It cannot be denied that despite my well-entrenched British-Swissness, my German heritage occasionally shines through. At times I can have a pedantic and very precise sense of order that has begun to emerge as I get older 😮
You may have gathered that I have always loved books and they feature very much in my day-to-day life. Since I was a young child, I have read voraciously, often to the disadvantage of my studies, diving deep into worlds far away from dry school subjects and often too advanced for my years (famously enjoying War and Peace in a weekend when I was 12, oblivious to the beautiful mountains and snow outside…!). I don’t know when the thing about “series” began, so let me think about that for a moment – ah yes, that would be the fact that my very best friend when I was 9 had the complete series of the Famous Five AND the Secret Seven. My mother had a boxed set of Narnia books, which I devoured not long after that (though did I really read the later, more violent ones?! Not sure!). Then came pony books – whole follow-on series of Judy Ferguson and the Pullein-Thompson sisters (extremely prolific writers in this field!) where I adored being able to stay in each little world for as long as possible by the story being taken up again, over and over. I loved nothing better than to read books “in order” and probably drove our school librarians mad… how lucky I was to have such wonderful libraries abroad (most unusual from my present perspective), which introduced me to more series I might not have encountered had I only been in England – Nancy Drew, the detective. Sue Barton, the nurse. All the Brumby wild horse books. I knew Anne of Green Gables, but now I discovered that her story went on! Laura Ingalls-Wilder was another one, and not only had she told her story to adulthood, but her daughter had continued the tale as well as supplying more details to pad out the original series!
Around age eleven, my mother suggested I might enjoy Jane Austen. Which took me onto the above-mentioned War and Peace and as I avoided teenagerhood and continued with the pony books, on to other classics that were not necessarily a series but thick and chunky enough to be satisfying in a single volume. Historical romances came next and then my schoolmates began to pass on cheaper romances by Danielle Steele – it was years before I could pass up the “latest” one and recognised how dull the repetition was becoming!
And yet my shelves now hold the full Brunetti detective collection by Donna Leon, all the Harry Potter books, most of the Alexander McCall-Smith stories (especially the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency!), a large number of Agatha Christies and various other detective thrillers – and it’s always the ones who write chronologically that are my favourites. It’s no surprise, then, that I have spent many hours this year thoroughly absorbed in all eleven of the Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries by Dorothy L. Sayers (simply brilliant!) and then, one by one, the ten Swedish detective classics about Martin Beck, considered the first of the modern style, by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö. I just can’t seem to resist the call of the series – Peter May’s Lewis trilogy, Mary Stewart’s Merlin stories, the Tales of Peter Rabbit…
Perhaps I’m just an older version of the modern trend for DVD “boxed sets” – we certainly own plenty of those, too – Lewis, Doc Martin, Roseanne, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Inspector Morse, Downton Abbey, Sherlock and a host of others!!
It may not, then, be a surprise at all to learn that I got what I asked for this year for Christmas – the complete set of James Bond books by Ian Fleming, newly reissued for the 50th anniversary this autumn… See you on the other side, then?! 🙂