Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Some of the best friends I've never met

I was an only child for six years, with a lot of aunts and uncles and hands on grandparents and parents. From what they tell me, it made me a bit of a tyrant and one of my frequent demands was that books be read to me again and again. Hum the hamster was an early favorite. Gamma hunted him down for me a few years back at an obscure book site. I can't remember a time when I couldn't read.

I always had friends from the neighborhood and school, but I wasn't a kid that needed to be entertained. I was frequently off living a very full and exciting life inside the pages of my books, which I read insatiably as soon as I was gifted with new ones or returned from a library trip with my mom or Gamma.

Ramona, Beezus, Peter Hatcher and his annoying little brother Fudge. Laura and Mary Ingalls. The Boxcar Children. Sheila Tubman. Claudia and Jamie and the mysterious Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.

I remember agonizing over not being able to just read Christopher Pike's party series all day. Andrea and I discussed the fate of our older friends on the bus on the way to school every morning.
No one ever monitored my reading, so I was shocked and intrigued by the Dollangangers and Casteels in V.C. Andrews books early on. I breezed through The Babysitter's Club. I came of age with Margaret and some other Judy Blume girls, as well as the Wakefield twins. I remember reading countless Sweet Valley High books during the summer weeks I spent at the shore with my family.

In Mr. Epting's ninth grade english class we were reading silently and I cried my eyes out at the end of Great Expectations even though it seemed that Pip and Estella would end up together. The melancholy uncertainty got to me anyway.
The day I met Jane Eyre changed me forever. What a girl, that Jane. I could carry on through my teens and adulthood, but we'd be here for days and days.

Some days I can remember more things about characters in books and how I related to them than I can remember about myself. I've frequently spoken of book characters as if they're real people. There is nothing like a book where the character comes alive for you. Authors who excel at characterization rock.
Books have given me so much and opened up ideas and worlds to me I'd never be aware of otherwise. What are some of your favorite characters?

If you like book talk, consider linking up with Jana of Jana Says and me on Tuesday, November 11 to share your recent read (s).
Life According to Steph

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Haikuesday
You mean more book talk?
Sorry not sorry, my friends. 
Book nerds, represent.
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44 comments:

  1. This post makes me so happy!! I can't remember a time when I couldn't read either, but I read all of these books too!! Oh I loved to read...

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  2. hell yes to reading! like you, i can't remember a time when i didn't read...although these past few years i haven't read as often (mostly because i can't find any good books that keep me captivated not for a lack of trying) but when i find a book i like, NOTHING will stop me from reading it. when i was reading Interview with a Vampire in the early 90s, i was at a one of the hippest clubs in toronto and around 11pm, i couldn't stop thinking about the book so i told my friends i was going home. when they asked if i was ok (if i was feeling sick etc), i simply said: "no, i want to finish my book" and they looked at me like i had three heads LOL.

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  3. I was all about the Sweet Valley books. Sweet Valley Kids (they were in 2nd grade and I started reading those in kindergarten), Sweet Valley Twins and Friends (they were in 6th grade and I started those when I was in 2nd or 3rd) and then the Senior Year books came out when I was about 12 and I spent every hard earned penny on those, as quickly as they were being written. My cousin and I would take turns buying them and share them. Also, there was the Jr. High series that came out the same time as the Senior Year books. I bought those too. I appreciated the more modern take on the series.
    I *read* the BSC books but, to me, they were the poor man's SV books.

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  4. Sweet Valley High books were my favorite as a kid. How did we ever get away with V.C. Andrews books as kids?! Haha! I could always talk books so you know I am linking up!

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  5. Ahhhhhh, I too, cant remember a time when I didn't read, and I'm so happy it's a habit (love) that my parents instilled in both Brie and me. Our mom's best friend at the time worked at Encore Books (remember that store) and would bring us boxes and boxes of books (with the covers ripped off for some reason) for us. We would devour them. Oh gosh, I loved Beverly Clearly... Beezus, Ramona (Brie and I always say to each oher "Why don't you turn on the dawnzer?"), Wllla Jean, Henry Huggins. Loved The BSC, Sweet Valley High. I remember sobbing in school reading Where The Red Fern Grows.

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  6. I have always loved reading, but feel like I don't read as much as I used to. That kind of makes me sad, lol

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  7. YES! I used to gorge myself on Christopher Pike's vampire books. Also, Jane Eyre is one of my favorite books of all time. I love it so much! It's so amazing and Jane is perfect. I laugh and cry every time I read it. I definitely want to link up on the 11th!

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  8. You and I had the same best friends. And I remember reading VC Andrews at a young age too. I'd just pluck them off the bookshelf and nobody seemed to notice or care.

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  9. Love, love love! I wishes that Jessica would be my friend, but I knew it would really be Elizabeth.

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    1. Well, we all know that that Jessica Wakefield is no one's friend but her own! Witch. LOL

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  10. When I was a child (elementary school), I had a semi-walk-in closet in my bedroom. It had a single lightbulb with a long string. Shelves to the left, where all of my books were meticulously organized. I would go in and shut the door behind me and pull that string. I'd lay on the yellow shag carpet with my Judy Blume books and just read. I love, love, love this post. I have been reminded now twice this week that I am not reading up to my level of book love. (Don't judge me, as I have the Hunger Games trilogy on the nightstand that have yet to be cracked). You are inspirational, as always!

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  11. There really is nothing like getting lost in a good book. I loved the Sweet Valley books!!

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  12. I'm a book nerd too
    I read whenever I can.
    Reading Stardust now.

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  13. I love books, I can remember so many growing up! I think of books as a way to travel to places and times I will never see more than likely.

    It makes me a little sad to see Little K more into numbers and science than reading but she's still creative and that's what's important really.

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  14. :) This was a wonderful post.

    I spent a good part of my childhood through teenage years with my nose in a book.

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  15. I love this post so much because my childhood was so much of the same! My mom is a librarian so books have been such a huge part of my life and always around. Some of my favorite childhood memories are of my mom reading us books (often Roald Dahl) and laughing so hard she could barely read!

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  16. OMG yes! I'm absolutely the same way!! I'm considering doing a book giveaway of my book! Maybe we could work something out with our blogs and that link up!!

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  17. BOOK NERDS UNITE! I'm planning an epic post about all the audiobooks I've been listening to lately.

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  18. I feel like I wrote this...as a young kid, I often would go into my room and read. My family always joked that the only babysitter they needed for me was a few books. I too, got to be shocked by VC Andrews at 12 because my books were never monitored either. I remember hiding them in my closet once I started reading them just in case my mom picked them up to see what i was reading...which would have never happened! haha

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  19. I devoured the Nancy Drew series until it became too easy to figure out the ending. I also was not restricted in my reading choices. My parents belonged to a book of the month club so I got to read all the racy bestseller of the 70's! I appreciate that Mr. Peters made us read Les Miserables in the 8th grade. I've read it many times and still find it exciting and touching. I love the escape and adventure I get from reading!

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    1. I also loved reading Les Miserables, Janet! I was horrified at the conditions and excited by the story.

      LOL, I must've picked the VC Andrews books up from one of my aunts, they aren't too much older than me.

      The escape is the best part. Sometimes I'm jolted out of reading and it takes me a while to rejoin the real world.

      Thanks for the comment, and for reading!

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  20. I was such a huge reader growing up and as the years have gone by I've slowly stopped reading as much, this just gave me that little kick I needed to download some books!!

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  21. Love this times 50 million to infinity and beyond.Now I am more into new age- which is really ancient stuff - reading
    Long Island Medium's new book right now "You Can't Make this Stuff Up" I so look forward to your blogs every damn day! This is brilliant. Gamma was an avid reader and I became so, too, then you! One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish was the coveted library book in the first grade. Those books made me love to rhyme. Then Nancy Drew series and on and on. Gone With The Wind was the first long novel I ever read and made me despise war
    even more( Viet Nam was going on at that time) The Thornbirds and the made for TV movie, I adored. So many books! You are far more well read than I !! I need to read the classics some day. To Kill a Mocking Bird and ironically, The Scarlet Letter were 2 of the classics we read in school. Just a marvelous blog, Just marvelous.
    Love your Momma

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  22. That's awesome that you loved to read with your Gamma and loved going to the library with your mom. I hope I instill that love of reading in my children! I've recently gotten back to reading after many years not because of the babies. It's so great to engage in new worlds and meet such in-depth characters on a page. Can't wait for your link up with Jana!

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  23. I love this link up idea. Authors and their characters definitely hold a large place in my heart

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  24. You brought up so many of my childhood favorites! I loved the Fudge books (and then they made it into a TV show) and I read Are you there God, it's me Margaret WAYYY too young and the un-updated version (so the logistics of certain products were way different and I was very confused). Baby Sitters' Club was probably my favorite, though, and Baby Sitters' Little Sister when I was younger. I need to go get all my keepsake books back from my mom's.

    I'm actually reading a book right now. I need to remember the date and link up!

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  25. this post gave me chills. aw fudge :) i loved fudge. the wakefield twins were my besties, as were all the girls in the BSC. I didn't have a lot of friends growing up, and even now. I've only ever had 2 or 3 and the rest were fictional. Can you believe I have never read Jane Eyre? I just finished Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre is next on my list.
    PS absolutely linking up with you on the 11th!

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  26. Oh, I interpreted Great Expectations the other way - that they wouldn't end up together. Either way, melancholy is the perfect word for the tone of most of the book. I remember discovering my parents book shelf (with the help of my sister) and being just blown away by the depth, vocabulary, and occasional graphic scene. It was a huge eye opener.

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  27. I am a book nerd and proud. Books are basically the greatest things ever.

    Some of my earliest memories involve books, whether it was going to the library to pick up The House That Jack Built for the billionth time or obsessively reading all the Sweet Pickles books. Then, as I got older, it was all the ones you mentioned (Ramona, Judy Blume, VC Andrews, BSC, Sweet Valley High, Christopher Pike, etc) but for me, as I got older, I fell in love with books like A Separate Peace and The Outsiders. And I still prefer books like that, too.

    So excited for our linkup!!!

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  28. The Austin Library took away Lovely Bones on my kindle yesterday. Apparently you can't re-check certain ebooks. So, that was devastating to me. I placed the physical book on hold, so I hope I get that soon because I'm just sitting around thinking about Lindsay Salmon and Mr. Harvey...

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  29. Sweet Valley High! Yes, I remember. I started reading a little early when I was a kid and then as I got into jr high I didn't read unless it was mandated by school. Then there was probably a lot of drinking that took place over the years that maybe effected my memory so I don't remember a large portion of the books I read.

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  30. This is a great post. My favorites were Judy Blume and Laura Ingalls Wilder. Lately, my go-to is the memoir...particularly in travel or food writing, because that's where my interest lies; however, I laughed out loud with Where'd You Go, Bernadette. Maybe I will get into fiction again someday.

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  31. I love this post!!! I had something similar drafted up from awhile back and I never got around to finish it. It was more what I learned from books from my childhood. I do adore most of the ones you mentioned above! Books shaped who we are, I say!!! We didn't always get the toys and such that we wanted when we were younger, but my mom never deprived us from a book! She always said "books are never a waste of money!"

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  32. Great post. I LOVE reading. I read all those Ramona books. I hope Natalie enjoys them. I also read a lot of Judy Blume. And those Sweet Valley High and The Babysitter's Club books. I always ordered the most books at the Scholastic Book Club. My parents never put a limit on my reading.

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  33. I get sad and actually miss characters when I'm done with certain books. It's weird how you get attached like that, isn't it?!
    P.S. My set of Little House books got destroyed in our shed and a new set has already been placed on my Christmas wish list. :)

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  34. I too have always read and your V.C. Andrews phase was started when you stumbled upon my books. I will say it never occurred to me that you shouldn't read them lol. Reading is the best escape ever and many times my heart has hurt when the book ends due to having connected so strongly with the characters. I feel sad for those that don't like to read.

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  35. My favorite book as a kid was From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. I've gifted to my oldest 2 nieces already and can't wait until they read it. Hopefully they love it as much as I did. I think it made me love museums more too.

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  36. I'm such a book nerd. I love reading. I'll read just about anything as long as it appeals to me in the slightest. Most recently I read The People in the Photo which I thought was a really great story.

    Michael @ CrazyTragic{almost}Magic

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  37. Great post! I think my favorite childhood books were Sweet Pickles and Little Miss and Mr. books. (I have them for my kids too!) When I started reading chapter books, I loved Dear Mr. Henshaw, Stuart Little, and Hatchet. Roald Dahl, Beverly Cleary, and Judy Blume books were always the best, though I didn't read many of Blume's pre-teen books. I read at least fifty BBC books and stuck with Stine and Pike (more Stine) in middle school. I don't think I read anything other than assigned reading in high school though, or something quick for a book report. I took an experimental English class my junior year and don't think I read one book that year!

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  38. This post makes my heart happy because not only can I totally relate but I am witnessing the same thing in my oldest daughter. I love, love when our youngest child or four brings home a book and the other kids in the family squeal with delight as they recall when they read it at her age....

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  39. Yes, Yes, Yes!! I can't remember not being able to read either, there are pictures of me maybe 3 or so holding a book. My mom read to us every night too, I can remember her reading and jeopardy would be on. I loved Nancy Drew, and got the full set one Christmas from an Uncle. My reading was never monitored either. I read Bram Stoker's Dracula fairly young like maybe middle school. I use to rack up all kinds of free Pizza Hut pizza, we had a reading award program with them in elementary school.

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  40. I spent the majority of the time reading when I was a kid too. As soon as I got a new book, I wouldn't put it down until I read it cover to cover. I miss Sweet Valley High, haha.

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  41. I love love love this post! This was me, too. The other day we were playing a game in which I had to name 5 children's books. My immediate answers were Little House on the Prairie and The Boxcar Children. I'm in a bit of a reading slump right now but maybe I'll snap out of it while I'm traveling next week.

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  42. I LOVE the way you did this post. So good. Even the name "Ramona" makes my heart pitter-patter. I love this. It really is amazing how much one can gain from simply reading a book.

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