Friday, March 28, 2008

Yesterday's child looks for old favorites. . .

I’ve been thinking about the books I read as a kid. I was a serious bookworm—read in bed, in the car, on the bus. I read at the table unless I was scolded and while walking down the street, despite accidentally walking into lampposts and falling off sidewalks. I’m sure the books I read shaped the person and the writer I am today. Many of those books still line my walls, as I also became an avid book collector. I still love wandering in old bookshops (or virtual wandering through ebay or abebooks) in search of old (and new) favorites.

Another fun internet discovery is Loganberry Books’ Stump the Bookseller feature.
This great site lets you hunt for books when you don’t know the name and author. You can post whatever details you do remember. If the bookseller recognizes the book, she’ll identify it. All the posts are on the webpage and often other readers will suggest possibilities.

For years I’d thought about a book I remembered reading as a child -- definitely one of the creepiest books I ever read, and I read it over and over – even though I usually avoid scary books and movies! But all I remembered was a magic pencil, dreams becoming real, spooky live rocks and a lighthouse. A check of other people’s posts on Stump the Bookseller revealed the book is Marianne Dreams by Catherine Storrs. I bought a copy, too. But I haven’t gotten up the nerve to read it yet! (Yes, I am a big chicken. But this was a really riveting book. Maybe you should read it?)

My most recent discovery was in the still-good shed at the local dump (an excellent Eagle Scout project, by the way). As I was depositing an armload of books, an unassuming volume caught my eye. The Pink Motel! This was one of those books that lurk around the edges of my consciousness, teasing me. I didn’t remember anything about it except the title, and that it was a book I took home from the library more than once – in memory, it seems like dozens of times. With great excitement, I took it home. Would it still be as much fun as I remembered?

I kept the book by my bed, reading a chapter or so every night. (I used to read entire books at one sitting. Sadly, my life no longer provides uninterrupted afternoons to spend halfway up a maple tree with a book and a couple of apples.) And I did enjoy every minute. Over the next couple of days, I’ll post a few things I noticed as an adult that I probably missed when I was ten. “Tune in next time . . .”


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