When I was a child I was raised on the books of Enid Blyton. She has sold an incredible 600 million books. She was of my grandmother's generation and lived from 1897-1968. She was perhaps most famous for her series of books on Noddy, the Famous Five and the Secret Seven.
About a year ago I was looking through the bookshelves at my parents' house and came across my old copy of The Magic Faraway Tree. I picked it up and read the first couple of chapters. It was like being transported back to 1970 when I was eight years old. I suddenly remembered all the characters. It was quite a moment. I was a child again.
The literary critics turned up their noses at Enid Blyton. The BBC refused to broadcast any of her works between 1930 and 1950. She was accused of being racist, xenophobic, sexist and a lot of other 'ists' too, no doubt. Her books are certainly of her time, with the subliminal messages that girls should help their mothers around the house and boys must help their fathers with the garden.
Anyway, I don't quite know why I decided to do this, but this afternoon I recorded Chapter 1 of The Magic Faraway Tree, which remains my favourite book from my childhood. Here's the result. If it gets more than a couple of thousand plays, I might do another chapter tomorrow!