Is anyone reading this old enough to remember Scholastic Book Fairs? (**raises hand - puts hand down and then raises it again and starts waving it wildly in the air**) They were my FAVORITE day of the entire school year. What I remember is that our teacher would hand out a catalog of all the books that would be at the book fair, and as soon as I had mine, I would start reading the book descriptions and circling all of the books I wanted. Which was usually almost all of them.
Then I would do the math and add up the total, and ask my mom for $20…$25…$30… (I actually have no memory of how much the books cost or what astronomical total I might have come up with – just that whatever amount it totaled to, was almost always 75% higher than what my parents were willing to spend; and while money might have been tight when I was in school, my parents always found a few dollars for books). Then would come the pain-staking process of slowly eliminating the coveted books, one by one, until I ended up with a total that mom and dad were okay with spending.
I don’t think I discovered a favorite author or a favorite book during a Scholastic Book Fair (but who knows? Who remembers that far back?) but they did reinforce the fact that there is nothing better than a room full of books, just sitting there waiting for a person to discover them. Kind of like a library, as a matter of fact. 😉
A couple of blog posts ago I discussed some books I hate – but today I definitely need to focus on something happier. Why not take the time to remember some of the books I’ve loved?
Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck
This was one of the first “grown up” books I read in high school (as in, a book I picked from the library on my own, not a required reading book, and a memoir (of all things) by an author I wasn’t that familiar with). This was the book that had me falling in love with John Steinbeck. I think it’s a bit funny that the quote that stands out for me with this book is (paraphrasing) … ” I have always taken my hangovers as a consequence, not a punishment.” At that point in life I had never had an alcoholic drink, let alone a hangover, so I didn’t *really* know what it meant, but what I took away from it is something that I’ve let guide my actions and heart since then – if I do something that I wholly embrace, whether it be drunken revelry or giving my heart knowing it might be broken, the results aren’t a punishment for who I am. Just part of the process. Thank you, Mr. Steinbeck.
The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams
I actually discovered this book as an adult, not a child. I have a stuffed teddy bear that has been loved beyond all hope of salvation, who is currently now most likely 52 years old, and still holds a place of honor in my home. Of course, he’s real. The idea that love grows, and the longer you love, and the harder you love, sometimes the ugly shows through, but that’s when it gets real. (I didn’t think I was actually writing a blog post that was relevant to what is going on in the world today, but perhaps I am).
There’s No Such Place As Far Away by Richard Bach
Do you know it? Have you read it? Have you ever missed someone so much your entire body hurts? Go read it. You’ll thank me.
The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
I will re-read this book at least once a year forever. It doesn’t get old for me.
As I was compiling this list, I kept coming up with more and more books I’ve read that resonated and that I want to tell people about. Far more books than I could write about in one blog post. Perhaps this will be a series for me – I’ve finally discovered a blog post idea I can use over and over again!!
And ain’t that grand?