Friday, September 24, 2010

Flashback Friday - Books, Books, Books!

Did you like to read when you were a child? What were your favorite genres, books or series? Did you read books because of the author or because of the title/plot? Did you own many books? Did your school distribute the Scholastic book orders (or some other type)? Did you visit the library often? Was there a summer reading program when you were young, and did you participate? Do you have any particular memories of your school libraries? What were your favorites and least favorites among the classics (the ones high school English teachers assign!)? If you didn't like reading, do you like it more today than you did then?

If you hang around this blog at all, you know that I am a total bookworm. I have loved to read for as long as I can remember. When I was in elementary school, I absolutely inhaled books. I checked out as many as the school library would let me check out, and I always finished them before they were due. During he summers, I generally finished the public library's reading program by the end of June. I remember checking out the maximum there as well--I think it was 14--and it rarely took me more than a week to finish them.

I don't remember what grade I was in, but once the library had an author visit for a special feature. He had written a book called something like Animal Frolics, which was a that had a different animal on each page, A to Z. It was more advanced and larger than your average picture book. At the end of his presentation he said he would give an autographed copy to the child that could say the alphabet backwards in less than two minutes without messing up. I think it took me around a minute, but I won! (That was something we used to do on road trips.) I decided that was a pretty good skill to have, so after winning that book I practiced and now I can say it in four or five seconds!

As many schools still do today, when I was in elementary school, we had Library Day once a week. The librarian would read a story to the class and then we got to check out books. I only remember this because of of these stands out in my mind as clearly as if I were there today. The librarian read The Golden Arm, a wonderfully creepy ghost story. (A fair rendition of it is here on YouTube, but it's better told in person.) She did a marvelous job of changing voices and making it really creepy. We were all mesmerized. When she got to the end where the ghost has made it into the bedroom where the man is quivering in his bed while the ghost asks, "Whoooo's got my golden arrrrrrm?, at the final line, YOU"VE GOT IT she grabbed the arm of one of the students sitting closest to her. We all screamed! Ghost stories in the dark always gave me the creeps, but I loved that one!

I mentioned on the first job flashback that I was a big fan of the Sue Barton and Cherry Ames books; both series followed a nurse through each year of nursing school and then on to various adventures in her job. The Cherry Ames books always had a mystery. I read every book that I could get my hands on in those two series and read them repeatedly.

When I was about 9 or 10, my grandmother gave me a book called Little Town on the Prairie. This was my first introduction to Laura Ingalls Wilder, and I absolutely L-O-V-E-D the book. What a delight to discover that there was a whole series! I remember telling my mom (and yes, it sounds dorky!) "Grandmother didn't know when she gave me this book that she was starting me on a whole new reading adventure." I eventually owned the whole set and read them so many times I practically had parts memorized.

Of course, Nancy Drew books were big when I was little and I read a pile of them as well. I read a couple of Hardy Boys books, but never was that fond of them. I also loved a series that my sister had called Donna Parker. And then there were The Happy Hollisters mysteries. I read a bunch of those as well; a couple of them kinda scared me with the bad guys, but I persevered!

Oh, and I can't fail to mention Anne of Green Gables! I loved that whole series and thought the story of Gilbert Blythe and her was quite romantic. I also loved the Betsy-Tacy.

Some of my favorite books that weren't series were Little Women (I read Jo's Boys and maybe one other, but Little Women was my favorite. And then there was a wonderful old book called Five Little Peppers and How They Grew by Margaret Sidney. I didn't realize until today that it was a series, as well; I never saw any of the others. You can download it for free here.

And once I saw the movie and got past the parents dying on the first page, I loved The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. A Little Princess by the same author is another favorite.

The one book that I did not like was Freaky Friday, the 1972 book. I always got completely immersed in books when I read, and that one messed with my mind and completely weirded me out. My mom remembers for years how uneasy and bothered I was after reading that. I think I finally was able to watch the recent movie a few years ago with my girl!

A big treat during school was getting to order from Scholastic. Books were maybe a quarter (this was the early 1970's!) and I ordered as many as my folks would let me. How exciting it was when the box came and the teacher handed out our brand new books! Although they were no longer a quarter, I still loved ordering books for my own kids when they brought the Scholastic leaflet home!

When I was in junior high, our school was on the "new-fangled" quarter system. We had four of our six classes at a time (80 minutes each), and we had a subject for two "quarters". So, maybe the first quarter, you'd have English, Math, History & PE; second quarter English, Math, Science, & Art; third quarter History, PE, Science & Art. When I was in ninth grade, the "accelerated" kids had English the first quarter and the third quarter. During the first quarter, we read Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities. I hated that book and thought it was extremely confusing, and I couldn't figure out how the lady knitted names (of the rebels, I think) into the scarf she was constantly knitting at the tavern. When we came back and picked up the class in the third quarter, the (same) teacher had us read. . . .A Tale of Two Cities! "We already read this during the first quarter!" The teacher would not believe us and made us do it again. I hated it as much the second time around as I had the first!

When we did the Favorite Teachers Flashback, I shared about my English teacher from my junior year in high school. She was the one that made literature fun. Among my favorites that year was To Kill a Mockingbird; we read it and discussed the movie.

For as many books as I read during my school years, there are, of course, many more that I didn't read. I had not read Pride and Prejudice until a year or so ago. And I've still not read The House of the Seven Gables (Hawthorne), The Scarlet Letter (Hawthorne), Jane Eyre (Bronte), or Great Expectations (after Two Cities, I avoided anything of Dickens that I could, with the exception of A Christmas Carol!)

I could go on and on and on. There's a whole 'nother post I could write about the books I read to my kids!

What about you? Post your memories and link up here so we can all enjoy! BTW, I am taking my boy on a college visit and won't be on the internet much today and tomorrow. So please be patient with my slowness in coming to visit you!


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Barbara H. said...

I enjoyed this one a lot. I could write another whole post, too, about books I read to my children -- I hope we explore that some time.

My upbringing was sadly lacking in classics. I never heard of Anne of Green Gables until the first film came out, and then I devoured them. I only heard of the Betsy-Tacy books recently. I didn't read Five Peppers until adulthood, and I loved it. I don't remember getting into Nancy Drew at all. I didn't try A Tale of Two Cities until adulthood, and it took me several attempts to get through it, but I loved it once I did.

sara said...

really? You loved to read....I never would have guessed! :)

I am working on this post this morning and it should be up by noon!!!

what college are you guys visiting?

Kathy said...

Somehow, I knew that you would have a good time writing this particular post--and I believe that you did :) You would've made a great librarian. Have a great weekend...(Kathy)

Cindy Swanson said...

Linda, I had that very edition of "Five Little Peppers" that's pictured in your post!

What a great Flashback Friday...bringing back a lot of good memories.

SusanD said...

Seriously. How do you choose a favorite? lol. Thanks for hosting. Have an awesome weekend. Blessings, SusanD

bp said...

This week brought back some great memories for me. Your quote about the Little House book made me laugh. I enjoyed your memories. Hope the college visit goes well!

Skoots1moM said...

love all the library is STILL one of my favorite places. College libraries are THE BEST...beautiful and "wonderfully stinky" old ;)

Liesa said...

I just found your blog a few weeks ago, and I'm enjoying meeting you so much. I too love books! Thanks for sharing your favorites!

God Bless your weekend.

Visit me at Life By George anytime!

Cathy said...

Linda, I love this flashback. I've read some of the same ones as you, but surely not all of them. Hope you have fun visiting the college.

Susan said...

How did I forget Little House on the Prairie in my post??? I hadn't read the books until the TV show began, and even then I only read a few. I should go back and read all of them now!

Kathy ... aka Nana said...

Love this flashback! I never could manage to acquire a taste for the classics. I think every once in a while about reading some now ... but I think the damage has been done. LOL

Have a good time on your college visit.

Nikki said...

This one was fun! I like to write about books almost as much as I like to read them!

Jim said...

This is a wonderful FFB prompt, Linda. And your writing here is one of the best I've visited.

I was an adult when I heard of The Secret Garden. If I can remember, I will check it out again. I have a stack of children's poetry to analyze. With my simple vocabulary those might fit my capabilities.

I think Dickens can grow on you. I generally read a book of his when someone has gotten me motivated. I am working on Drood right now. Dickens never finished this one so many writers feel it is fair game for historical fiction.

Debbie Petras said...

I didn't see your post until later today but I had to write one on this topic. I love books. I almost forgot about the Donna Parker books. I think I must have read all of them too.

Suddenly after reading your post, I'm remembering other books like "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn". Oh how I loved that one too.

Blessings fellow book lover,

CeeCee said...

Don't cry when he's not looking! ;)

bekahcubed said...

We had a lot of the same childhood favorites.

I remember reading A Tale of Two Cities in Junior High. I read it just to say that I had--and I don't think I followed the story at all. I read it again as a high school student and loved it--but had forgotten most of it by the time a high school student asked me if I'd read it with him as part of a "read a book with an adult" assignment for school. Now I think I've got the story down--and I'm crazy about it. It's too bad that you didn't like it--and that you had to read it twice in a year in junior high (and from a teacher who should have known better, too!)

quilly said...

I see we loved some of the same books. I will definitely be doing this meme sometime this week!

quilly said...

Mine's up finally -- waaaay late.