Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Books and Childhood

I love to read. Makes sense since I love to write. I've been an avid reader since I was a child. I would read books over and over and over and over. I read Black Beauty 20-something times. I was obsessed. I would pretend I was Black Beauty. I would cry every time I read the part about Ginger... don't want to give anything away if you haven't read it. My imagination was very vivid and I pictured the well-described details so clearly... I was reading Lilly's Life today and she wrote about books and reading and books she read as a child and how she selects books based on how the cover looks and gives a great guide to selecting a book by its cover. So go check it out! I started to comment... and realized it was going to get long. So I brought my thoughts back home. I have some memories of books that I don't remember the names of. For example... A book about this popular teenage girl who tries to call this boy she likes but dials the wrong number and ends up talking to this other guy. Lon story short, they become friends on the phone and start to really like each other. Then she finds out who he is... short guy, big nose. And she has to decide if she still likes him or not. Another book was about a girl who would dream things and then they came true. And she would see bad things like a bridge blowing up and stuff. When I was younger, I was obsessed with a picture book that was also informational... The Album of Horses. I would play stable in the hallway of our apartment complex and I named every horse in the book and took care of them... and Black Beauty and Ginger were in that book for me... The funny thing is that I don't remember when I started reading... but I do remember the books I read and loved. The books that offered me an escape from feeling hungry or ashamed. That showed me that there was a better world than the one I lived in that was overwhelmed by chaos and wickedness. When I read, I became part of the world that was offered in those pages. I even created a little cozy reading cubby in my bedroom closest... which was also the scene of the crime that got me kicked out of the Brownies... but I digress. Charlotte's Web... anything by Judy Blume... Bridge to Terabithia... From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler... Harriet the Spy... A Wrinkle in Time... The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe...The Secret Garden... A Tree Grows in Brooklyn... Sweet Valley High... The Against Taffy Sinclair Club... The Girls of Canby Hall... I don't know that I could ever possibly capture all of the books that saved me as a child. From the serious to the silly. Each one holds a special place in my soul.


Joanie said...

I also was an avid reader growing up. My sisters (and brothers) got that love of reading from our mother, who always had a book next to her coffee cup and cigarettes and ashtray. I don't remember seeing my father read anything but the newspaper and an occasional magazine.
I just love how you can escape from reality in a book!
That one book you talked about, the one where the girl had to decide if she still liked the boy because he was short and had a big nose reminded me of a book I read a few years ago called, The Dive From Clausen's Pier by Ann Packer. In it, Carrie has to decide if she still wants to marry her fiance' when he dives off the pier and becomes a quadriplegic. She was already having doubts about their relationship when the accident happened.

Vodka Mom said...

I agree with you! I don't remember when I started reading, but I sure remember some of those books. I LOVED ALL Nancy Drew books; Harriet the Spy; Black Beauty, etc.

that was a great post!!!

mimbles said...

Oh boy, if I start on about my much loved reading memories here you'll think I'm trying to take over your blog! Might have to do my own post on the subject too. For now I'll just say we seem share a few favourites :)

What I've been really enjoying is being able to share some of my old book friends with my kids. Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy :)

Garret said...

(clearing throat) Ummmmmm, books, ummmmm I've heard of those things.


Boozy Tooth said...

Although my oldest sister was a voracious reader, I didn't get the gene. It wasn't until college (majoring in English Lit of all things!!!) that I finlly had to discipline myself to read. I can't say I liked it much even then. I mean, come on, the freaking Cantebury Tales? T.S. Eliot? D.H. Lawrence? Shakespeare? (Okay, Shakespeare is a treasure, but it was still HARD!) It wasn't until after having children and reading their story books that I became enamored with reading. Now I read a lot - but it has to be something that will hold my attention. Love Patricia Cornwell, but am struggling through "Wicked" by Gregory Maguire. The book should be right up my alley, but the prose is difficult. Beautiful, but challenging as hell.

Reading really IS a gift and a time machine. I wish my daughter was interested in reading. Maybe she'll be like me and just discover she likes it someday when she has kids.

Thanks for the post. Awesome as usual.

Amy said...

We lived close enough to the library that I could walk there by myself (about 8-9 blocks). I would go every week and bring home a big stack of books. I loved reading. I still enjoy it, but find myself really only reading in the summer.

I used to read cover to cover whatever I started. Now I feel like life is to short to waste on a book I don't like, so if I start it and it doesn't resonate with me, I put it down.

Lisa said...

Oh wow. I could have written this post! Me too, me too, me too!

And what about Island of the Blue Dolphins? I LOVED that book as a kid, and you know, I read it to my two oldest not very long ago, and I still love it. All the Laura Ingalls Wilder books . . . I wanted to BE Laura when I grew up. Charlotte's Web . . . James and the Giant Peach . . . The Borrowers . . . I could go on and on. And I still love to read, must have something to read at all times. Are you in a book club Liz? I love mine.