A little while ago, my boyfriend bought me the entire box set of Famous Five books (that’s 21 books!) because I was studying them at university as part of a Children’s Literature module and was really enjoying them. This box set has largely remained untouched, and definitely unread. As it’s Enid Blyton’s birthday this month (August 11th), I have set myself the challenge of reading the entire box set during the month of August. Each book is quite short, so it shouldn’t be too tricky as long as I make an effort to read one almost every day.
Of course, some of Enid Blyton’s writing is incredibly problematic, and I won’t be going into this reading challenge with nostalgic, rose-tinted glasses. The reason I enjoyed studying these kinds of books at uni was because I found it really interesting to unpack the problematic attitudes and the social impact of older children’s fiction, to see how certain ideas were normalised by their presence in literature. I will be reading these books with a critical lens to explore representations of gender, race, and class.
I’ll give updates on my progress throughout the month, and will write about any interesting things that I find on my read-through of the series.
I’m going to be reading these books on top my normal reading – I’m currently reading Children of Blood and Bone and plan to read It Only Happens in the Movies next. That’s a lot of books to get through, so I’d better get started!