Saturday, October 04, 2008

Books: The Early Years.


So if I can give my Dad partial credit for my love of music, and I really do believe that, then I can give my mom most credit for my love of books.

My mom was and still is an avid reader. She's reading more now with her fancy Kindle than she was with those old fashioned paper books. Which stinks for me because we were starting to share books with each other. And I can't afford a kindle and I'm not even sure I would want one, but if the Kindle fairy dropped one off at my door, I think I would take it and find I liked it.

Anyway. So my mom was an avid reader when we were younger, and she was really into Stephen King, and so she decided to kill two birds with one stone, as they say, and read Stephen King to me at night. I don't know what age this was, but I was old enough to remember and old enough to not be totally wrecked emotionally. But I still remember being young. She read the Lawnmower Man to me and some other shorts by Mr. King. And yes, she read kid's books to me. She also got me (well, Santa did) books with records (there I go, bringing up the vinyl again) - you know, like getting books with CDs and if they still make them, books with tapes. I had a Pot Belly Bear book with record and Yertle the Turtle book with record.

My mom would also take me to the library throughout the summer. I would go with a grocery bag, pick out all my books, get them checked out, and haul my load out in my grocery bag. I read until I had a headache. I read the Beverly Cleary books, specifically but not limited to the Ramona books, the Judy Blume books, all the Cricket in Times Square books. I LOVED The Secret of Nimh.

I do know this: I never read what are considered the all time classics for young readers. My sister got the box set of the Little House on the Prairie, and I read a few of them, but never made it through the 8 of them (or however many the box held). I never read Little Women. Or Wind in the Willows (I did try). Or Anne of Green Gables (although, just as I finished writing that statement, I'm now doubting myself, but if I did read it, I never fully paid attention). The Secret Garden? Pah. When I realized there wasn't really a big secret with the secret garden, like how Pan's Labyrinth had secrets that were all nice and creepy, I stopped reading. Black Beauty? Um. No. I never did the horse thing (but I did have a Barbie horse). I never read C.S. Lewis when I was young - I did when I was an adult.

Total side story, but it's still about books. I was always in the "gifted" classes (Didn't know that did you? I've always been this smart. Oh, yes. Be scared.), and my teacher in third grade assigned The Phantom Tollbooth to read. I was 8. I just looked the book up on Amazon to see what the age range is. They say 9 to 12. I say every one's nuts. Maybe I was a smart kid but just not ready for the tough reading known as The Phantom Tollbooth. I never finished it. Not then, at least. I'm not sure how I managed that; it seems like I would have failed or something.

The same thing happened to me either in the same grade or a different grade, but for the life of me I can't remember the name of the book. It was about these people or creatures who lived in trees high up in the sky, and they moved around from house and store by stairs and ladders. The author's last name began with Z. If I remembered all that, you'd think I could remember the name of the book. Anyway. I couldn't read that book either. I remember taking it with me to a baseball game my parents took us to and never getting past the third page because I simply could not comprehend it.

Now what's even more interesting is that I made a point to go back to both of these books later on and re-read them (or finish them, if you'd rather). I guess I figured that if the teachers had picked these books, it must have been for a good reason. The Phantom Tollbooth is awesome. That other book is really good too and might be where I began my like of fantasy.

Dang it, I wish I could remember the name of that book! I know I own it. But I'm pretty sure it's in a box in our storage unit.

So that was my introduction to books and the start of my bookish obsession. Next section book section will be aptly titled - Books: The Middle Years.

1 comment:

Kmommy said...

:) Hilarious! I used to read Stephen King to my youngest brother and sister at bedtime (they were probably 5 & 6 years old)! LOL!
I must have got my love for reading from shows on PBS, neither my mother nor my father were readers. Growing up I would hide in my room with my books :)
I too would love to have a Kindle! But yes, it's too expensive. And also we live in an area with no cell coverage, so I would probably have to drive somewhere to be able to download the books!
I too never read the classics. I read C.S Lewis just after high school. My favorite person in Jr High was the librarian!