I haven't yet read a book by Hilary Mantel, but after reading Hilary Mantel: By the Book on the New York Times website, I was amused and intrigued. I can definitely relate to having a somewhat strange vocabulary as compared to those around me. I also was largely surrounded by adults, which really inhibited any board game play, let me tell you. People would buy me board games, but then hardly anybody would ever actually play them with me. As an adult now, I can understand. Sometimes it's less than fun to play kid games, even with precocious kids.
Interestingly, also like Hilary Mantel, I received collections of Children's Illustrated Classics for things like Christmas or my birthday, and so was exposed to Great Expectations, Black Beauty (which I don't know how I didn't mention in this post), and others when I was very young. I remember the copy of Kidnapped was misprinted, and so restarted on page 71 or so, and then jumped to 221 in the middle of that, so I've still not read the whole story. I also never revisited Great Expectations, even during my Dickens reading period at 11 or 12.
Mantel recommended a book in her "By the book" article as well (as another author has shown up this week, I guess it's going to be a regular thing in the times. Which is pretty rad, really), entitled Religion and the Decline of Magic, by Keith Thomas, which I feel I must get my hands on. Of course my library system doesn't have it, but the paperback is reasonably priced on Amazon; it's not one of those mythic out of print books you hear about and only see surface every once in awhile for hundreds of dollars.