A memory of books

Yesterday morning I was running errands with Cricket and Thumper, and they wanted a story.  I was at Sam’s Club, and they happened to have a bunch of Dr. Seuss board books for sale.  Just the sight of them triggered a fresh wave of childhood memories – my dad hated Dr. Seuss, but not me.  My sister and I both loved his books, and we kept checking them out at the library and insisting he read them to us before bed.  I remember reading a wide variety of books with my mom, particularly from The Great Illustrated Classics line, but I mostly remember reading Dr. Seuss with my dad.

I think it was because he hated him so that we made him read those books to us.  Either that, or he hated Dr. Seuss because we made him read the books so often.

We happened to own a copy of One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish, and we read it so frequently that the spine is now falling off the book.  I saw a shiny new copy yesterday next to the board books and was sorely tempted to buy one, but in the end, it remained on the shelf.  I remember bringing home How the Grinch Stole Christmas from the school library and insisting on hearing it before bed one Christmas.  And who could forget Green Eggs and Ham?  Or The Cat in the Hat?  Or Fox in Socks?  Or The Lorax?

When I graduated high school, my childhood Sunday School teacher gave me a copy of Oh! The Places You’ll Go!  I breezed through it, then put it aside.  The whimsy of the illustrations still captivated me, but the message of the book didn’t really soak in.  Not until I had graduated college, married, had a child of my own, and divorced, did the book really make much sense for me.  I recognized several of the stops mentioned in the book, and adjusted my life’s path accordingly.

Books were a huge part of my childhood, and I can’t imagine life without them.  What are some of your favorite books, from childhood or otherwise?

(c) 2013.  All rights reserved.

27 thoughts on “A memory of books

  1. Kate Jack says:

    I feel the same way as you about books, I can’t imagine life without them. In fact, at the risk of sounding melodramatic, life would not be the same if books didn’t exist. Some of my childhood favourites were The Chronicles of Narnia, The Hobbit, and Alice in Wonderland. 😀

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    • Kay Kauffman says:

      It wouldn’t, would it? I loved The Chronicles of Narnia, but I’ve never read any Tolkien and I don’t think I ever made it to Alice in Wonderland, either. I’ve seen the movies, of course, but the books weren’t part of my childhood (at least, not that I remember, anyway).

      Some of my other favorites were The Blood and Thunder Adventure on Hurricane Peak and the Goosebumps series.

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  2. joyweesemoll says:

    Dr. Seuss was a big part of my childhood, too. My dad liked them, though — I think he got a kick out of the made-up words and funny rhymes.

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    • Kay Kauffman says:

      I remember my mom loved reading to us. And my dad adored reading, but I’m not sure he liked reading out loud to us. Still, their shared love of books was passed on to my sister and me, and now to my kids as well. 🙂

      And those made-up rhymes are the best, aren’t they? Whenever I had to write a rhyming poem or something for English class, I was always terrible at it. Dr. Seuss was seriously talented in the rhyming department. 😀

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        • Kay Kauffman says:

          That’s wonderful that you read it to your son now! My boys adore A Sleepy Story, which was one of my favorite bedtime stories as a kid. And if I could find my copy of Mrs. Plug the Plumber, I’d read them that, too. 🙂

          I always had trouble spelling the word “special.” I did advanced spelling in elementary school and it’s always been one of my strengths, but that word used to give me trouble.

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  3. Deb Stone says:

    I don’t remember my first books, but I remember living two blocks from the Hoquiam library in third grade. I pedaled my white Schwinn bike there and back, steering with one hand and holding the stack of books in the woven basket with the other. At that age I was reading Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys, the Boxcar Children, Little Women, The Five Little Peppers and How They Grew. In junior high, we’d moved and a bookmobile came to our neighborhood every week. It was there I read Thomas Tryon’s The Other, books by Robert Silverberg, and the shocking (to me) Marjorie Morningstar.

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    • Kay Kauffman says:

      That’s awesome! We lived four blocks away from the library and I remember the day I got my first library card. I went to check a book out and the librarian asked for my number, so I started reciting my address and phone number. She then explained that she meant my library card number, and when I said I didn’t have one, she signed me right up for a library card. I had the number memorized by the time I got home. 😀

      I remember reading The Boxcar Children – I still have some of my old paperbacks, and now my kids like them. I still love Little Women, although there are a couple of Louisa May Alcott’s other books that rank higher than that one on my list of favorites (I really like A Long, Fatal Love Chase and The Inheritance).

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  4. *tara says:

    Tikki Tikki Tembo was a fave. As was Madeleine, Make Way for Ducklings, Little Black A Pony, The Witch Who Lives Down the Hall, the Berenstein Bears… okay too many to really name!

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    • Kay Kauffman says:

      I remember that book! I haven’t read it in ages, though. And I still have my hardback copy of Madeleine – I can’t count how many times I read that as a kid. And all the Berenstain Bears books…You’re right, there are too many to name! 😀

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    • Kay Kauffman says:

      Right? The more people comment with their favorite books, the more books I remember loving that I’d forgotten about. Tara’s comment above about The Witch Who Lives Down the Hall reminded me of The Witch of Blackbird Pond, which I loved as a preteen. 🙂

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  5. Barbara says:

    I love Dr. Seuss, but my favourite books from childhood were by Enid Blyton, especially The Famous Five. I also loved the lion, the witch and the wardrobe by C.S.Lewis.

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    • Kay Kauffman says:

      I’ve never read any of Enid Blyton’s books, though I’ve heard a lot of people say they’re very good. I hadn’t even heard of her till recently, but maybe she’s just not as popular here? I don’t know.

      I think I was in middle school when I discovered The Chronicles of Narnia. It’s been far too long since I last read any of them, but they’re all wonderful books. 🙂

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    • Kay Kauffman says:

      You’re welcome! You sound like my oldest son – I read him Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed countless times. I read it so often that I had it memorized. When my younger sons requested it one night for their bedtime story, I was surprised how much of it I still remembered. 🙂

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