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Once upon a mood. Friday November 4, 2016

I love to read and yet I struggle with it. My mind struggles to hold concentration long enough for the pages to form meaning. Then there is the memory thing... brain fog so thick that the memory of the chapter before is a challenge. The start of the book gone. And yet it is healthy for our minds to read. To rest my mind in a place of meditation or to rest my mind in a place of reading is almost one in the same for me.

So what do we do? If we are challenged with a scrambled brain but wish to read?

We can return to childhood. Roald Dahl is my favourite author of all time and I am never ashamed to be found to be reading The BFG, The Witches or James and the Giant Peach over and over and over again. Each time I gain something new from his words. From his humour. From his meanings lying under the meanings.

Maybe you'll try it. Maybe you'll return to your favourite book from childhood. You may just find something in there to ignite something deep inside from which something new may grow.

Lastly, perhaps you would drop on to the blogspot to tell me which is your favourite book from your childhood because I think I'd like to read them all!

Love from
The room above the garage.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

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Jane Fri, Nov 4th 2016 @ 12:03am

The Magic Faraway Tree! I loved the thought of magical woods and far off lands xxx

the room above the garage Fri, Nov 4th 2016 @ 6:26am

Ditto!!! Pop cakes and that chute...imagine flying down that on s soft velvet cushion. Thank you for the reminder, i'm transported back :-)

Mary Wednesday Fri, Nov 4th 2016 @ 12:14pm

Oh yes - one of my favourites too! - although the times the land went away with the children still on it was scary. Do you remember the land of ice and snowmen? Terrifying!

the room above the garage Fri, Nov 4th 2016 @ 2:34pm

Yes, if I was the second book? Definitely a bit scary for me! I loved re-reading these to my children. They're older now but having their 3 bodies lying on bits of me listening was heaven :-D

LP Fri, Nov 4th 2016 @ 5:56am

Clever Polly and the Stupid Wolf! :)

Now: The Penguin Lessons (2016 edition) charming, heartwarming, 1 chapter at a time, don't want it to end... :) xxx

the room above the garage Fri, Nov 4th 2016 @ 6:28am

The Penguin Lessons I do not know...I'm so glad I asked, now I need an island! Love ratg x.

LP Fri, Nov 4th 2016 @ 7:24am

Create one of your own, kick back and enjoy! Love Pxx

the room above the garage Fri, Nov 4th 2016 @ 2:34pm

I might just! :-)

Eva Fri, Nov 4th 2016 @ 6:42am

Alice in Wonderland, and What Katy Did. And many more...

the room above the garage Fri, Nov 4th 2016 @ 2:35pm

Thank you Eva, I haven't read What Katy Did so this could be on my Christmas wishes!

Christine Fri, Nov 4th 2016 @ 7:17am

My dad used to read Milly Molly Mandy and Just William stories to my sister and I, I remember reading Pippi Longstocking I think it was called! I might have got that wrong! my memories from childhood are a bit of a blur! it's my age! but what a good idea to revisit these books and stories, I'm going to give it a go, thanks

the room above the garage Fri, Nov 4th 2016 @ 2:35pm

Pippi Longstocking I remember from school but never had my own. Hope you enjoy revisiting, I get a lot out of it :-)

Tutti Frutti Fri, Nov 4th 2016 @ 5:26pm

Christine Thanks for the reminder of Milly Molly Mandy. I remember enjoying that too. Love TF x

Anonymous Fri, Nov 4th 2016 @ 7:19am

Heidi, by Joanna Spry

Anonymous Fri, Nov 4th 2016 @ 7:20am

Sorry, Heidi by Johanna Spyr

the room above the garage Fri, Nov 4th 2016 @ 2:38pm

I haven't actually read this although I do have the book...I was a huge fan of the tv show in the late 70s!!

LP Fri, Nov 4th 2016 @ 7:22am

Also, Pippy Longstocking! :) xx

Tracy Fri, Nov 4th 2016 @ 7:27am

Oh, The Places You'll Go is my favorite book. I have the pop-up version, an audio version of it read by John Malkovich, an app/digital version, and of course the plain old version. I never lost my love for children's books and I think your idea is perfect!

the room above the garage Fri, Nov 4th 2016 @ 2:39pm

A teacher at our school gave this to my son and me when he was graduating from little school. It was the first time I'd come across it...its lovely. Thank you, love ratg x.

Sally Fri, Nov 4th 2016 @ 7:40am

I agree with Tracy that your idea is perfect. I loved all the A A Milne poetry books, When We Were Very Young, Now We Are Six, and can still recite some. Still great today.
Also, Heidi, Pollyanna, The Little Princess, The Secret Garden. The last two by Frances Hodgson Burnett I think.

the room above the garage Fri, Nov 4th 2016 @ 10:22pm

The secret garden terrified me at the start and! I've only seen Pollyanna on film...looking forward to the book, thank you! Love ratg x.

Jane Fri, Nov 4th 2016 @ 8:25am

Born Free by Joy Adamson. About one woman's love for something other then herself. I still have a 50 year old copy of the book. It smells of my childhood. Thank you for this lovely idea.

the room above the garage Fri, Nov 4th 2016 @ 2:39pm

Brilliant, I will add this to my list. I've seen a bit of the film but haven't read her book. Thank you, love ratg x.

Jul Fri, Nov 4th 2016 @ 8:59am

Ferdinand The Bull! julxx

Mary Wednesday Fri, Nov 4th 2016 @ 12:13pm

Oh yes - I love this story too!

the room above the garage Fri, Nov 4th 2016 @ 2:40pm

A new one on me! Will have to do some research, read and report back! Thanks Jul, love ratg x :-)

Jul Fri, Nov 4th 2016 @ 6:55pm

Good! xx

Jul Fri, Nov 4th 2016 @ 9:02am

By Munro Leaf. I notice the title is The Story of Ferdinand Julxx

Another Sally Fri, Nov 4th 2016 @ 9:09am

I haven't really been back to my childhood favourites. I have been back to my children's favourites, the Harry Potter series. Though there is some darkness in them there are strong friendships and family love that well outweighs the dark stuff. I see to listen to them read by Stephen Fry as well, but they were tapes and I don't have a tape player anymore.
I used to read tales of Sam Pig when I was young.

the room above the garage Fri, Nov 4th 2016 @ 2:43pm

I told my kids that I would be putting the first Harry Potter book on my pile to read. I've watched the films but not read the books and often find books to be more 'nourishing' i.e. deeper, more details, a feast. My son adores these and would like them all on audio book for his ipod. Very expensive so we're looking into hiring them. I hope Santa brings you a new tape player, love ratg x.

Tutti Frutti Fri, Nov 4th 2016 @ 5:31pm

You are in for a treat as they are really excellent books. It's worth reading even the longer ones (though possibly not the order of the phoenix which can be heavy going). I think the book of the half blood prince is way better than the film. Enjoy. Love TF x

Another Sally Fri, Nov 4th 2016 @ 9:10am

Should have read - I used to listen to them. They are great for long car journeys.

Mary Fri, Nov 4th 2016 @ 9:15am

The Borrowers - best book ever - it inspired my love of reading. Also loved The Secret Garden.

Brum Mum Fri, Nov 4th 2016 @ 12:57pm

I was going to recommend The Secret Garden, as well.

the room above the garage Fri, Nov 4th 2016 @ 2:43pm

I adore The Borrowers but I haven't read it for years and don't own a copy. Its time!

Terence Fri, Nov 4th 2016 @ 9:36am

I loved “King Solomon’s Ring” by Konrad Lorenz when I was a boy. I believe he was a serious Austrian zoologist particularly interested in ‘imprinting’, when young animals become attached to a parent figure but he wrote in a lovely, accessible way. Thank you ratg for this blog because I am going to find a copy and read it again.
I think you have prompted something rather interesting because I only found out 5 years ago that my mother left my brother and me for 6 months when I was 6 months old! So that may explain an imprinted interest in attachment theory x

the room above the garage Fri, Nov 4th 2016 @ 2:44pm

Oh Terence thank you for your comments, this is so interesting to read! I haven't read this book and its another to go on my list. Love ratg x.

Scarlett O Fri, Nov 4th 2016 @ 9:43am

Jennie by Paul Gallico, about a boy who turns into a cat.

the room above the garage Fri, Nov 4th 2016 @ 2:45pm

Brilliant, another I haven't read! Thank you, love ratg x.

Jul Fri, Nov 4th 2016 @ 6:57pm

You have reminded me Scarlett of The Snow Goose by Paul Gallico. A Lovely book I would have forgotten. Julxx

Tutti Frutti Fri, Nov 4th 2016 @ 9:57am

There are so many and I still reread my teenage favourites regularly ( some of the copies have fallen apart and I have had to replace them!) So Flambards, Pennington's seventeenth summer, and who sir me sir all by K M Peyton, A proper little Nooryeff and See you Thursday both by Jean Ure and Anne of Green gables ( which I first read as a teenager after getting into the TV version because the actor of Gilbert Blythe was rather dishy).

I also loved reading Malory towers by Enid Blyton and the Horrid Henry books by Francesca Simon to my daughter. And these days I nick her books (at least the ones without any vampires in). I recommend the Chocolate Box girls books by Cathy Cassidy and the Percy Jackson books by Rick Riordan.

Happy reading all and thanks for the reminders and recommendations!
Love TF x

Mary Wednesday Fri, Nov 4th 2016 @ 12:16pm

Oh, I loved Pennington too! The last one, where he is a father and has his crisis of confidence is utterly wonderful too. I can't remember what it's called, but I still have it somewhere...

the room above the garage Fri, Nov 4th 2016 @ 2:47pm

TF this is great! My youngest daughter struggles with reading and so I will revisit this list for her and myself! I adored Mallory Towers when I was wee. The original Enid Blyton ones. Thank you, love ratg x.

Tutti Frutti Fri, Nov 4th 2016 @ 5:42pm

Ratg Don't know how old your daughter is but Cathy Cassidy and Rick Riordan are probably aimed at roughly age 12+. The others are suitable for younger kids. When my daughter was learning to read she used to get very frustrated by the difference between the stories she was interested in and the stories she could read. She was prepared to work far harder to read the first sentence on each page of Malory towers if we read all the rest to her and read a whole chapter at a time than she ever was at her school reading books. I hope your daughter will get to grips with reading enough to enjoy some of the wonderful books around. Love TF x

the room above the garage Fri, Nov 4th 2016 @ 10:24pm

Thank you TF :-) xx

Tutti Frutti Sat, Nov 5th 2016 @ 12:23pm

I also meant to answer Mary. The third book was Pennington's heir. In fact I really should reread that one as I haven't read it in ages. I too remember really enjoying the borrower's. I also thought your blog on Wednesday about the issues we face with what we have said to people (and not being sure if we have actually said it or not) was great. I tried to reply on the day but unfortunately the technology defeated me in the first instance and then life got in the way. Have made a note of your "brain can't be trusted right now" sentence for future use though. Thanks love TF x

George Fri, Nov 4th 2016 @ 10:05am

Winny the Pooh. I know what brain fog is. When at its worst I had about half an hour each morning straight after waking in which I could think. I wish I had thought of read my favourite children's books. I am sure it would have helped. Congratulations for thinking of it.

My next favourite is Wind in the Willows, however that is probably too complex for brain fog. With my best wishes,

the room above the garage Fri, Nov 4th 2016 @ 2:50pm

Hello George, thank you very much for contributing. I have a copy of Wind in the Willows and I have never managed to get past the first chapter...I'm glad you understand why, I thought I was just useless at it! Winnie has great wisdom and so thank you, I will return to him. Love ratg x.

Mary Wednesday Fri, Nov 4th 2016 @ 12:25pm

Oh RATG, I know exactly what you mean. When I am in my "shaking on the sofa" stage, stuck down in the oubliette, I cannot read "real" books either. I return to old favourites.

The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge,

The Susan Cooper Quintet (Over Sea, Under Stone starts it, although the best one is the second one, "The Dark is Rising".)

Harry Potter (of course)

The Secret Island (and others in the same series) by Enid Blyton. I wanted my own island too.

Agatha Christie. Of course, I know who dunnit with them all, but I love the elegancy of her plots.

David Eddings - the Belgariad, Mallorean and The Sparhawk series. Simple sword and sorcery with firm moral values: nothing too complicated.

My favourite romantic authors, from the innocence of Georgette Heyer to the more explicit and kinky (but still heart-warming) Heather Rainier, Morgan Ashbury and Tymber Dalton (very kinky - don't go there if you have VIEWS)

the room above the garage Fri, Nov 4th 2016 @ 2:51pm

You make me laugh Mary :-D brilliant list thank you, love ratg x.

Matthew Fri, Nov 4th 2016 @ 1:03pm

I apologize for being off topic, but why are the Moodscope cards the colors they are? Are the colors essential to the efficacy of the American Psychological Association test? Did John just choose the colors red for good cards and blue for bad cards? In some cultures red is lucky, but for me I associate red with bad things such as stop signs, blood, danger, anger. I'm not sure how the color might affect ease of use for the color blind, but I would vote to change the red cards to green. That's my once upon a mood.

the room above the garage Fri, Nov 4th 2016 @ 2:57pm

Hello Matthew, I would expect Caroline to be along later to comment on this and I'm fascinated to read the reply. I'm interested to think that perhaps making all cards the same colour might bring a different score. Don't apologise for being off topic, its all good. Love ratg x.

The Gardener Fri, Nov 4th 2016 @ 5:36pm

I've been an avid reader all my life. Even in the war my pa managed to get books for me somehow. When my mas was annoying (wanted me to do the dusting) I'd put my fingers in my ears, then 'you've always got your nose in a book'. Eldest grand-son did the same to his Ma. I don't remember childhood books - it's confession time - never read Arthur Ransome, Raol Dahl, Harry Potter! You peeps who have read to children and grand-children - the awful stories they were 'hooked' on, how I stayed awake to 'The Saggy Baggy Elephant', and 'Tom had a horse' (in French) I don't know. I am re-reading William - absolutely unbeatable as a character. Mr G was also an avid reader - but (being very critical) he just 'absorbed' books - could never remember afterwards who wrote them, the characters, and, when we went to the library wanted me to tell him if he had read them or not. It is pure agony - macular degeneration stopped him reading 8 years ago - people poured in with alternatives - and I have organised a wide variety of radio on line - but, once reading stopped, life, for him, was over - he loves it when I read to him - and before Alzheimers really took hold we must have spent 3/4 years re-reading all of our old favourites. Reading aloud is an art - using your voice to project characters - great chunks of description are useless. Interesting aside on card colour - I associate blue cards with the 'blues'. Mr G is in a week respite - I am having a 'history week' trying to pump-prime my life as a historian. 2 hours this afternoon in 1940 - just before the disaster and the Nazi occupation - the story of the refugees who streamed westwards is a novel in itself. Back to William - he is a compendium of my three sons (amalgam?) untidiness, optimism, the joy when something actually goes right - war with schoolteachers and 'anyone in authority', the devilishness of their schemes, the variety of excuses for getting out of things - yes, William was brilliantly invented. Must 'google' Richmal Crompton and see if she had children - many childrens' writers positively disliked their offspring.

Jul Fri, Nov 4th 2016 @ 6:55pm

My great uncle on my mothers' side was Thomas Henry who illustrated William. I have all his original drawings and he based Violet Elizabeth on my mother. Julxx

the room above the garage Fri, Nov 4th 2016 @ 10:25pm

:-O wow!

The Gardener Fri, Nov 4th 2016 @ 8:13pm

Hello Jul - what a legacy to have all the original drawings. Did your mother know? I hope she stopped screaming fairly quickly. That famous saying reminds me of another 'I saw something nasty in the woodshed' just thought of that particular favourite - Mr G's godmother taught Stella Gibbons - apparently she was not easy to discipline. One of my father's customers was Gavin Maxwell, 'Ring of Bright Water'. Another was I think a well known artist - when he wrote to my father he always added a little pencil sketch for me - you did not keep letters in those days.

the room above the garage Fri, Nov 4th 2016 @ 10:29pm

Hello TG, I hope you find bits of yourself in this week of respite. If I was there, naturally I'd take you out to dinner dressed in our finery. Love ratg x.

Dragonfly Fri, Nov 4th 2016 @ 11:00pm

I loved reading as a child, I used to immerse myself and escape in nearly anything by Enid Blyton: Famous 5, Secret 7, Mallory Towers - I so wanted to go to boarding school! Also Black Beauty and Heidi, as others have mentioned too. There are probably more that I've forgotten. But I've struggled with reading, in recent years, in a similar way to how you've described ratg, which sometimes makes me feel sad and frustrates me a little as I took an English Language & Literature degree as a mature student - wall to wall reading! A few years ago, during a very difficult time, a counsellor suggested to me that things can be done 'imperfectly' and not as we feel we ought to do them, or that others might expect us to, and revisiting children's literature was one way which might help. I bought a couple of Famous 5 books, but I couldn't engage with them - and of course felt I'd failed! Perhaps it was just memories of my childhood I just didn't want to revisit, I don't know. I still only read sporadically, and that depends on so many variables. I'm happy to know that this idea has been helpful for some people, but if nothing else, I have some Enid Blyton books for my little granddaughters to read when they visit as they love to read and it's something I always encourage.

the room above the garage Sat, Nov 5th 2016 @ 7:56am

Dragonfly this is really interesting. I'm touched by your challenge after your studies!! Perhaps revisiting books you already have history with is difficult...after all you are very different now. Could you try a book (from children's literature) you have never read before? Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl, has a character for everyone, it's a pick up/put down book. I just read 'Boy' by Roald Dahl...he describes it as definitely NOT a biography but some chapters of things that he found interesting. It's fascinating. My daughter who struggles with reading is solidly picking through it. If you thought you'd like to try it, I would send you a copy (through Moodscope) as my gift. X

Dragonfly Sat, Nov 5th 2016 @ 10:23am

And I'm extremely touched by your kind offer of a gift. Thank you, that would be lovely. I think it is possibly the case that children's literature, rather than books from my own childhood might be the key. I do feel saddened by my challenges after studying. It was a huge thing for me to go to university; to complete 'unfinished business' and, while still trying to cope with depression along with many other family things, to achieve a 1st in English in 2003. I thought the world would be my oyster! But now I find it so difficult to read or write (not literally!) and am just making tentative steps to write here. Sometimes a blog really resonates with me and I just can't articulate how I feel or what I want to say, so don't bother. And then how I admire, and feel slightly envious of, those of you who do write so articulately; have opinions; can see things from a different perspective. Yet many of you are feeling the same uncertainties. Thank you, ratg, for the simplicity and purpose of your blog which has helped me to feel I can start to express myself, and for reaching out to me with your kind offer x

the room above the garage Sat, Nov 5th 2016 @ 11:49am

You express yourself very well, articulately, so remind yourself regularly that this 'thing' we live with, depression, is the reason you sometimes have no voice. It is not you. It just jumps on top of you. You have that 1st in English, it remains as your marker. We don't always have opinions or perspective and that is why this little place is very valuable, we stick out a hand when we have it and help someone along, or we stick out a hand when we don't have it and someone holds it. I will be in touch with Caroline about how I will send you the book, perhaps you might be in touch with her too (with your address). Little by little...and if it's not working, make the step smaller, love ratg x.

Dragonfly Sat, Nov 5th 2016 @ 7:55pm

Thank you for your encouragement. I feel a glimmer of hope then revert back to my default setting, but as you say it's about making the steps smaller x

Keith Fri, Nov 4th 2016 @ 11:09pm

Philip Pullman. Just astounding.

the room above the garage Sat, Nov 5th 2016 @ 7:57am

Thank you Keith, I'm going to investigate that now, love ratg x.

Sally Sat, Nov 5th 2016 @ 7:03am

Really interesting observations and a host of books I'm inspired now to read or reread. Ratg, Thank you for unlocking this door into lots of reading goodies. I can't wait !

the room above the garage Sat, Nov 5th 2016 @ 8:00am

That's great to read! I think reading gives our challenged minds a rest if we are reading the right thing for us at that time. I'm inspired too and it's a lovely feeling after years of struggling. Key is starting small. Keep me posted Sally :-) love ratg x.

Nicco Sun, Nov 6th 2016 @ 1:23pm

In my teens it was the Jill, Jackie, Jinny & Georgie books - all pony books by various authors. And all the Monica Edwards books with Tamzin & Rissa - again, pony books, set in and around Rye. Before that, it was books that were read to us at school, such as The Family From One End Street, the Narnia books, Pippy Longstocking, Paddington, Winnie the Pooh, Toad of Toad Hall etc, The Borrowers, Bedknob & Broomstick, Carbonel, The Phoenix & The Carpet, The Children from Green Knowe, Worzel Gummidge, the Secret Garden, Charlotte's Web, and many more, including lovely poetry like Matilda Who Told Lies, The Raven, The Pobble Who Has No Toes, The Jumblies, The Owl & The Pussy Cat. Oh, those were the days! Sultry Summer afternoons outdoors or inside, too hot for 'work' so we would listen to the stories and poems, eager to learn what would happen next. I grew to have a deep love of reading and I have all my childhood books on a special book case in my room, and all my childhood pony books on a book case on the landing just outside the door to my room. I have just read a very tedious whodunnit and have been planning to re-read some of my childhood favourites again, so yours was a very timely blog, ratg, and you have encouraged me to do so sooner rather than later! I have enjoyed reading about all the favourite books other members have said are their favourites! Thank you all. Nicco.

the room above the garage Tue, Nov 8th 2016 @ 11:12am

I love the sound of of a bookcase dedicated to childhood favourites! Narnia, wow, yes. Thanks Nicco, love ratg x.

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