View Full Version : Arthur Ransome Books - which one is best?
I have never read any Ransome, but recently bought the whole box set for my Godson's christening. I can't read all of them before the Christening date, so which one shall I read before I give it to him (considering I am based on the East Coast)?
I enjoyed "Racundra's First Cruise" but maybe that is not included if your set only has the childrens' books in it?
No - I have EVERYTHING!
The thing with RFC is that I am really enjoying TEALs adventures in Classic Baot, and would like to read it after his installments end.
Anybody recommend Secret Water? I believe it is about Hamford Water? Please correct me...
I enjoyed RFC because it's about the man and his boat. Seeing you are going to Pin Mill why not try "We didn't mean to go to sea" and "Secret Waters". Thanks I've just found a signature.
"We Didn't Mean to Go to Sea" is my favourite. "Coot Club" is another good Norfolk one.
Another vote for "We Didn't Mean to Go to Sea"
My favourite of all of them is Great Northern
For an East Coast man it has to be 'Secret Water' or 'We didn't mean to go to sea'. Secret water is set on the Walton Backwaters, whilst We didn't mean to go to sea is set on the North Sea.
I have chosen We Didn't Mean to got to Sea. I'll let you know what I thought in a week or so.
An excellent choice. I'll be surprised if you don't finish it in a sitting though, never mind a week.
Damn and blast you. I think I'm going to have to go and buy and read them all again from an adult perspective. Last time I read them all I was 10 to 13 years old.
Just finished varnishing Roach's new boat hook - that is why! I think it will be hard to keep awake if I read in the coming days before launching...so might be more than a week.
Phoenix of Hamble
I read them to my daughter as a bedtime story.... i'm not sure who enjoys them the most..../forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif
After 'Secret Water' and 'We didn't mean to go to sea', I heartly recommend 'Peter Duck'...
A vote for starting at the beginning with S & A to at least get a fix on who the characters are. Always liked Pidgeon Post as well. Having grown up on the books my first trip to "Wild Cat Island" in my first boat was a tear jerking moment.
I agree with "start at the beginning". Saying that, WDMTGTS is probably the best. I may be a tad biased of course, having sailed to Flushing in Nancy Blackett, the real Goblin.
Roach - in case you're interested, Nancy Blackett is usually kept at Wolverstone Marina, and loves to have visitors. She's currently, as I type this, somewhere on passage between Dover and Bursledon, but will be back in the Orwell in a few weeks.
Anyway - a really great present for your Godson. You're obviously preparing him to be crew!
Hands up all who originally got interested in the sea due to these stories:
Started WDNMTGTS and loving it. I can't read all 12 before I give it to him, so hence catching one or two before the big day in June. The parents are non-sailors so your assumption is dead right. Knowing me I will re-read them anyway as I will probably get a set for myself; I last did this when a friend lent me one of the Flashman series and I got hooked.
Roach will now be based at Pin Mill, so Goblin's home port! I will keep a look out for the NB but I have already seen her on many an occasion and last saw her laid-up at Robertson's where here topside paint looked impeccable.
PS. I hear Pin Mill has a seagull S**T problem - could that be why the NB is not based there?
It would be lovely to moor Nancy Blackett where Ransome did, and where Jim Brading kept the Goblin, at Pin Mill.
However access is very difficult, and the boat is sailed by different crews most weekends. She also has vistors from as far afield as Japan. She is therefore kept on a pontoon berth as nearby as possible, at Wolverstone.
She winters over at Robertson's excellent yard in Woodbridge each year now, where they do a fabulous job of maintaining her. Archie's brushwork on the topsides and brightwork is particularly impressive. Last winter they (Alan) made a superb board for the new Tacktick instruments which attachs to the top of the hatch with over-centre catches. When she's on display the instruments can be stowed away in an instant. Despite the new fluxgate compass, we've kept the original one behind the porthole.
Next winter her big present will be a new engine (Nanni 21hp).
Good luck with Roach's big day.
If only Coots In The North had been finsihed... Otherwise I couldn't choose a favourite, I re read them all quite often. having said that, Missee Lee may be my least favourite, unlike the other "cabin tale" Peter Duck, it lacks credibility at times.
[ QUOTE ]
Hands up all who originally got interested in the sea due to these stories:
[/ QUOTE ]
Swallows and Amazons, 6, Shoreham to N France and back.
Where did you get the full set from? I have just finished reading my son's copy of Swallows & Amazons and am keen for more!
I them from Nauticalia - not cheap at £150, but worth it as they have all the original sleeve designs and illustrations in them. Hardback ofcourse.
There are always hardbacks and paperbacks for sale on ebay if you don't need new copies, and there are pretty cheap ones to be had 2nd hand on Amazon too.
Some of mine are 1st Ed's given to my mother as prizes, others came from bookstalls at boatjumbles. Coots in the North was a bit more of a pain but Ebay did the business.
Does this version refer to 'Titty' as in the original, or 'Kitty' as it was changed to later?
I think I like Secret Water ahead of WDMTGTS, simply because I now have young children and Hamford water is nice and close. Otherwise Great Northern or S&A as the start of it all.
Oh and Roach, the 5th has been and gone. Is Pin Mill graced with another pretty boat yet?
They are all still in print, in paperback as well as hardcover. Google "Jonathan Cape" or "Random House UK", or use Amazon, as others have said.
Nauticalia versions use the original 'Titty'
Moving to Pin Mill in the next fortnight. I need to be on a pontoon to do some varnishing, but I have given up for the moment!
I went aboard 'Nancy Blackett' at the International Festival Of The Sea; funny, I seemed to get something in my eye...
I'd rate 'We Didn't Mean To Go To Sea' as best, also it was my first, leading to my teaching dad to sail ( I was 8 ), trips to 'Wild Cat Island', and a lifetime sailing.
It now seems accepted by some that Arthur Ransome was a spy, some say a double agent for the Bolsheviks - either way, what a writer.
I gave WDMTGTS & Swallows & Amazons to a sailing friend for reading to his young boys, apparently going down rather well.
Resurrecting this thread. My favourite was Winter Holiday, for some reason. I loved them all except, as some-one else said, Missee Lee.
On the subject of which to start with. I've just finished Roger Wardale's book Arthur Ramsome - Master Storyteller and AR was insistent that new readers started at S & A. He even included a note on the back cover of Secret Water "Before reading the rest of these books it is really necessary to begin with the Swallows and Amazons.
This was his fall-back position as he had originally wanted to ask booksellers not to sell later volumes to any reader who had not already read Swallows and Amazons.
Swallows and Amazons is a must, but I feel as an adult returning to the books, it lacks the punch of some of the later ones.
I never got on with Missy Lee either, but highly rate WDMTGTS and The Big Six too. But as I went to school in Wroxham, and had friends in Horning it has special meanings for me. I can't drive down Lower Street, Horning, or sail/motor down Horning Reach without getting a fly in my eye.
The books fall into 3 camps as I see it. There are the Lakes, the Broads and the others.
If only reading one or two, "We didn't" is a good stand alone book. As is Secret Water.
I always try to read Winter Holiday over the Christmas break, especially if there is snow around. It makes my Christmas if I can finish it on Christmas day!
In my view you have to start with Swallows, after which it makes sense to floow the published order.
I read them to both my daughters as bed time stories and they are still much loved apparently.
My favourites are Swallows and then Secret Water; least favourites are Missee Lee and Great Northern in which he didn't appear to have anything much that he wanted to say.
I've been buying older copies from fleabay and enjoy reading a "tired" copy more than a shiny new one.
I just read Bix Six again and enjoyed it again. Amazing how the youngsters are so much more naive than similar aged youngsters would be today when accused of vandalism. They initially just try to ignore it. Without the benefit of television and cinema they have no idea of the need to show themselves innocent.
It must be to do with getting older, but I've found Picts and Martyrs to be very juvenile compared to other books.
I think I dislike Dick and Dorothea. They were a bit annoying in Bix Six as well.
I know you could say that the books are aimed at children so my criticism isn't valid.
However, as other books by Arthur are less juvenile, I suppose this one is just one of the less appealing.
Just reading WDMTGTS now and enjoying it again.
If you read Roger Wardale's "A R, Master Storyteller" and Roland Chamber's "The Last Englishman" you get to understand so many of the episodes featured in the books.
Definitely "We didn't mean to go to sea".
"We didn't mean to go to sea" would be the very top of the list. As a boy I liked "Swallowdale" best of the rest, but now I like "The Big Six". Well, actually, I like all of them, but you have to start with Swallows and Amazons.
I reckon Arthur's killer skill is in creating a tension in the story. Sometimes you are tempted to look ahead as you can't stand the suspense.
Or is just me being a wuss?
Phoenix of Hamble
I think I dislike Dick and Dorothea. I really quite liked them... the signalling in 'Winter Holiday' where the characters were introduced is just the sort of thing I would have done as a child, so perhaps I related to that... I liked the fact that both Dick and Dorothea were cast a little as 'outsiders' who were still welcomed and encouraged to join in... as said a fair few times above, simple times, thankfully ignorant of the modern world.
I'm off now to re-read one of them.... can't decide which yet though!
You could toss for it.
I doubt Dick would done that though :rolleyes:
Not written by Arthur Ransome but it does have a connection with him:
'Close-hauled' by K.Adlard-Coles.
KA-C bought Ransome's boat and spent his honeymoon sailing her back to the UK East Coast. This book describes the voyage. I thought it was 'a good read'
Powered by vBulletin® Version 4.1.12 Copyright © 2013 vBulletin Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved.