About a week ago, Blog From the Windowsill tagged me for a book meme. I had seen this particular meme making the rounds and was deeply frightened, knowing I could do it no justice. I have a terrible memory for books I’ve read and for my childhood in general. But I’ve been tagged, and fair is fair. I did make one of the middle questions (it was number three) the last question, so I could end on a strong note.
1. How old were you when you learned to read and who taught you?
Let’s say five, because I know it was before kindergarten, and my mom swears that I taught myself.
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?
I remember having lots of books. All kinds of Dr. Seuss. Lots of those little Golden Books. I remember specifically the Frances and the Raggedy Ann books. As an older child, I know that my whole bookcase was always full.
3. Were you a re-reader as a child? If so, which book did you re-read most often?
I re-read pretty much everything. Some favorites were the Little House series, the Narnia books, Judy Blume books, Pippi Longstocking, Raggedy Ann, and Winnie the Pooh.
4. What’s the first adult book that captured your interest and how old were you when you read it?
I’m guessing here, but I’d say The Hobbit and The Lord of The Rings, but I have no idea when I read them.
5. Are there children’s books that you passed by as a child that you have learned to love as an adult? Which ones?
Again, I’m guessing, but I don’t think I read Little Women until I was an adult.
6. What’s the first book that you bought with your own money?
I haven’t the slightest idea. So, instead let me tell a book-buying story. I grew up in a small rural town in Virginia. Every couple of months there would be this huge book sale in a converted barn. People came from all over to buy overstocks, damaged books, returns, etc. Not only was this before eBay, but I don’t think even the discount booksellers had hit the scene yet (and if so, not in the Shenandoah Valley), so this was a big deal. My mom and I would go early and wait in line. When the doors opened, we made our way around the tables upstairs (the nicer stuff) or the shelves downstairs (lots of books without the covers). With people shuffling along down the tight aisles, there wasn’t a lot of time to ponder our choices. If we were interested at all, we grabbed a copy of the title to look at later. There were some people stocking their bookstores, but not many and they were civil about it. They might take one of each title, but they didn’t hoard them all. Once we’d filled our box or bag, we took our selections outside for a closer look. The ones we didn’t want went back on big tables left there for this purpose. Then mom and I would negotiate for what she would buy for me (I suspect the entire F. Scott Fitzgerald collection fit in that category) and what I was paying for myself (maybe the green leather copy of The Hobbit seen here that I bought for two bucks). The book sale was one of my absolute favorite things, combining reading and bargain shopping. What total bliss.