I always say I have a poor long-term memory. I don’t really know how memory works and if that statement is true or I am just exaggerating. But, anyway, I don’t always remember much of my childhood or memories of “firsts.”
But for the sake of trying to preserve some of what I do remember (before it eventually decides to snuggle up in the part of my brain I don’t know how to access), here are some bookish memories of my youth.
Barnes and Noble:
I love libraries. Oh I do, I do. But I don’t have an excess of memories of visiting them when I was a young ‘un. I know I used them. I do recall the library from my middle school, maybe elementary school as well. But our town library was small and then moved to a new location and wasn’t as good. The selection wasn’t excellent (that I recall) and it wasn’t incredibly welcoming. It’s also possible I didn’t go much because my parents both worked long hours and we just weren’t able to get to the library when it was open. But my parents did take us to Barnes and Noble. All. The. Time. And I remember spending hours in the YA section, reading the back covers of every book and stacking a large pile of them in my arms. I would then meet my mom and dad at the front of the store at a set time, and then I’d have to put some of the books back. I think I was usually allowed three. And often I would have to get at least one that was literary fiction and not fantasy or romance. I think this is why I still love B&N so much to this day.
Reading with my dad:
Both of my parents read to me when I was little. I don’t really remember most of it happening, but it happened. I do, however, know that my dad read me both Danny and the Dinosaur and The Butterfly Jar dozens of times. The Butterfly Jar is a poetry book for kids by Jeff Moss, and I remember clearly that I ADORED the poem “The Cuddlies.” I have no idea why I liked that particular poem so much, but I made my dad read it to me again and again. And I still have my old, yellowing copy of Danny and the Dinosaur in my room at my parents house – which we bought from the library, proving we must have at least gone to book sales there.
Reading what my mom told me to read (sometimes):
She had me read Gone With the Wind in freshman or sophomore year of high school. I don’t remember if I liked it. I read The Borrowers on her recommendation as well as many of Louisa May Alcott’s books. She was even the one who gave me the first Harry Potter — mostly because someone gave it to her to read and she does not like fantasy but knew I would love it. My mom and dad still buy me books and give me ones they read and enjoyed.
My sixth grade English teacher reading us a chapter or two of Holes as a reward:
Her name is slipping my mind … sigh. But every day she would save the last 15 minutes of class to read to us, and it was wonderful — the book, getting out of our desks and sitting around her on the floor. Laughing when something funny happened and gasping when something exciting happened. Sharing it all together.
What are some of your favorite bookish memories?