So, yes. Usually today I’d post about the book that I read over the past week. This week, though, I didn’t manage to get through anything. Sadly, I really don’t have an excuse, beyond non-fiction is slower going than fiction. Whoops. As I was casting about for a replacement post idea, I saw that the Broke and the Bookish Top Ten Tuesday prompt this week was to write about ten of your favorite bookish memories. As someone who’s been into books since before I can remember, how could I refuse?
I am five years old and just discovering the joy of the elementary school book order for the first time. I order the first book in the Boxcar Children series. My dad, who is a huge train geek, reads it to me chapter by chapter. I read the series on my own when I’m a couple years older, but the first one is always the best.
I also get my first library card when I’m five, since I’m now old enough to print my name on my own. I wish I was old enough to walk there on my own, but have to settle for begging my mom to take me instead.
I’m about six and visiting my grandma during the summer vacation. She sees me reading my picture books, but thinks I have the words memorized. She tests me by asking me to read one of her romance novels out loud. I do pretty well, shocking the heck out of her. I’ll bet she would’ve chosen another book if she thought I could actually read.
My grandmother believes in the power of good books, so she encourages/forces me to read things like Romeo and Juliet and Coleridge’s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner when I’m far too young to actually appreciate them. I would read Juliet’s lines, not understanding a single word, while my grandma read Romeo’s part. Maybe I didn’t learn much Shakespeare, but I did learn that some books are as important (and pleasant) as your daily veggies.
When I’m about 13 and on a long family road trip, I pick up Summer Sisters by Judy Blume, thinking it’ll be the cool YA version of Are You There God? It’s me, Margaret. I am SHOCKED at the bad words and sexytimes. I spend the rest of the trip trying to hide the book, terrified that a family member will find it and yell at me.
My freshman year of college, my roommates and I read The Time Traveler’s Wife and fall in love with Henry. We quickly find a Cosmo pin up “Henry” to hang on our wall. Such a hunk.
I intern at a small town newspaper the summer I turn 20, which is also the year that Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is released. The newspaper editor trusts and loves me sooooo much, that he asks me to cover the midnight release at the local bookstore (I also may have been asked because no one else was willing to stay up that late. Hm.) The midnight party is tiny, but I’ve never been around a more excited group. I interview folks about their favorite Harry Potter characters and favorite books. The box of books gets torn into at midnight, and kids start reading before their parents can drag them to the car. I leave with all sorts of warm and fuzzy feelings, and, of course, my own copy of The Half-Blood Prince.
I study abroad for a year in the UK, working on my English literature degree. Of course, the UK has a TON of awesome literary tourist sites, but the one that just takes my breath away is Keats’ House. It’s simple. Small. Really, not a whole lot to offer to the average tourist. But, if you have a huge literary crush on the doomed romantic, this place is just guh. He wrote there! Kissed Fanny Brawne there! Was his moony, sweet self there! Too much! I go by myself so I can sigh over it for as long as I want. It’s just perfect.
A friend and I go to see my favorite author, David Mitchell, read from The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet at Skylight Books in LA. He’s humble, bumbly and oh so very British. As he signs my book, I tell him how much I enjoyed his other novel Black Swan Green. Instead of just thanking me, he writes down other authors to check out with a similar style to that book. I leave walking on air.
This past Christmas, I found myself in a very intense literary conversation…with my cousin’s nine year old son. We talk about what makes a great “survival” book, give each other recommendations and debate which of the Fudge books is the funniest. He tells me that he reads for at least a half hour every night, just because he loves it so much. This kid knows what’s up, and I’m so excited about how excited he is. Books ARE cool, and I’m so glad he gets that!
Any favorite literary memories out there?