Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Early Reading Memories -- Meme

Kathryn at The Bookworm tagged me. Thanks, Kathryn, and I hope this isn't too dull ... my memories of childhood are so vague that I almost feel I should say, "Move along, move along ... nothing to see here, folks." We were a military family, always clearing out of our last home and moving on ... there wasn't an attic, a constant, stable place, into which all those precious childhood belongings were stuffed and saved. I think in all that moving, some memories and keepsakes of childhood were lost. But, I'll do my best to recall things here.

1. How old were you when you learned to read and who taught you?

I don't remember, and I don't know. I can't remember a time when I wasn't reading, so it must have been fairly early.

2. Did you own any books as a child? If so, what’s the first one that you remember owning? If not, do you recall any of the first titles that you borrowed from the library?

We owned books, and were also regular library patrons. My mother was an avid reader, and still is. I can remember us leaving libraries with armloads of books, and always feeling that I'd learned something new just from being in the library.

For example, one summer when we lived in Florida, my mother signed us up for the summer reading program, which they had dubbed "The Reading Regatta." As we left that day, with our armload of books, I thought, "I didn't even know what a regatta was. Now I do." I was about nine years old, and enormously proud of myself.

Funny that a couple of childhood memories about books also involve food. I remember becoming aware, while reading Mrs. Piggle Wiggle that a writer could actually make me smell brownies, and feel the warmth of the kitchen on a cold winter day. Island of the Blue Dolphins had me tasting abalone in my dreams.

3. What’s the first book that you bought with your own money?

I wish I knew, and I wish I still owned it.

4. Were you a re-reader as a child? If so, which book did you re-read most often?

If I liked it, I read it again and again. I had eclectic taste, but somehow missed so many of the classics of children's literature. I loved biographies (and so does my Anne-with-an-e), survival stories, pioneer stories (Little House, naturally), anything about animals (I thought surely I, too, would one day talk to the animals, as Dr. Doolittle did, and I adored Charlotte's Web), fairy tales, mysteries of all kinds, and -- of course -- Beezus and Ramona.

5. What’s the first adult book that captured your interest and how old were you when you read it?

In 8th grade, we read Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities. I was captivated by everything about it. I remember thinking, "This is what reading in school should be about! Why don't they assign us stuff like this all the time instead of all that other boring junk?"

6. Are there children’s books that you passed by as a child that you have learned to love as an adult? Which ones?

As I mentioned above, lots of the classics. I didn't read Little Women, Anne of Green Gables, The Secret Garden, or The Chronicles of Narnia (which was part of my conversion journey), until I was an adult. I now passionately love all of these books, and have shared them with my kids, who now read and reread them, and will do so for the rest of their lives, I hope.

Thanks, Kathryn. What a fun stroll down literature lane.

And, if you're reading this, you're tagged.

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