Do you remember what you read when you were a kid? I have been wracking my brain ever since I read the Jo Walton book, Among Others, and can only come up with a few titles. And I seriously did go to the library every week with a stack of books to return and always left with a stack of books to read.
So what the heck was I reading?
Still, I have come up with a few things that I loved.
Chronicles of Narnia
A Little Princess
The Secret Garden
Anne of Green Gables
The Bobbsey Twins
Tintin (in french)
Lucky Luke (In French- those Dalton brothers!)
Asterix (in french)
Paul Zindel (The Pigman series)
Janet Lunn- The Root Cellar
Witch of Blackbird Pond
The Neverending Story
Diary of Anne Frank
My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George
Island of the Blue Dolphins
Katherine Paterson- Bridge to Terabithia
Go Ask Alice
Catcher in the Rye (my favouritest book at the time)
Actually all of J.D. Salinger
The Communist Manifesto
Another aspect of the Among Others book was that the main character finds love and belonging through a science-fiction book club. It is a place where she can finally talk about what takes up the most space in her life, where she can truly come alive.
It just occurred to me that I never had that as a kid. My friends were not big readers. My sisters were more into sports. My mother, a single mother and somewhat workaholic, didn’t have much time to read let alone listen to me ramble on about the book I was reading at the time (though she is an avid reader now). I still remember how her eyes would glaze over when I started talking about a particular book I was reading.
It has made me very grateful for the group of friends I have now, who not only read, but read the same things I read and who want to share their thoughts and opinions about books. It also makes me very grateful for the internet, which gives me access to a wider community of readers.
But I wonder- if you don’t have anybody to talk to about what you are reading, to hash out the complexities and nuances of the work, is the experience somewhat diminished? Did I only skim the surface of the stories when I read, an endless literary gluttony of stuffing my brain without tasting the goods?
I am reading The Dispossessed by Ursula Leguin (part of my science-fiction catch up reading inspired by Among Others) and am already blown away. There are so many wonderful quotes in the book, but this one is the most appropriate for the above thought:
“…and they talked, and new worlds were born of their talking. It is of the nature of idea to be communicated: written, spoken, done. The idea is like grass. It craves light, likes crowds, thrives on cross-breeding, grows better for being stepped on.”
-Ursula Leguin, The Dispossessed