Some people divide their life up by the fashion they wore, their hairstyles, or even the boys and girls they liked. When I look back on my 28 years, it can be easily segmented out by books/genres I read. My nose has been in a book since ‘See Dick Run’ sentences finally lept from the pages. In my childhood home, we had a built-in bookcase in a narrow hallway. I loved the feeling of swinging the two doors wide open, pushing them against the wall so people could pass by and sitting cross-legged in front of a tower of written worlds. It was never organized, which lent itself to the feeling of discovery and triumph when a book popped from the back of the shelf. These escapes helped energize my childish curiosity and, later, helped ease my adolescent wounds. Both my adventure and safe haven.
In my parent’s house, there is a little nook in the living room with an antique table set next to my great-grandmother’s chair, re-upholstered by my grandma. On the opposite wall is a free-standing bookcase, filled with the same books of my childhood.
In my earliest reading days, I read fairy-tales of course. This naturally led into my first “novel” in third grade: Alice in Wonderland. I was so proud of myself and remember bragging to my sister that I had finished it. She didn’t believe me, which made me upset. Then came the Beverly Clearly stage, followed by Anne of Green Gables & the Indian in the Cupboard series. Then, in fifth grade my teacher decided she would read to us after lunch in an attempt to smooth the transition of our red & sweaty faces to a calmer classroom. She chose C.S. Lewis and by the end of the first day, I insisted that my mom buy me the Lion, the Witch, & the Wardrobe set. My high school days alternated between historical romance novels (if I couldn’t get kissed…I might as well read someone else getting it), Stephen King, and the classics (British mostly.)
This was my favorite fairy-tale book as a child. I was enthralled by the princesses’ perfect hair and how it always separated into three different strands. I looked at it with envy and resented my own.
To me, books are like smells & photos. They instantly bring me back to a specific time in my life. I remember characters like old friends I haven’t kept in very good contact with, but still can recall good memories. Or like places I’ve visited long ago and have a vague, almost blurry picture of in my head. I can’t separate my past from them, and can’t wait to introduce my own children to them.