What’s your favorite reading memory?

Since last week I wrote about some of my favorite reading memories, this week we decided to share our friends’ and family’s reading memories. Receiving people’s responses has been a lot of fun, and, in keeping with last week’s blog, it seems that many people’s reading memories are also memories with family and friends. Please take a minute to read the memories below.  What resonates with you?  Do the memories sound similar to some of your own? Comment below and let us know or share a reading memory of your own!

1.         James Miceli: My mom was an English major, and growing up, she always read to my sister and me.  Particular favorites were the Little House on the Prairie memoirs, especially during the years we lived in the Midwest.  We always wanted to hear more- the frontier adventures of Laura Ingalls Wilder always fascinated us and put us right to sleep, as a good family book will do.

2.         Carrie Crum: When I was 4, I tried to teach my best friend to read. We sat down with Green Eggs and Ham, and he patiently went through the book page by page, sounding out the words under my tutelage. He then went on to read the entire thing from cover to cover. I was so excited I had taught him to read! Until I handed him another book and quickly discovered he just knew Green Eggs and Ham by heart and couldn’t read after all.      

3.         Niki Lynn Frazier: Some of my earliest memories are of my mother reading stories to me in her room. She kept a pressed four leaf clover tucked in to the pages of her copy of The Secret Garden. Although the book had very few illustrations, which at first seemed boring, I would curl up next to her in bed and listen, getting sucked into the story but all the while waiting to see that clover.

4.         Bridget Galvin: The first novel I remember loving was Charlotte’s Web. I remember asking my dad what “manure” meant, although I pronounced it “manyure.” He told me it was pig poop…I couldn’t believe it! That book proceeded to break my 8 year old heart.

5.         Eve Richards: I loved myths, especially Greek Myths and someone gave me a gift of the large (9 X 12) book of D’Aulaires Greek Myths which had these great colored pencil illustrations. My favorite was a family tree with Zeus at the top. Medusa was a close second. I would just get lost in those myths and read them again and again. Another thing I remember is my Dad making me sign a reading “contract” at the beginning of the summer so that he could basically force me to read because I had signed the contract. It wouldn’t have been that hard because I loved to read but one of the stipulations was that he got to choose a book for me (just one). He always picked the hardest books! I remember they were worth it in the end but they required a lot of thought, not like what I was choosing, which didn’t require much at all. One book was Black Elk Speaks, another was A Tree Grows In Brooklyn. Both amazing books but a far cry from Nancy Drew which was my book of choice.

6.         Joanna Bopp-Yarnell: One of my most vivid memories of early reading when I truly devoured a story was a series recommended to me by an amazing friend, Marisa Keller Bailitz. The title of the starting book of the quartet is Alanna: The First Adventure written by Tamora Pierce. The main plot in this book is that a set of boy/girl twins, Alanna and Thom, are told they have to soon begin their lives in their respected trades learning the art of magic and the other becoming a knight. Of course, siblings always want what the other one has so they decide to switch places in their assigned destinies. Alanna soon realizes that this becomes exceedingly complicated and not only does her physical self betray their secret but, like so many of us growing up, she also discovers hardships and the cruel reality of betrayal from those thought to be friends. The biggest influence this reading experience had with me was witnessing such a strong character not just prove that she could do as good as her male peers, but going beyond any competition to really be herself. As a preteen girl then and a “grown-up” now, I really appreciate any example of someone, male or female, being able to live a life they forge for themselves successfully and unapologetically against the status quo. There a so very few opportunities to see those examples in other forms of media that it makes me so very grateful to have been encouraged by family and friends to be an avid reader.

7.         Sarah Martyn Crowell: I do have a favorite memory, or general memory:  my parents reading the Chronicles of Narnia to me before bed.  I remember every night falling asleep as I pictured the various animals, children, and scenery.  It was like my doorway into dreaming.

And enjoy the pictures of some our family and friends’ babies reading. Collecting the pictures may have been a little more fun than collecting the reading memories….but only a little.

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15 thoughts on “What’s your favorite reading memory?

  1. From a friend, Doug Bistrow, who contributed after the blog was posted: I was six when my mother first started reading me The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. I was hooked the minute the children found a portal which took them from their boring country house to a magical land. They were guided along the way by Aslan, a talking lion with mysterious powers.

    One night, as I listened to my mother’s voice, I learned that the witch had captured Aslan, tied him up, and threatened to kill him. I kept waiting for his daring escape, for the children to come to his rescue, anything – but instead the witch stabbed him and he died. I was shocked.

    As I lay in bed trying to fall asleep, a great sadness washed over me. How could Aslan be dead? He was always a force for good, and he was the only hope for the entire land of Narnia! I felt the tears well up in my eyes, and soon I was sobbing. I climbed out of bed, ran to my mother and threw my arms around her. When she finally figured out what was wrong, she did something that perplexed me. She got out our blanket, sat down on the couch, and patted the seat next to her. Even though it was the middle of the night (probably nine o’clock!) she lifted the book off of the table and began to read the next chapter.

    It turned out Aslan had planned it this way all along. He returned, even more powerful than before, and Narnia was saved. I collapsed into bed, exhausted and relieved, and fell into a deep sleep.

  2. One of my favorite childhood memories is my mom reading Superfudge to me! I remember cracking up so much that I could hardly catch my breath… 🙂

    • Angie, thanks for commenting on our blog! You have the honor of being our 1st commenter. 🙂 Love, love, love Judy Blume as well- although I don’t remember any of the details of her books. I saw a bunch at the library yesterday and was thinking about reading them again.

  3. I discovered Nancy Drew mysteries when I was about 10 years old. I could not get enough of a smart woman figuring things out.

    • Sue,

      Thanks for commenting on our blog! It really means a lot. You know, I can’t believe I’m going to admit this, but I’ve never read a Nancy Drew mystery. I read the Bobsey Twins, which is kind of the same genre, but never Nancy Drew. I’ve been thinking about trying a couple actually. Never read a Hardy Boys mystery either- and we had a ton of those in the house b/c of my brothers.

      -Kate

  4. Ditto about Nancy Drew. I loved Nancy Drew growing up. Nancy Drew: The Spider Sapphire Mystery was the first novel I read on my own. And it was followed by many more Nancy Drew mysteries.

    • Thanks for commenting, Allison- Spider Sapphire Mystery is a great title. When I first read your comment, I misread it and assumed it read: “Sapphire Spider Mystery.” When I realized I had read it incorrectly, I was a little confused about what a spider sapphire could be. So, I googled the book and just saw the cover- even better than the title! I now am 100% intrigued by the spider sapphire.

  5. I loved books so much as a kid that I developed the helpful skill of ignoring all distractions around me while reading, even the parents yelling from ten feet away for me to come to dinner. The books that I got into the zone with the most were not the highest quality writing though – the Choose Your Own Adventure books. After getting fed up by fumbling back through pages, trying to remember the last choice I had made before meeting an untimely demise, I started ripping up pieces of paper to use as bookmarks for every choice. No page was left unturned after that!

    • Thanks for commenting, Aaron! I didn’t read a ton of choose your own adventure style books when I was younger, but I do remember being totally overcome by how cool they were when I first discovered them: a story w/ more than 1 ending!?!? Ha, it was almost Neverending Story-ish to me. Looking back at on my experiences w/ them though, I realize that they might have been my 1st clue to how absurdly indecisive I can be 🙂

  6. One of my favorite books growing up was The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. I remember my 3rd grade teacher reading it to us and the whole class just roaring with laughter. The best part about it is that as an adult, it is still just as funny, and I love rereading it around the holidays.

    • Thanks for commenting, Karen. I’ve never heard of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever and am now excited to check it out. There is something esp great about discovering books that are read to you at school, isn’t there? I had that experience w/ The Polar Express. Those illustrations captivated me, and I went home and let my parents know we had to have it. They got it for me for Christmas that year, and I was thrilled.

  7. I remember my first walk out to the Bookmobile–an innovation in our outlying community. It was like a candy store. I could not believe I could take out a stack of books! I have no idea what I checked out–probably girly stuff, not great lit, but I was hooked on free books! Before that, I’d read the one book my family owned–something about how fire was found and brought to man, and Our Lady of Perpetual Help magazine. You can see why libraries matter.

    • Hi Ginny,

      Thanks for sharing! Your Bookmobile memory reminded me of something I saw on PBS the other day that I might do a FB post about sometime soon b/c it’s so great. Dolly Parton has a fantastic organization that mails books once a month to kids from birth to 5, so they can have their own library, which I think is fantastic. Here’s a link to an article about it, if you’d like to check it out: http://www.dollywood.com/learn-about-dollywood/Imagination-Library.aspx

      • There is a woman in our condo building who recycles thousands of books to prisons, nursing homes and homeless shelters (so she looks for kids’ books). She calls it Green Books and pretty much runs it out of a large closet, plastic bins and a small SUV. A great idea for the earth and for readers!

      • That’s fantastic- as I make the full-time switch to my Kindle, I should look for organizations like that for my books. I’ve always wanted a real library (for whenever I have a home!), but I must admit that lugging all my books from house to house when I move gets a little annoying.

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