Over at The Book Case, they’ve been doing a series of blog posts highlighting books about our favorite childhood things like toys and candy. This got me thinking about some old friends I found between the pages as a child. Mom used to read to us when we were small. Things like “Cinderella”, “Snow White and Rose Red”, “Joseph and the Coat of Many Colors”, stories about Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox. I remember my older sister reading us Through the Looking Glass and I think she read us the Uncle Remus stories. I know she took us to see Song of the South.
The first book I remember reading myself was one of the Bernstein Bears books. After that, many afternoons, and stolen late nights hidden under the covers with a flashlight, were spent with my nose stuck in a book. Nocturnal journeys to Neverland and The Hundred-Acre Wood. I had boxed sets of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House books and the Anne of Green Gables novels. For a very short while, I dabbled in Nancy Drew and the Bobbsey Twins, but they bored me silly.
Somewhere around the fifth or sixth grade I remember being obsessed with Robinson Crusoe and Johnny Tremain. I don’t know why but I checked them both out from the school library multiple times. It was also around this time that I experimented with horror by reading a few of R. L. Stein’s then insanely popular Fear Street novels. I hated them. There was also Tom Sawyer, The Prince and the Pauper, White Fang, and The Secret Garden. I spent hours in the garden with Mary, Colin, and Dicken. I begged my mother for a “bit of earth” to plant my own. The start of another favorite pastime, even though it was only a small patch of chrysanthemums and cosmos in the backyard planted sloppily from cheap packets of seeds from the grocery store.
It was also in middle school that my love affair with historical fiction began. Not just Elizabeth the Great and Anne Boleyn, but Mark Twain’s Joan of Arc, which became another obsession at the school library for a brief time.
And let us not forget the historical romance novel. My mother had lots of them. Old school bodice rippers from Bertrice Small, Johanna Lindsey, Kathleen E. Woodiwiss, Julie Garwood, et al. I remember stealing one, I don’t remember which, when I was about thirteen and hiding it away in my room to read in breathless, excited bursts when I could catch a moment alone. Of course she knew I had it. 🙂
What did y’all read while hidden under your covers with a flashlight?