Sunday, September 28, 2008

Page Turners

I’m sure that my mother will be the first to pipe up and say that I didn’t always enjoy reading, but I sincerely can’t remember a time when I didn’t love escaping into the world of books. So you can imagine my nostalgic amusement last week I was reading Amazon’s book blog and came across a website where famous people talked about their favourite childhood book. I didn’t read all of the responses, but there were a few that made me smile and think back to the days when I curled up with a copy of “The Fantastic Mr. Fox” or “The Phantom Tollbooth.”

Much to his never-ending exasperation, Hubby will be the first to tell you that I am incapable of falling asleep without reading. Curled up on my side, the covers pulled up over my shoulder, with the book only inches from my face is my all time favourite place to read. Of course, were I Pinocchio I have a feeling that by now my books would be much, much further away from my face due to the number of times I have said the words, “Just until the end of this chapter,” and then proceeded to mentally block out all chapter headings in my quest to finish a good book. In fact, I’ve been saying it for so long, I’m pretty sure it will be my epitaph when I die.

Reading has always been my favourite way of escaping reality. I don’t remember the title of the first book I read as a child. I can’t even tell you the name of the best book I read as a child. But what I remember more than anything is reading and rereading all the books I could get my hands on. Orphans who change the lives of everyone they meet, figuring out why sanitary napkins require belts, or simply the desire not to be forgotten after you die -- I connected with the characters between the pages of countless books far more easily than I did with the people I knew I real life.

One of the things I love about going home to visit my family in Toronto is seeing my nieces and nephews reading the same books I did when I was their age. In fact, based on some of the markings some horrible infant made on their pages many years ago, I can tell you that they are the exact same editions I read as a child. I love the fact that these children of the new millennium might learn to love the same books that I read and loved despite the passage of time.

So to bring us back to the topic at hand, what is your favourite book from childhood? Which ones still have places of honour on your adult bookshelves? Since I’m not sure that I’m ready to pick a favourite, I’m going to go and read some Shel Silverstein and maybe invite some other dreamers, wishers, liars, and magic bean buyers to join me.


Connie said...

When I was very little, I loved Harold and the Purple Crayon. I still have a collection of those stories. One of the first books I read in preK was "Ten Apples up on Top" - my daughter likes that one now. I read everything I could get my hands on, still do. Dad made me read the paper before I could have the funnies. By the time I was 7-8 years old, I was a wannabe subject matter expert. I'd read everything in the library on snakes, or on sharks, etc. My 7yo has entered that stage and is working through dragons, phoenixes, reptiles, and is starting on WWII. My 5yo loves Dora, Princesses, and (gag!) My Little Pony stories... hey.. I admit, I am more than willing to read her the adventures of SparkleButtFancyHair and TwinkleNoseRainbowFarts (or something like that) if gets her reading. I also like to go out and buy 'banned' books - even if they are complete crap - just for spite. :-D

Anonymous said...

There is always the Velveteen Rabbit and E' latest favourite--Rapunzel, as well as all the Peter Rabbit books (including Jemima Puddleduck)that had crayon marks all over them.

Anonymous said...

I liked Island of the Blue Dolphins and Where the Wild Things Are.