I was talking books with my young niece the other day – she’s a prolific reader and it was an absolute joy to discover we loved the same characters. My niece is currently reading Enid Blyton – Mallory Towers and St. Clare’s. They’re inspiring her as much as they inspired me and as she spoke of the mischievous Gwendoline, the tomboyish Alice, the midnight feasts and the tricks they played on the French Mistress – boy those memories came flooding back. It turns out we both wanted to be Darryl – the Head Girl. I remember devouring the entire series, keen to find out what happened next and then re-reading them, not wanting to leave that fantasy world. These books defined my early reading – around the age of eight I think – and I can still remember the characters and the adventures they had. My niece has inspired me to think through the different stages of my life and pick the stories that influenced me most. The next post – teenage school days.