June 5, 2011

Sharing Memories (Week 23 of 52): Books, Books and More Books!

It's Week 23 of our Sharing Memories - A Genealogy Journey Please join us each Sunday as we write and share our memories of childhood. Your descendants will be thankful that you did! Write here as a comment, or on your own blog, or in a private journal, but please write!

After reviewing the iPhone app EasyBib (which I love!) I started thinking about books. I love books and reading. I grew up in a home where reading was definitely encouraged and I was already reading when I went to Kindergarten.

Was your family home full of books? Do you remember the first time you went to a Library? Did your mom or dad read you a bedtime story at night? What is the very first book you remember reading? What is the first book you received as a gift? What is your favourite childhood book? How old were you when you started reading? Did you read to your own children or grandchildren? Do you have a home full of books as an adult? Tell us about your books and reading memories.

My mother was an avid reader. We were poor but we had books. Lots of books. And there was no censorship, I was allowed to read anything I wanted except for romance novels. My mother considered those "trash" and there were none in our house. But some of my friends had romance magazines that I wanted to read but that was against mother's rules.

I grew up reading Frank Yerby novels (I didn't understand everything I read and I remember asking my mother about some of the more descriptive love and intimacy passages) As I recall they were historical fiction with a wonderful soupcon of romance!

If I couldn't find a book to read over breakfast or lunch, I'd read the cereal box or the label on a can of soup. Seriously. My mother and sister were the same. We read constantly.

My mom also had a shelf full of Reader's Digest Condensed Books but I didn't enjoy those as much as the full-length historical novels. I guess I was hooked on History at a very young age!

I confess to also loving True Detective Magazines. So gory and horrible but for some reason they fascinated me. I have no idea why my mom let me read them as I used to have terrible nightmares and I was reading those by the time I was 8 years old.

My mom did her weekly trip to the local library for books but I don't recall ever going with her. Our small-town library had an adult section and a children's department and anyone under 16 was not allowed to check out a book from the adult's area. So I just read all my mom's books when she was done with them. When I was 14 my mother arranged for me to work part-time at the library and all summer long, so I think librarian stuff is in my genes

The first book I owned was "Little Women" by Louisa My Alcott. My cousin and his wife gave it to me for my 10th birthday. I was thrilled!

The next year they gave me "The Dog Who Wouldn't Be" by Farley Mowat and I was hooked. I'd never had my very own books before and that started me on my book acquisition tendencies

But my favorite book of all time and one I still have in my possession, is my mother's copy of "Miracle on 34th Street" by Valentine Davies. It's only 120 pages - a small red book about 7 1/2 inches by 5 inches. I'm not sure if there was a dust jacket but I don't have one. It was published in 1947 and I suspect given to my mother as a gift. I can't see her reading it, let alone buying it!

I used to take my own children to our local library every week for storytime and to choose books. Every night I read them a bedtime story. I'm sure that one of the things they'll remember about me is my love of reading.  Hopefully I instilled that love in them too.

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