Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Child That Books Built by Francis…

The Child That Books Built (2002)

by Francis Spufford

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
7332012,758 (3.57)44
  1. 20
    Among Others by Jo Walton (anglemark)
    anglemark: Both books are about how reading shaped a child, although they are not both viewing it exactly the same way.
  2. 10
    The Boy Who Loved Books: A Memoir by John Sutherland (KayCliff)
  3. 00
    How to Be a Heroine: Or, What I've Learned from Reading too Much by Samantha Ellis (nessreader)
  4. 00
    Ruined by Reading: A Life in Books by Lynne Sharon Schwartz (anglemark)
    anglemark: A book about the impact of reading on a young person's life.

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 44 mentions

English (19)  Swedish (1)  All (20)
Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
The Child That Books Built is an explanation for an addiction. Francis Spufford's addiction. Right up front Spufford admits to his insatiable need to read, starting when he was a young child. He would explain his relationships with books as such, "Reading catatonically wasn't something I chose to do...the stopping my ears with fiction was non-negotiable" (p 2). Once he gets his explanations out of the way he goes on to explain how all the reading he had done as a child shaped his world as an adult. Drawing on psychology and philosophy to make his points Spufford connects the world of Narnia to that of religious adoration; the Little House on the Prairie to that of family and community. ( )
  SeriousGrace | Sep 16, 2013 |
Not sure what to think about this, and not sure what I expected, only that I didn't get it. To me it wasn't really a book about books, about reading, but just a book about growing up and a nod to how books figured into that -- I thought, when I saw the title, that if I wrote an autobiography I'd have to steal the title, but... I don't know, I think Francis Spufford is talking less about how books formed and shaped him, and more about how he reacted to them, and even more about how people in general might react to them.

I did enjoy reading his reactions to Tolkien, Le Guin and C.S. Lewis, which had some commonalities with my own, but... For me, Narnia was the first step on my way to my current spiritual belief system; Earthsea was my first struggle with my identity. Francis Spufford's memoir seems much more academic, not the 'memoir of reading and childhood' that the blurb and testimonials promise.

There is some fascinating stuff here, of course, but it's not about a person's relationship with books in the fierce, personal way I was expecting. I adored books as a child: my pillowcase was stuffed full of books, I'd sneak out of bed at night to grab just one more book to keep me company, I'd read Asimov under the table when I should have been completing math problems. I wanted to connect with someone over that, in this book, and that's not what this is. ( )
  shanaqui | Apr 9, 2013 |
I probably liked this a lot because so much of it was about books that I loved as a child. But also because, well, it's not just about books, or the author, but also about reading and what it does to you and why. Fascinating stuff, and I am looking forward to more of Spufford's books. (I have a list.) ( )
  jen.e.moore | Mar 30, 2013 |
I have been into a "books on books" kick lately and had been recommended this book rather highly. I am a reader that will usually give a mediocre book/author I've never read before three books before I give up entirely on them. I don't think I made it half-way through this book. Not only was I disgusted with the author and his views on his own family. But was shocked at how bluntly his stated mentally and physically challenged people scared and revolted him, especially his own younger sibling, using that as his excuse for becoming a book-o-holic. But I was somewhat insulted that a book lover of his magnitude would help to describe this beautiful imaginary process in such addict-withdrawal like terms. The only reason I'm giving this book two stars instead of one, is cause the first chapter and scattered statements in later ones were somewhat unique and basely insightful nature touching upon childhood development, which was interesting but lacked a connection to his past topics ( )
  pagemasterZee | Feb 9, 2013 |
This book was complex at times ...parts of it read like a fairytale and others like a very pained thesis. A lot of really charming allegory and words that really painted great visuals. At times a bit of a struggle with some of the psychoanalysis of the author's life. Overall very interesting and easy to relate to.
  studioloo | Oct 3, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
The Child That Books Built is a daring autobiographical book that, having initially confessed an addiction to reading, teases and then hooks the reader with the non-literary explanation for that observation. 'I know,' writes Spufford, 'that I have to look elsewhere in my life... to find the origins of my reading habit.'
added by melmore | editThe Guardian, Robert McCrumb (Mar 2, 2002)

» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Spufford, Francisprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Yee, Henry SeneCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
First words
"I can always tell when you're reading somewhere in the house," my mother used to say.
The passion aroused by fiction can be for any of the things that are absent at the time of reading; any greedy wish will do.
Tolkein believed that providing an alternative to reality was one of the primary properties of language.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0571214673, Paperback)

What would you find if you went back and reread all of your favourite books from childhood? Francis Spufford discovers both delight and sadness, in this memoir. Re-reading and re-living these books, and investigating their literary origins and rich histories, Francis Spufford reveals what it was like to be an obsessive reader as a child. As the book unfolds, so too he gradually uncovers his own childhood and his unique reason for taking refuge in stories from a world full of unbearable knowledge.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:23 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

The author recounts how the books he read as a child formed the person he is now, discussing how the stories he read allowed him an escape, shifted the boundaries of language, and stretched the imagination.

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
3 avail.
51 wanted

Popular covers


Average: (3.57)
1 6
2 11
2.5 2
3 29
3.5 14
4 39
4.5 9
5 19

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


You are using the new servers! | About | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 115,233,117 books! | Top bar: Always visible