Yesterday, I was in the grocery store, wearing my “I’m a librarian. Don’t make me shush your ass,” sweatshirt (over-top my “And then Buffy staked Edward. The End.” t-shirt, to complete the literary ensemble), when an elderly woman walked up to me and said, “I like your sweatshirt.” I smiled and said thank you. She said, “I’m an old librarian. We librarians have to stick together,” and pushed her cart off to resume her shopping. I laughed as she left, wishing I’d thought to ask her a bit about herself. I always wonder when I wear something with profanity on it if I’ll offend someone, although never enough to not wear it. It amuses me when someone old enough to be my grandmother (or even great-grandmother) is appreciative of the sentiment.
A friend of mine recently posed a question on her blog: what turned you into a reader. I’ve been pondering this question the past couple days, trying to find something particular in my memory. As I remember it, books were always a part of my life. My parents like to remind me that as a baby, my dad could keep me enthralled for as long as necessary just by reading the newspaper out loud. As a toddler, two of my favorite toys were my record player and cassette player. I could sit for hours, listening to a recorded book (often Disney) while following along in the book. I can clearly remember the beginning of each story, “You will know it is time to turn the page when you hear the chimes ring like this…” While The Foot Book was probably the first book I read on my own, I quickly moved on to chapter books.
Trixie Belden was a huge favorite of mine. I tried Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys, but I couldn’t relate to them. Nancy was too perfect, with her best friends and her boyfriend and sports car, and I couldn’t tell you a thing I remember about the Boys. I did enjoy the Three Investigators for a while. Jupiter was smart, but the references to his stockiness made him human. I also loved the Meg series by Holly Beth Walker, and remember being deliciously scared by Meg and the Ghost of Hidden Springs. But all of these paled in comparison to Trixie. Trixie was far from perfect – she bickered with her brothers, had to do chores to earn spending money, hated math, preferred jeans (dungarees in the books) over skirts any day. She was always getting into “scrapes” and sometimes upset her friends with her thoughtlessness, but she always managed to make up with them and solve the mystery. I remember swooning when Jim gave Trixie his ID bracelet, although the books pretty much dropped the romance between the two once the series began being written by other authors. I loved finding new Trixie books at Pic-n-Save. I still collect Trixie books (my mom sold my original copies in a garage sale) and have enjoyed re-reading the as an adult. They were also re-published for a while, but that appears to have ended.
These were some of the books I loved as a child, but I don’t remember a time when books were not a part of my world. I invite you to venture over to my friend’s blog and provide your own response to the question.