A copy of They Came to Baghdad, by Agatha Christie, arrived yesterday in a box of booksale donations from a co-worker, and I happily read it on the bus ride home. I first encountered this story of deadly intrigue, archaeology, and romance when I was a teenager, and my mother decided that I was ready to begin reading her books, perhaps as an antidote to all the fantasy I was re-re-reading. They Came to Baghdad was one of the first of her 1960s paperbacks* that she put in my outstretched hands, along with a few other Agatha Christies, her Mary Stewarts, the Hornblower series, Joesphine Tey’s The Daughter of Time, and Ellis Peters' medieval mysteries. All of which I would enthusiastically recommend to teenagers today. Especially the Ellis Peters.
I doubt my sons will ever want to read my collection of British Girls Books (although if they do, more power to them). But they will be reading their mother’s books, because I have cunningly put lots of them in their rooms already—all my Rosemary Sutcliff, E. Nesbit, Edward Eager, Jean Craighead George, and many, many, more. I am a bit anxious, however, about the boys seizing my books through eminent domain and disappearing into their own adulthoods with them. But perhaps boys are different, and don’t take their childhood comfort reading off to college with them?
Which in turn leads me to wonder—do boys/men do the comfort re-reading thing in the same way that avid female readers do? My husband, the only male reader whose habits I know, does not. Certainly at this point in their young lives my sons have books that they want over and over again--will that stop?
*somehow she managed to find boxes for all her paperbacks during all the many moves we made, yet (as I've said before), there was no room for the Enid Blytons....coincidence, or conspiracy?