Thursday, June 29, 2006

Old friends

I was reading a few different blogs about books and had to chime in on the subject. (It's books. Of course I'm going to chime in.)

When I was young, the library in my town would sponsor a summer reading contest. I can't remember what the prize was - probably a book - but I do remember inhaling library books at an incredible rate. I'd ride my little blue Schwinn down the hill and get a shiver of anticipation as I walked thru the doors into the cooled hush of the place. I'd carefully peruse the shelves, making sure I didn't take something I'd read already. While I had no problems re-reading a book, you didn't get credit for it for the contest.

Nancy Drews were always a favourite. Easy to read and fun, although I was always waiting for Ned to kiss her and he never did. Hmph. I think I whipped thru the Little House books in a week and a half - I blame Laura Ingalls Wilder for my historical fiction penchant.

These were the books I tucked into the little wicker basket on the front of my bike, keeping a hand protectively on them on the ride home. The ones I'd race outside with, to crawl under my neighbour's grape arbour with a cup of grape Zarex and an apple, brushing away the odd earwig or inch worm that would drop from the leaves, getting completely lost in the words on the page.

I begged for books for my birthday and Christmas and would always get several. I've kept them all these years, in the hopes that one of my kids will want to read them, but now that they're old enough, I find I can't part with them. I did buy them their own copies - I'm not heartless - although they both tend to prefer newer authors. Hopefully O will be as enchanted by some of these as I was, though.

I don't know anyone else who's ever read this, so if you have, speak up. I loved this book. Short sci-fi-ish stories. Not too technical, but endlessly fascinating. The story that stuck in my mind the most was the one about the guy who goes to an All-You-Can-Eat buffet in order to supply his starving planet with food.

I loved this one. I loved any book that dealt with hidden doors, magical wardrobes or being transported back in time. This one fit the bill perfectly. And I still love the name Sarah.

My poor, battered copy of Harriet The Spy. Ever since reading this book, I've wanted to try a chocolate egg cream and have yet to do so. I LOVED this book (as evidenced by the missing front cover and torn off back). I still re-read this book.

I always felt a bit sorry for Pippi Longstocking. I loved her adventures and laughed along with her tales, but she always seemed a bit sad and lonely to me. And I still have no idea what those cookies were that she was always eating. Pfefferneusen?

This one made me want to run away to the Met, too. Desperately. Another one I re-read to this day.

I know it's kind of cliched to like Alice, but I do. The situations were so absurd and funny or just plain weird and kind of creepy that it continuously appealed to me. I liked this one better than Thru The Looking Glass.

It's a little embarassing to admit that I barely remember what this was about, but I remember loving it. Hmmm. Maybe it's time to re-read this one, too.

It's even more embarassing to admit that I stole this from the church library. I was raised a Quaker and we had our Sunday Meetings in an old Victorian house. On the second floor was a library full of donated books. I loved this one so much that I swiped it. I completely identified with Jo, as much as I would have liked to be the saintly Beth or the pretty Amy (who snagged Laurie, the lucky thing), I was much more Jo-like than anything. Meg just got on my nerves.

And finally, the book that started my whole Tudor/Plantagenet obsession. I first read this when I was 12 years old and I still love it. I love the gumshoe detective and I love that they solved (well, depending on your theories about Richard III) the mystery about the Princes in the Tower.

There are so many other books that I loved...Misty of Chincoteague, Rebecca's War, the Dragonriders of Pern series by Anne McCaffrey...the list is almost endless.

Hey, here's one for you. I remember reading a book about a girl who would look into one of those reflecting balls people have in their gardens and she'd get transported back in time. I can't remember if she had epilepsy or the girl she became when transported had epilepsy. Is this ringing a bell with anyone? I'd love to know what it was called - I read it several times, but seem to have lost it over the years.

The baby is sleeping and I can feel Betsy calling my name....


Joke said...

I am SO with you on Alice.


Sharon said...

I was in Costco last week, and they had the COMPLETE Nancy Drew series (56 Books- with the original cover artwork), hardcover, for $116.00. I am 41, have no kids, and actually had to call someone to talk me out of buying them. And now I'm mad at her for doing so.

Also, did you ever read the Katy series by Susan Coolidge? What Katy Did, What Katy Did Next, and the third one where she went to Europe on a "Grand Tour" as a nanny... I forget the name. I LOVED those.

Major Bedhead said...

I would have had a hard time passing up the Nancy Drew set, too. I have a few of the original ones. Well, original from the 70s.

I've never heard of the Katy Did series. I may be too old. :D

Anonymous said...

I still have the Harriet the Spy paperback I stole from my 4th grade classroom's library.

I love that book.

Angewl said...

Loved the post.

I wish I still had all of my books. I moved so much as a child it was usually things that could fit in a couple bags went with me.

Kassie said...

oooh! I was trying to recall basil e frankenweiler the other day!!! too funny!