Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Following in mother's footsteps...

I read because my mother read. She taught me to read, then she took me to her very special place. Boots Lending Library. They used to have them upstairs in every Boots store in the UK. You paid to borrow books - not much, but my parents didn't have much money - but reading was that important to her.

She paid a few pennies for me to borrow books, too. Going to the library with my Mum was one of those lovely shared moments - the kind that stays with you forever.

My favourite author was Enid Blyton. She wrote fast paced adventure stories with kids taking on the bad guys. She's been out of favour for a long time, but she knew how to make those pages turn.

My mother's favourite was Netta Muskett. It's a name that has never left me. It belongs to those magic few minutes when we browsed the shelves, both hoping to find a book by our favourite author that we hadn't already read. When I joined the Romantic Novelists' Association when I sold my first book, a few months before my mother died, the Netta Muskett Award was still the one to win. The name itself just brings back those precious moments.

I exhausted Boots ability to keep up with my reading and joined the big Public Library and found a whole new range of authors to keep me happy. And by the time I was thirteen I was in the adult library, because, well, I'd grown out of most of the stuff they had on the shelves. YA wasn't a genre in those days, although the last book I remember taking out of the junior library, Jampot Smith, would probably fit into that category.

But back to the adored Netta whose books were, apparently, somewhat risque for her time. Her grandson, James Muskett (@N_Muskettbooks on twitter) and her publishers, are now re-releasing some of her books.

I've downloaded this one - Misadventure -my chance to discover why my mother loved them so much.


4 comments:

PrincessFiona01 said...

I know I've read at least one Netta Muskett back in the late 70's but I can't remember which one. Will have to try one too.

Helena said...

I never knew Boots library, but I used to haunt the public library as a child and teenager. I cut my teeth on Enid Blyton too - I had all my mother's old copies.

I've never heard of Netta Muskett so I've followed the link!

Charlotte Phillips said...

I loved Enid Blyton too. I had all my mum's copies from when she was a girl - red cloth hardbacks they were with all the original drawings. I kept them for my kids but they've just never been keen and I think it's such a shame. She was a fabulous storyteller.

Jillian Dagg said...

Boots was my library as well, Liz. I read all the Enid Blyton books they had there. Must be a preview to being a romance writer.