RS (rainbowstevie) wrote,

Ten Bookish Memories

LOVE this week's topic at That Artsy Reader Girl!

I'm not even going to call this "top" ten Tuesday, because I have so many bookish memories that sometimes I think it would be a fun pet project to draft a memoir about my reading life. So rather than "best," here are ten fun, random little anecdotes to get to know me better. I look forward to reading everyone else's, too!

[edit: maybe! Just got tagged for another project that starts Friday and runs until a couple days before Christmas Eve, so I may be busy desperately trying to do whatever shopping is easier to do on weekdays before that starts]

1. When I took piano lessons at a private residence, I entered through the basement level. There was a loooong shelf packed with nothing but Choose Your Own Adventure books, left behind by her adult sons. Borrowing a new one (or two) each week was my greatest incentive to keep going to said lessons.

(and yes, I was the kid who put a bookmark on every choice to make sure I could go back and eventually read every page)
2. When I was 6, Mom put me and my baby brother in home daycare for a few years, where I was the only school-age kid. My daycare provider, though not a very warm lady or a particularly big reader heself, DID know how to shop a garage sale for business purposes, so to occupy me while the little kids napped, she stocked up on paperbacks. This is how I discovered MANY 80s/early 90s series books. Of particular fondness, The Gymnasts, The Sleepover Friends, and the Friends-4-Ever books (like Friends 'Til the Ocean Waves, and other punny titles).
3. Before THAT place, however, we briefly went to a much worse provider who had several kids of her own. The place was a chaotic and disorganized mess, BUT the girl my age had Album of Horses, and I was utterly enchanted by the colorful paintings of various horse breeds on the end pages. When I found it again at the school library, that was my introduction to the lady I would eventually declare my lifelong favorite author: Marguerite Henry.
4. My first crush on a book character: Jake from Animorphs. (which was definitely a combo of the character and the cute cover model, but still, I'll always have a lil' attachment to him for that)
5. My third grade teacher had us make a paper clip chain of all the books we read independently each trimester -- each book + its author, publication year and page count written down on the back of an index card (which were actually from the library's recently-dismantled card catalog) and hung from a wire hanger attached to the light over our desk. It's one of my fave elementary school memories, and it turns out I/my mom actually saved one trimester's worth of cards, so I could make THIS!

(click to
enlarge as needed)
Lots of mysteries, spooky stories, and a boatload of animals: just like today!

I don't remember all of them, but the first three, all the horse books, Stray Dog, Girl in the Window, and The Hundred Dresses remain favorites to this day. Also I JUST realized that my beloved Little Rascal was a junior adaptation of Rascal, and I actually haven't read the original! I need to get on that.
6. Among the top 3 things I miss about college (none of which are the people or the classes/learning) were the libraries and their RESPLENDENT collection of juvenile fiction stretching back many decades. I loved old books even then, and while of course I still read contemporary stuff as well, I got to read SO many beautiful midcentury horse, dog and regular-teen stories from my parents' era, long out of print. At least a book a week during the school year, and the two summers I stayed and worked/lived on campus gave me the time and access I needed to read a ton more.
7. My best friend introduced me to James Herriot, and I started reading his books while we were at her house in the country*, in between hanging out with all her pets and snacking on cream cheese bagels, smoked string cheese, and/or succulent raspberries from the enormous patch behind her house.

(*Because the house she'd moved to in the country was 25 miles away, after age 8 we could only see each other once a month. So our sleepovers lasted the whole weekend, meaning at some point we'd want to have independent time, especially as we got older and wanted to use the computer. The one computer each of our houses had)
8. Wishbone plus Great Illustrated Classics = a preteen who is PREPARED to excel in those English classes someday!

(and/or be disappointed by how long and boring the real books are by comparison. it's a double-edged sword. still, I had a good knowledge base to draw from when I tried, and I'm so sorry today's children aren't growing up in an environment like that. Did you catch the Phantom of the Opera one in the picture up there? Never did read the original.)
9. I have MANY great memories of books Mom read to me, but one of my faves is Animalia. She'd either just read it straight through for bedtime (letting me pick out the boy in hiding on each page along the way), or we'd pick a few letters earlier in the day and I'd name as many items as I could -- while simultaneously learning new words from her when I saw something I didn't know the name of. I still cherish this book and have fun looking for/naming items.
10. And finally: the first time I went to the Half Price Books Clearance Sale at the fairgrounds, with more books than I could ever even imagine being for sale in one place, none over $2. That was an amazing day. I went for the next ten years straight, and frankly it never stopped being amazing.

Then COVID happened and while I haven't missed much from The Before Times, I mourn this sale with all of my heart, even more than the actual State Fair (a close second) and hanging out in the library for hours (third).
That was so much fun! Next week is a freebie week, and since I don't have any other ideas yet, I'm thinking about doing a second round. You know, if work doesn't crush me.

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Tags: top ten tuesday

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