Today my library contains plus books, but there is only one that I pull down from the shelf at least once a year and revisit like the best friend you never lost touch with, The Only Alien on the Planet. I have written to Kristen Randle expressing my delight for her book, and she was kind enough to offer to inscribe it for me if I mailed it her way. I was so excited, until the day I stood in the post office not able to part with it.
I kept thinking, What if it gets lost in the mail? What if it gets misplaced at her publisher's office? The idea was terrifying, and I ended up never shipping it out. Sadly the book has been forgotten by most of society over the years, but it will always hold a special place in my heart. I can scarcely remember a time when I did not love reading, but the first book I remember falling utterly in love with was Charlotte Sometimes. It is about a girl in approximately present day who falls asleep one night and then wakes up in as someone else. Each night she switches places with the girl in It was probably the first book that I read that was fantasy without being fairy tale, and it opened the floodgates to my lifelong love of science fiction and fantasy and magical realism.
It was also the first book I remember reading and then recommending to my mother instead of the other way around. She read it and loved it as much as I did, and since I was probably seven or eight at the time, this was a huge step that also opened up a lifetime of sharing and discussing books with my mother. For years I couldn't find it because it was out of print; it makes me so happy that it is available again.
What probably first grabbed my attention were the exquisite illustrations — something unexpected in a book that wasn't written for young children. The author, Kate Seredy, was also the illustrator, which amazed me. When I started reading, I was immediately captivated by the characters. The book, which opens in pre-WWI Hungary, tells the story of the loving Nagy family, who live a peaceful and happy life on a ranch.
They treat one another and everyone they encounter — including Uncle Moses, the Jewish shopkeeper in the village — with respect. Then their lives are transformed by the war. As I read a moving scene from the battlefield, late in the book, I was stunned to find myself sobbing. This was the first book that made me cry.
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I didn't know a book could do that. I reread it many times, and it never lost its power. The beautiful illustrations never lost their power, either. I was mesmerized by them and studied their details over and over. Today, when I got the book out to photograph it, I was again lost in the drawings and felt some of the deep emotions that I seem to reserve only for this book. Check back tomorrow for more tales of bookish love. If my mother is to be believed, I read at a precociously early age, and I cherish memories of the look, feel, and even smell of the Beacon Early Readers this was England in the late s.
I leapt from them into Arthur Ransome's Swallows and Amazons series, which I also loved and read over and over. But my big book moment, the life-changer, came when I was seven and my parents let me listen, in bed on Sunday evenings, to the BBC serialization of Thomas Hardy's Far from the Madding Crowd. I was enraptured with Bathsheba and Gabriel. I wanted this story with all my heart. I couldn't wait for the next episode: I asked for the book at the library. Bless the heart of the librarian who directed me to it in the big people's library. I took it home and tore into it. I know I couldn't have understood it all; it's hard for me to believe now that I consumed it so avidly, but I did.
And I loved it, and do to this day after countless readings. So I have just bought a new copy for my granddaughter's ninth birthday. She may not be ready for it. She may not read it until she is 30, or 70, but I want to know she has it on her shelf. I don't think this was the first book I read, but it is definitely the first I can still remember reading. The Pink Motel is a story of some kids whose family inherited a quirky pink motel and several of its odd guests in Florida. I grew up in the Midwest and never saw an ocean, a beach, or a palm tree until after I got out of college.
So this was some pretty strange and intriguing stuff for me. It led to a brief stint of pink as my favorite color and a lifelong love of oceans and the tropics. My first job out of college took me around the world where I worked and lived on the ocean and more than a few beaches. Even though I'm landlocked again in Colorado, I still have a couple of pink flamingos in my garden. It wasn't until I saw a copy for sale online that I read it again after 45 years and realized what an effect it had had on my life.
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. I grew up in an L. I always checked out the maximum books allowed 10 and read them all during the week. Every weekend, 10 books. I must have borrowed and read Mrs. Frankweiler over 50 times. It was always in my tall stack of Finally, my mother bought me my own copy paperback!
I loved reading about the Met, and while I didn't aspire to run away from home, it made me yearn to live in New York City. It seemed like a world so exotic and amazing.
When I finally did move to NYC and go to the Met for the first time, it felt strangely familiar, like an old friend, even though I hadn't read the book in ages. I am still attracted to books that transport me to a place I've never been but make me want to travel there. When I was about 7, our school librarian read Finn Family Moomintroll to our class. I absolutely fell in love with the Moomins.
I borrowed the book from the library, but when the time came to return it, I couldn't bring myself to do it. I wanted to have that book forever. So I did what any panicked 7-year-old would do. I hid it under my bed. My mum found the book months later when it was well overdue and asked me why I hadn't returned it.
I burst into tears and told her I stole the book because I loved the story and I wanted to keep it with me forever. That was when I learned that there was such a thing as bookshops and that there were actually more than one copy of all the books in our library. It was a stunning revelation. I took the book back and apologized to the librarian, and my mum took me out and bought me my very own copy of Finn Family Moomintroll. I'm in my early 50s now and I have the whole series, and I still read the books every now and then.
I'm so glad I never had to say goodbye to the Moomins. Bookshops are some of my favorite places on this planet. As voracious a reader as I am now, I was late to the book party. No one read to me as a child, but it never occurred to me to ask because, truthfully, there weren't many adults around who had the time. As a result, I didn't come to appreciate books until I could read by myself.
Poem of the week: Suppose by Phoebe Cary
But the books that made me fall in love with reading were the ones that took me to a place where children were taken care of, and where magic happened. My favorite was a boxed set of Mary Poppins by P. I fell in love with the way I could open those books and get lost again and again and again.
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- ''Friend of My Youth''.
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I could be transported to so many places with Mary — a lovely house in London with a warm fire and toast, a tea party on the ceiling, a balloon-buoyed trip through the park, a tiny world full of Plasticine people. If I wasn't reading those books, I was playing with my set of Mary Poppins paper dolls and recreating the scenes. Soon I was given Charlotte's Web and fell in love with Wilbur.
In junior high, it was Great Expectations , followed by Shakespeare in high school. Later still, as an English major in college, I found Milton and Chaucer. But I always went back to Mary Poppins , to that safe warm place where everything was just as you imagined it should be. I was 13, allowed to go on my own into the city's oldest library, which was downtown we lived in the suburbs in a small city in Ontario, Canada. That was exciting and new in itself. Over 45 years later, I can still recall the exact spot where I was standing in the "stacks" in the old, musty, dark basement of the library.
The shelves stood close together; the floors creaked. As I scanned the books, the title of Brautigan's novella caught my eye I have no idea what else was on that shelf! Curious, I pulled it out, opened it, and read the first line: "In watermelon sugar the deeds were done and done again as my life is done in watermelon sugar. I literally swooned. My world shifted in that moment. I had never encountered anything like it. My mind swirled as I imagined a life, a world, lived in watermelon sugar!
I still own the book and most of Brautigan's others. I was 14 and hopelessly shy.
I kept to myself a lot and had a hard time navigating many of the awkward social situations middle schools are so often plagued with, and I spent most of my free time reading. Up to that point in my life, reading had served as an escape, a welcome fantasy into which I could sink and disappear from the outside world. I hadn't yet found a book that really challenged the way I thought about the world or how I saw myself.
That all changed with Jane Eyre. I'd never really read what you might call a "classic" before, but I nevertheless became immediately attached to Jane's voice and her struggle to find meaning in a harsh, highly judgmental world. Through thick and thin, Jane was stubborn to a fault and stayed true to her own ingrained sense of right and wrong, and doormat little me was continually impressed by her backbone and the complete trust she had in her own instincts. She was seldom afraid to say what was really on her mind, and that, I think, I admired most of all.
Considering how much Jane meant and still means to me, I haven't gone back to reread her story since the day I first finished it. I think this is at least in part because I know there's no way that it will ever be like it was. There's a quote that says no two people ever read the same book, and I think it's true. Should I ever decide to pick it up again, a very different girl would be reading the same words that her year-old self loved so much, and part of me is afraid it won't live up to the memory.
But such is the nature of most things, isn't it?
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Maybe when I do finally manage to summon the will to reread it, I'll find a host of new ideas to puzzle over and lots of different things to love about her story the second time around. I read A Little Princess when I was about 8 or 9 and loved the book more than any I had read at that time. My parents saved a lot of the books my sister and I read, and eventually we unpacked them to give to our children. When my daughter was 8 or 9, she read my old copy of A Little Princess. When she finished it, she closed the book, sighed, and said, "That's the best book I ever read!
There have been so many books that I have loved over the years that it is difficult for me to remember a first one. I sat down and read the whole set straight through, from morning until night, from Christmas to New Year's. No television, no radio, just reading — no doubt with a few breaks for meals and showers. I still have those books, moved many times and much worn. I am rereading The Hobbit after seeing the second Hobbit movie recently. I still like the book better. It was my birthday in August in Germany. My mother and her sisters with all their children all men at the frontline were traveling from invaded East Germany to the west.
Even though the war had ended in , we were still poor and without any support. I don't know where she got it from and how, but my mother gave me my first book: The Complete Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm. I carried this book everywhere and read it again and again. I was only seven years old but my reading improved with every page — I could not stop.
After that I always had a book in my hand. My second love started in the Realschule in our German lesson.
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We were introduced to Anne Frank's Diary and our teacher, a nun, took us to the movie theater to see the film. I can still feel my horror and my sadness. That started my eagerness to read everything about my country's terrible history and the history of Europe at that time. I grew up on a farm in Wheeler County in Central Oregon. Being outdoors with my dad and the livestock was what I really loved.
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Although I enjoyed school, reading for pleasure was just not on my radar. Summer was a busy time for both of my parents, so I was pretty much left alone for much of the day. A neighbor brought me a copy of Baldy of Nome by Esther Birdsall Darling, a thrilling tale of sled dogs in the Yukon gold rush. I read that book and was totally hooked; I wanted more! There was no public library in Wheeler County, nor is there now.
At that time, it was possible to write to the Oregon State Library in Salem and order books. I wrote a letter asking for "more books like Baldy of Nome ," and over the course of the summer, some thoughtful, resourceful librarian sent me dozens of books, a few at a time, that were similar but gradually increased in difficulty and sophistication.
Whoever he or she was, that librarian turned me on to reading. I became a voracious reader who majored in English in college, got a master's degree in literature, and taught English to thousands of high school students over a year teaching career. Today, in retirement, I belong to two book clubs that meet each month to discuss a wide variety of books, both fiction and nonfiction.
I also volunteer at the local library and am happy to have a patron of any age ask, "What would you recommend for me? The book that made me fall in love with reading was not a book I read myself. After the death of my father when I was barely six, and after a move to a new city, my mother decided to try a new tradition of gathering all three of her children together in the evening and reading to them. I'm sure it was a way to assuage her own grief while spending some quality time with three bewildered young children.
The first book she chose to read was Bambi by Felix Salten. In one of Flora's last letters, she writes that she had moved and taken a job in another town. The narrator blends Flora's changes with the changes she saw in her mother. Flora's last letter seems to show how she has changed or modernized herself. She is tired of playing the victim and has grown up, but maybe too little, too late. The narrator is taken aback by the story of Flora and her burdens, while her mother idealizes the woman even into later life.
The narrator views Flora as a willing martyr , but cannot reconcile the differences that existed in her mother's generations with her own.
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Try it risk-free for 30 days. Instructor: Beth Hendricks Beth holds a master's degree in integrated marketing communications, and has worked in journalism and marketing throughout her career. Add to Add to Add to. Want to watch this again later? Alice Munro's 'Friend of My Youth' in the short story collection by the same name, tells a tale about the changing ideals of each generation. In this lesson, we'll take a closer look at the plot of the story and analyze its meaning. Generational Differences Think about how much the world has changed in the past five, 10, 20 years.
Let's dig deeper into the story. After the Wedding Things do not go well for the newlyweds. Another Wedding The narrator's mother has married and moved away when she gets a note from Flora about Ellie's passing. Try it risk-free No obligation, cancel anytime. Want to learn more? The Maiden Lady The narrator's mother said if she could, she'd write a book about Flora titled The Maiden Lady : ''She would make her into a noble figure, one who accepts defection, treachery, who forgives and stands aside, not once but twice. Flora Writes Again In one of Flora's last letters, she writes that she had moved and taken a job in another town.
Lesson Summary ''Friend of My Youth'' tells a story of changing ideals as one generation turns into the next. Register to view this lesson Are you a student or a teacher? I am a student I am a teacher. Unlock Your Education See for yourself why 30 million people use Study. Become a Member Already a member? What teachers are saying about Study.
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