Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Day 10- The first novel you remember reading

Today's book challenge post is much easier than yesterday's. I was even quite surprised that one of the books I chose is still available and I could find a photo of the cover.

My mother is a voracious reader. I don't remember a time when she didn't read. I don't have memories of her reading to me, but I do have memories of being taken to the Monona Public Library, sitting at the kids table and being allowed to page through books with incredible pictures while she went to the left, into those dark stacks and came out with two or three books that didn't have pictures. Why would you want to read something that just had words on the page? Pictures make the words come alive.

I believe mom was encouraged to read by her parents. My grandmother received, probably, 6-8 different magazines every month and read each one of them. She read the newspaper, all of it, ads and everything. I don't remember my grandfather having books around, but he was a numismatist, an antique's dealer and a philatelist, and I remember magazines devoted to those hobbies lying around. My grandfather's parents had a few books in their home.

Reading was encouraged in all of us kids. My brothers don't read as my sister and I do. My ex-husband came from a family of readers so it would be natural to hand down the love of reading and the love of books to Carole. She's a couple days ahead of me on this challenge and her answer to this theme was her father's Hardy Boys books.

As I aged, the public library became a more wondrous place. Girl Scouts was in the basement of this building, the town hall. The library was just beyond the town clerk and the mayor's office. I can smell the smell that greeted you when you scampered up the stairs, across the lobby to the large wooden doors that said "Public Library" on them. The librarians were two ladies everyone knew and they made it their business to recommend books.

I think, the summer between 3rd and 4th grade is when I made the transition to non-illustrated chapter books. We went to the library and the librarian suggested I start reading Nancy Drew. She said the beauty of these books was that there were more of them in this series, meaning Nancy and her friends, these characters I could get to know, would have more adventures. Well, okay, I'll give it a try.

I don't know if I read The Secret of the Old Clock first. That is the first one in the series. I do know that once I started reading these, I was hooked.

At the time I was reading them, new books were showing up in the library every 6-10 weeks. I wasn't the only 4th grader reading Nancy Drew and 3 of us would, before Girl Scouts, go to the library to see if a new book was in. We had read all the others so a new one was a treasure. But, we did have arguments over who had checked out the last new book so whose "turn" it was to check the newest book out first.

That's when the librarian stepped in and said she would start a list. She would keep tabs on who checked out the book first and rotate it between the three of us. It was a good system. If one of us came in and found the newest book on the shelf but it wasn't our "turn" to check it out, she would call and find out if we were going to come in soon or could she let someone else check it out. I think this lasted a year before we moved on to other books.

In the back of my mind, there is the idea that there was a series I read before Nancy Drew, but Nancy Drew is the chapter book I remember most clearly.

Beverage:  English Breakfast tea


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