitive about reading speed. We had this wonderful book called The Ordinary Princess and would have conversations like “I read it in a day” “Well, I read it in a morning” “I read in half a morning” “I read it in an hour”. We didn’t have much access to books at this time, so we reread A LOT.

  1. Enid Blyton Copycats

I don’t know if you’re familiar with Enid Blyton, but she was a children’s novelist who wrote hundreds of books with different premises but the same story. The mystery stories had groups of kids who would solve mysteries called “The Secret Seven”, “The Famous Five” and “the Five Find-Outers”. In this vein shar and I startd a club with our brother called “The Tremendous Three”. We had a meeting spot on this boulder by the river we lived next to called “TT Rock”, and we simply couldn’t understand why there were no mysteries for us to solve. We would take notes, eat snacks—basically, it was a lot of (rather pointless) fun. I think our parents actually invented mysteries for us to solve a few times. This is what happens when a) you read too much, b) you live in a relatively isolated spot and c)you’re homeschooled.

So what was your favourite story of small Shanti? I might do a second post like this, because books were a very big part of my childhood (featuring fairies, small me being VERY pretentious, and books getting dropped in Himalayan mountain streams)…would you be interested? Also, feel free to steal this post idea if you’re into it!

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4 thoughts on “Small Shanti Takes on Books

  1. I LOVE THIS SO MUCH. 😂 And I’m glad you were a precocious and pretentious little bookworm because so was I hahaha and it makes me feel better.😂 I used to have reading competitions with my brother for our school books. Like I’d get up super early and take ALL the books out of our shared school box (we homeschooled) and then he’d have to wait for me to finish. 😇 I also sometimes sneaked our family read-a-loud book and read ahead because I hated having to wait. I mean a week to read a book??? Seriously??? Not happening.

    I love how you book smuggled. BASICALLY I LOVE IT ALL THIS IS HILARIOUS.

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    1. I WAS SO PRETENTIOUS (I read an abridged version of Pride and Prejudice when I was little and thought I was amazing). *hi five for reading ahead* I’m sure we were VERY irritating students. I loved geting stories read out to me, but yeah, waiting is hard.

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  2. I LOVED ENID BLYTON BOOKS. I read the boarding school ones though, not the Famous Fives or Secret Sevens. 🙂
    I could not compete with ANYONE for reading speed. I am not fast. *Insert Baymax GIF here*
    Great post! 😄

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    1. Oh yes, Mallory Towers and Saint Claiers and Naughtiest girls. I had an Enid blyton saturated childhood (did you ever read her fairy short stories. THERE ARE SO MANY OF THEM) It’s okay to be slow…shar is slower than me, but remembers details more.

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