Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Books That Made Me Love Reading



Blogger Emlyn Chand has come up with a wonderful challenge for this New Year. In her introductory post, she encourages participants to discuss why we love reading, list some of our favorite books of all time, and to re-read one of those old favorites every month and write a review sharing why we loved it then and how we feel about it now. I am delighted to have an excuse to lose myself once again in the pages of such classics as Bambi, Little Women and The Hobbit. Read on!

I was one of those kids who read under the covers by flashlight long after I was supposed to be asleep. My elementary school librarian introduced some of her favorite authors, like Carolyn Haywood, E. B. White, and Lloyd Alexander; Betsy and Billy, Wilber the Pig (from Charlotte's Web), and Taran, Wanderer became as real to me as my classmates. I wept when Sikes murdered Nancy; I couldn't for the life of my understand what Scarlett saw in Ashley Wilkes. I was one of the few kids in my class allowed the privilege of checking out books from the adult section of the bookmobile - after I devoured all the children's books on the shelves - and I thoroughly enjoyed my stint as a volunteer in the middle school library. I taught my dolls how to read, shared all my favorite picture books with my baby brother, and had a hard time choosing which three books to order each time the Scholastic Book Club brochures came home from school.

The truth of the matter is that, in my experience, the reading and the writing were inseparable.  I have vague memories of shaping letters with big, fat pencils on Indian Chief tablets, stringing the letters together to create words and eventually arranging the words into sentences. Oh, the power! I wrote poetry, short stories, and essays; I kept a diary and composed long letters and sent them to my pen pal in Japan. Is it any wonder that I'm writing novels these days?

The longer I think about it, the more books come to mind, and the more excited I become about revisiting them. If you think you might like to join the fun, simply click the badge at the top of this post and you will be directed to Emlyn's introductory post containing guidelines. Otherwise, just keep following this blog for my reviews.

What were some of your childhood favorites?

28 comments:

Melanie Rickmar said...

I had many loved books in childhood. Among my favorite picture books were Harold and his Purple Crayon and the Little Bear books and Pickles the Fire House Cat in the "I Can Read" series of books. Absolute favorites, though, are the Little House on the Prairie books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. My mother read them to me when I was too young to read chapter books, but it wasn't long before I was reading them for myself. I've read them all at least a half dozen times each, some of them more.

Michele Stefanides said...

I love how you taught your dolls to read!

Annie Oortman said...

My favorite was Harriet The Spy. I still have a copy. In fact, I think I'll reread it today!

S.M. Carrière said...

I read so many books as child. Being precocious, I skipped most of the children's books in my parents then expansive library and dove head first into the adult books.

Still, the one book that I carry with me, I now realise, into adulthood is Susan Cooper's YA novel Over Sea, Under Stone; an adventure story like none other. I still have the copy my grandmother gave me when I was eleven, and I still read it once a year.

I didn't much care for the other books in the series, but this one... this one was special. I realise that it not only defined my reading palate, it also sparked an interest in the field of academics I pursued in university.

Best. Birthday gift. Ever!

Emlyn Chand said...

Great post, Pamela! I love precocious readers all grown-up. And I totally forgot about Charlotte's Web. That book meant so much to me when I was little too. Welcome to the challenge :-D

Pam Asberry said...

Melanie, I read "Harold and the Purple Crayon" and "The Fire House Cat" to my own children, although I don't remember reading them growing up. Ditto the Little House series; it was great discovering them with my own kids, although being boys they especially identified with "Farmer Boy." Thank you for sharing!

Pam Asberry said...

Yes, Michele; I had a chalkboard on a stand, and I would set up all my dolls up in front of it, put books in their hands, and play teacher. It was good practice for adulthood, LOL!

Pam Asberry said...

Ooh, I loved Harriet the Spy too, Annie, and still have it in my book collection. That might be a good one to revisit this year. Thanks for the reminder!

Pam Asberry said...

I am not familiar with that title, S.M.; I will make a point of checking it out. Books make the best gifts for children, IMHO, although this year several of my piano students got Kindles. It's funny how things change but still stay the same!

Pam Asberry said...

Thank you so much for hosting this challenge, Emlyn. It is stirring up some really wonderful memories! Now, if I could only decide which book to start with! ;-)

Emlyn Chand said...

I'm starting with Harold and the Purple Crayon. Easy peesy and the earliest book that influenced me. Then moving on to Lolita for February, which ignited my love for literary fiction. It's convenient because I've assigned Lolita to the book group I run--my perverse version of V-day :-P

Pam Asberry said...

Maybe I should start with a picture book too, Emlyn. And I have never read "Lolita." That might be a good February read for me, too! Maybe I can be an honorary member of your book club. ;-)

Emlyn Chand said...

Sure! Here's the link to the group's website. We're doing Wuthering Heights on Sunday - http://www.meetup.com/Ann-Arbor-Classics-Book-Group/

Denise said...

Laura Ingalls Wilder was my hero and I read the Little House on the Prairie series multiple times. Such adventures she had and she was an unconventional girl in conventional times.

Pam Asberry said...

Thank you, Emlyn! I read "Wuthering Heights" when I was a teenager but I don't remember much about it. I don't know if I can get it read by Sunday, but I will definitely add it to my TBR pile!

Pam Asberry said...

Laura was an amazing little girl, Denise, and of course she grew up to be an amazing woman. I have had the pleasure of visiting her home and museum in Mansfield, MO, and it was incredible to see Pa's violin, etc. My kids were small when I went; I would like to go back now with the perspective of an "older woman." Road trip, anyone? ;-)

Lindy said...

I still love the smell of the library, the feeling of the faded pages between my fingers, and rereading a favorite. Writing seemed like a natural extension of that for me too. Too many favorites as a child and adult and now too poor a memory to recall them all.

Anonymous said...

Anne of Green Gables is one of my all time favorites, and of course we can't forget "Nancy Drew". I also loved Little Women and Charlottes Web.

Melanie Rickmar said...

One Kitten for Kim was another favorite picture book. The Trixie Belden books aren't great literature, but I certainly enjoyed them!

Pam Asberry said...

Me too, Lindy! Ditto the smell of a used bookstore. I love my ebooks too, but I hope libraries and bookstores never go the way of the dinosaur!

Pam Asberry said...

I wasn't a big fan of mysteries as a child, Anonymous, but I know my mom read Nancy Drew growing up. And I didn't discover Anne until I was an adult and the mini-series came out. But I love her now!

Pam Asberry said...

I'll have to check out "One Kitten for Kim," Melanie. And it doesn't have to be great literature to tell a great story, right? :-)

Julee J. Adams said...

Wow, I have so many childhood books I would love to re-read! Harriet the Spy, Charlotte's Web and several of the Heinlein juvies come to mind. I haven't been able to read a lot lately, so I don't think I'll join the challenge, but I will put a few books on the list to read sooner than later. Have a great time and please report what you find!

Pam Asberry said...

I don't find nearly as much time to read as I would like either, Julee, but at least the children's books are generally shorter. As a matter of fact, I think my very first book of the year is going to be one of the Little Golden Books - do you remember those?

Dane Zeller said...

Don't remember a single book from my childhood. Not that I forgot them; I didn't read them. I remember the books I read between high school and college (a four-year period of time). Steinbeck and Hemmingway, because they were easy to read and understand. Can't say I loved them.

I never appreciated books until I started writing seriously (two years ago). "Crosscreek," Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, "The Florist's Daughter," Patricia Hampl, and "Slaughterhouse Five," Kurt Vonnegut. Simply beautiful writing.

Not sure why I didn't start earlier. Parental and peer (lack of) influence? I've got some catching up to do.

Melanie Rickmar said...

I keep remembering those well-loved books! The Borrowers by Mary Norton was wonderful and so was its sequels.

Pam Asberry said...

Interesting that you didn't read as a child, Dane. Books provided fuel for my imagination and, in high school, a means of escape. I will have to check out the titles you mentioned. The only one I have read is "Slaughterhouse Five." Which I should probably reread. Thank you for visiting!

Pam Asberry said...

Again, Melanie, I read those books to my boys but didn't read them myself as a child. Although sometimes it's hard to differentiate between the two!