Another book, another story

Ever since I was quite little, my dad has always read to us kids, of course, beginning with the standard picture books, but then moving on to novels. He doesn’t read every night; sometimes we go for weeks without reading, but as soon as he finishes one book, he starts another.

My first clear memories of him reading novels to us were The Chronicles of Narnia (all seven books) by C. S. Lewis, which he read to me and my sister, as we were the only ones old enough at the time to pay attention to the story. πŸ™‚ I think we worked through those reasonably quickly: it would have taken around two years, which is impressive considering how busy my family is. I remember, we would read on mum and dad’s bed, and Gabby and I would brush each other’s hair and stick hair clips in dad’s. (When dad’s hair started to grow out (he tries to avoid getting his hair cut), we started to brush and braid his hair instead.)

We took a break in between The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and The Silver Chair to read A Peep Behind the Scenes by O. F. Walten, a sweet story looking “behind the scenes” of circus life. The story shows that although many people envy the main character’s (Rosalie’s) life, thinking it must be glamorous and exciting, it was hard, and sad, as she was unfairly treated by the circus. A very interesting and beautiful book.

After we had finished reading Narnia, dad began on The Hobbit, and then The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkein. We began reading The Hobbit in 2013, and finished the final book of The Lord of the Rings right at the start of 2018, taking approximately 5 years to read all four books. That was an adventure. πŸ˜€ It was almost a bit disappointing finishing the series, as it was a lot of fun with dad reading them to us. I think if I had just read them by myself initially I would have skipped over some of those beautiful, but not really action-packed, descriptions of the scenery, so I’m glad dad read it to us and I didn’t miss out on that aspect of Tolkien’s incredible writing.

Around the time of finishing The Hobbit, we went to New Zealand, where the movies were filmed. This was amazing, as we definitely agreed that the scenery was just like what was described in the book. Visiting where Hobbiton is set up was also a great experience :). We haven’t watched the movies yet, but dad and I were thinking about cracking through them all on some long distance flights we have coming up. πŸ™‚

A stack of some of the books we have read.
Just a stack of some of the books we have read so far… Of course, with dad’s new Kindle for all the ebooks on top.

Since then, we’ve read Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson (dad’s childhood favourite), Danny the Champion of the World by Roald Dahl (another of dad’s childhood favourites), The Letter for the King by Tonke Dragt (amazing book) and The Princess Bride by William Goldman (which we got through in around two weeks, because of its comedy, action, and ability to get our family + our 6 cousins hooked while on holiday). Currently, we’re reading through the sequel to The Letter for the King, which is called: The Secrets of the Wild Wood.

The Letter for the King opened up to one of its many great quotes; this one from the jester Tirillo.
The Letter for the King, open to the wise character of the jester, Tirillo.

I’m really glad dad started this tradition. Those nights we all pile on the couch (or bed, or at a table in a cafe with the people next to us hanging off every word, as it happened with The Princess Bride) to listen to dad read a chapter, or two if we can persuade him, are extremely special for me. Sometimes it feels weird explaining to people that my dad still reads books to us, even as we’re getting older, but I hope he keeps reading to us until we’re all old and grey.

This is one of the ways dad shows us kids how he loves us; there’s a lot of effort that goes in to working your way through an entire chapter of The Lord of the Rings, and keeping up with putting on the different voices for The Letter for the King.

Not only are the stories we read great, but it’s one of those precious times we get to spend as a family in amongst the busyness of life.

Dad reading to two of my siblings, ironically with a TV in the background- switched off, of course.
Who needs a TV?

I don’t know how many other families there are that would do this, even as their children get older, but I think it’s a great way of bonding, and sharing a good book together. It certainly doesn’t slow down each of our personal reading pace! There’s something special about having a book that is the whole family’s; no one is allowed to read ahead and ruin experiencing the story with the whole family. I think also that reading at a slower pace, listening to someone read out loud, helps with fully appreciating the book and listening to minor details that otherwise may have been skimmed over.

Thank you dad. It means a lot to us.

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  • Reply
    Felicity Chapman
    March 10, 2019 at 10:27 pm

    I love your first blog Trudy!! And can I come over when you’re next reading a chapter or two please!! πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Wendy Francis
    March 10, 2019 at 11:15 pm

    How very special to read this. Inspiring and so real. In so many ways this foundation will stand you in such good stead for the rest of your life.

  • Reply
    Debbie Dakers
    March 11, 2019 at 5:26 am

    Hey Trudy find Freak the Mighty – great story all round. May be a tad simpler to read but the storyline and depth of meaning is what I love. I actually bought a whole class set to read to my Year 7 English class. There is a video that was made of the book too with the same title.
    I will introduce your blog to my students and hopefully some will correspond. Love your words!

  • Reply
    Melanie Cocks
    March 11, 2019 at 7:09 am

    Good job Tru. Very well written

  • Reply
    Bethany Cocks
    March 11, 2019 at 7:22 am

    This is so good! Love it! ?

  • Reply
    Allison Tait
    March 11, 2019 at 2:12 pm

    Love your blog Trudy!

  • Reply
    March 13, 2019 at 7:58 pm

    Hi Trudy – Amongst my most special childhood memories are being read books by my dad.
    I now have children of my and continue this tradition because I know how loved it made me feel. I loved your blog post!

  • Reply
    Robyn Veugen
    March 13, 2019 at 8:52 pm

    I really enjoyed reading your blog, Trudy. I remember my parents reading my brother and I the Narnia books too, as well as The Hobbit. I have a particularly vivid memory of reading the riddles scene while we were snuggled in sleeping bags on Easter holidays at our family friends’ holiday house. β€œA box without hinges, key or lid …” ?

    • Reply
      Gabby Francis
      March 16, 2019 at 12:09 pm

      Trudy, I have read this over so many times and I just think of what an incredibly wonderful job you’ve done. You are very talented and you have inspired so many people already. It’s amazing. Well done!

  • Reply
    Stephanie & Matilda Waugh
    March 14, 2019 at 8:33 pm

    Your family tradition is amazing and inspiring … our Daddy has been reading to us since birth and it is nice to know that this can continue ?. Stephanie (11) and Matilda(9)

  • Reply
    March 16, 2019 at 6:32 pm

    Hi Trudy, First of all, I love your blog and hope you will continue to post about your life, what you read and especially what you write. I am intrigued by the fact you live in the Top-End of Australia and that you have the same name as my neighbour. That might not be that special, but I live in a small town in the Netherlands near the border with Belgium (you can google it, it’s called ‘Valkenswaard’). I lived in Sydney a couple of years ago and took a course at the SWC (now AWC) about writing for children (that’s also how I came across you blog, through Allison Tait, I follow her blog and podcast ‘Magic & Mayhem’). When I lived at your side of the world I read a lot of English children’s books. I had never heard of the Chronicles of Narnia for example. And now that is one of my favourites, as is ‘the letter of the king’.
    I would like to share with you this article (in English) about ‘the letter of the king’ and its author Tonke Dragt. She wrote this book in 1962, and fifty+ years later people (all over the world apparently!) still love it. Amazing!

  • Reply
    March 17, 2019 at 5:21 pm

    Trudy, you think deeply, feel deeply, and write beautifully. You sit, and are still, and take things in, and really notice things. It comes through in your voice when you write. So special to your family to be able to hear you express what these experiences mean. I am sure it will encourage your dad to continue. πŸ™‚ Special too to those of us who know you. Keep writing from that place in your heart and it will always find a space that resonates with others

  • Reply
    Dave Lean
    April 2, 2019 at 4:08 pm

    Dear Trudy – very sorry to only be posting this now. Just wanted to say how great it was to read this post. You perfectly captured so many of my own precious childhood memories – particularly of times with my late Mum. Keep up the writing!

  • Reply
    A long-expected party – True-Story
    March 8, 2020 at 10:26 pm

    […] is True-Story’s birthday, marking one year since I posted my first blog post, Another book, another story. Anyway, ahem, this post is just my thank you […]

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