This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
Joanna Bolouri's first novel, The List, is out in paperback this month. She tells Novelicious why A Choice of Magic by Ruth Manning Sanders inspired her love of reading.
In the early 80s, my mum bought a 15p book from the local library called A Choice of Magic by Ruth Manning Sanders. I’m choosing this book as the one which changed my life.
Bedtime stories were a big deal when I was a child. My mum, a journalist and aspiring novelist, would read from this hefty book, which contained very few pictures, but was filled with fairytales, magic and folklore from different countries around the world. I instantly fell madly in love with it. She would read a different story every night and once I could read by myself, I devoured these stories like a fat kid in a sweet shop. These weren’t normal fairytales however; the happy endings were rare and the content peculiar to say the least. These stories were filled with the worst kind of ogres, ungrateful children, talking acorns and witch maidens who would steal your eyes from your head.My love of reading began with this book. By the time I reached Primary 2, I was reading books on the Primary 7 curriculum and I was forever wondering what to read next. A Choice of Magic also gave me a thirst for all things magical and supernatural so by the time I reached Primary 7, I was reading Tolkien and before long I was sneaking James Herbert and Stephen King home from the library. Highly inappropriate but thrilling nonetheless.
I’ve since read all of Ruth Manning Sanders' other novels. but this one holds a special place in my heart. I still have this book and even now, when I read the now battered and torn copy to my own daughter, I still get pleasure from those same stories I read 30 years ago. However, the real pleasure is seeing my child’s excitement when she hears them for the first time. I’m happy that bedtime stories are still a big deal.