My childhood buddy, my newest traveling companion and a guru of all things witty has challenged me to identify 10 books that have followed me through my life. Just 10? I have moved 21 times during my 53 years of life so I do have books that followed me!
I LOVE to read! It started early in my life, reading at the feet of my mother as she completed a task such as crocheting or pinning curling papers in my hair. Ouch! Of course I started with See Dick. See Jane. See Spot. Then I moved up to library books! I am OCD and it started in my tender years at Saginaw Elementary. I remember the red book section (aka biographies). I picked up one, read it and just decided to finish the whole red book section! That was back in the day when biographies told you good information about people. You actually liked them when you finished the book. Remember those cards you sign to check out the book? I betcha my name was on a whole lot of those books! So let me tell you about two of the books from the elementary part of my life.
1. The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf
I really don’t remember if it was the artwork or the humor or the
Matadors but I fell in love with this book. I read it to my daughters and to my grandson. I still have a copy. I think I might go read it right now.
2. The ENTIRE Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder
I am not ashamed to admit that I have read this series more than a grown woman should admit too. Laura was a pioneer, she crossed the Mississippi, lived on the plains near Native Americans and fell in love with a farmer. What is not to admire, love and adore with this series? I remember the spanking she got, the cat crawling up her hoops in church and her first kiss with Almonzo. Sigh. One thing has always bothered me. Why is this fiction? Don’t get me started.
I had to grow up and leave Saginaw Elementary and move on to Wayside Middle School, the Saginaw Public Library and eventually to W. E. Boswell High School. I still loved to read and would prop up a Harlequin inside my Algebra book and read while Mr. Atchison taught the class. Let’s not talk about my grades in that class! I fell in love with love stories and here are the books I remember most from this time period. At this point I was scouring the library starting in one section completing it before moving on, kind of like a lawn mower!
3. Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Green
I love this book. Typical teenage girl falling for the wrong guy or maybe not. I still hand this book to students and it still makes them cry.
4. Mr. And Mrs. Bo Jo Jones by Ann Head
Really? I know you are asking that, but I lived in a sheltered world! I remember the summer I devoured every Grace Livingston Hill and Emily Loring novel. Then I discovered Harlequins and then I read this book. I remember picking it up and thinking “who names their kid Bo Jo”? I discovered it was short for Boswell Johnson and that girls had sex before marriage and sometimes got pregnant. That was about the time Harlequins discovered the same thing!
5. The Cross and the Switchblade by David Wilkerson
This book stunned me. Who willingly lived like this? Following Jesus where he wanted you to be, regardless of the circumstances.
There was a bigger influence in my life during this time. Jesus. He still is the biggest influence and that would explain the following books.
6. The Holy Bible (multiple copies and versions)
I have old ones and I have new ones but the message is the same in each one. God is love.
I have eight hymnals and I love to sing from them. So many stories put into words and set to music. Amazing Grace, Blessed Assurance and the list goes on.
I grew up, got married, had three daughters and wasted a lot of time reading Danielle Steele and other such novels. My oldest brother, Gary, told me I was wasting brain space and challenged me to read classic literature sooooo, you guessed it, I got a list and started reading from a college bound list, alphabetically of course. I had already read some of them in high school but I read them again anyway. This is where it gets hard to narrow the list down.
8. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Jane is amazing! I honestly thought I would never get through the first hundred pages but this book changed my reading habits. She had the strength to say no when love finally arrived in her life. She walked away. I can still hear him calling her across the moors!
9. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
The dust bowl. Oklahoma. What a life?! Moving your family across the country in hope, just hope of a better life.
I ultimately became a teacher. I teach Family and Consumer Science and I also teach reading. Imagine that! A couple of years ago my teacher lunch buddies asked if I wanted to join a reading club. They wanted to read this new book. Several conversations were going on at the same time and I only heard “shades if gray” so I said sure, it was a book on my reading list and it surprised me they were interested. Here was the problem: I wanted to read “Between Shades of Gray” by Ruta Sepetys, a novel about the Russian Invasion of Lithuania in 1939 and they wanted to read the other one. Needless to say I am the only one who read about the Lithuanians and the only one who didn’t read the other one. My final selection is a book that I think all my reading students should read.
10. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
This book touched me in a different way than other World War II novels. Death is the narrator and we see the story through the innocence of a child. Reading really does make a difference in our lives!
I could have listed hundred of books but the Guru of Wit has limited me to 10!
What’s on your shelf?