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Elio & Linda

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Formative Books [Nov. 2nd, 2011|04:51 pm]
Elio & Linda
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Everyone who is a Reader has them, I think. Formative books that, even though we may not have read them for many, many years, loom large in our imagination. If they are hard to find, they often become a nagging voice at the back of your mind, cropping up when you least expect it. Given my obsession with making lists on paper or just in my head for various experiences (I suppose one has to call it rather OCD to have this constant urge to catalogue ones life), I have had a habit of constantly revisiting -- at least in memory -- various books from my childhood. I hate forgetting any pleasant experiences (the unpleasant ones I never seem to forget anyway) and books certainly fall under that.

Some books, however, take very little effort to remember. Such as the quartet of YA fantasy books from Geraldine Harris called The Seven Citadels. The first part was published in Swedish in 1985, so I was 11 then. I wasn't, if I recall things correctly, much of a fantasy reader as of yet. Though, it was close; I was a voracious reader of myths and legends, with a good helping of children's and YA historicals on the side. My heroes were Achilleus and Sir Lancelot and I could list all the principal Norse, Greek and Egyptian deities with ease. In fact, I believe I owned a book on Egyptian mythology by the same Geraldine Harris, but I don't think I noticed this until much later.

Then I spotted the cover for the first book, Prince of the Godborn, among the new arrivals at the library. It caught my attention and I borrowed the book. And fell in love with it. I vividly recall how the third book, The Dead Kingdom, was a release that I waited eagerly for, perhaps for the first time. I also recall reading it at school during the breaks and when someone threw a snowball at me that hit the book, they found out they had made a big mistake. I loved those four books so much and after those I could not get enough of fantasy.

So, what sparked this trip down memory lane? Well, I have hunted for English editions of these books for some years, but the second-hand volumes on offer at Amazon tend to be listed in the range of a 100 dollars... I do have the Swedish books still, and to some extent those are the books of my childhood, but I really do want to read the original as well. Today, my random search struck gold. Just this year the books have been republished as e-books and on-demand print editions (the last part is coming out now in November). Mind you, they are e-books with incredibly awful covers, but who cares. I can finally get to read these books in English.
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