Wednesday, July 29, 2015


I read a post a couple of years ago on Sarah Negovetich's blog that really resonated with me. She shared a story from her childhood that perfectly captures the intense connection between her as a young girl and books. I felt that connection too, but probably not as young as Sarah did.

I loved writing at a young age, and wrote poems and plays and stories obsessively from the time I was about seven years old. But my love of books began, I think, when I was about eleven or twelve. I don't recall which book started it all for me. I vaguely recall my mom reading to me from Little House on the Prairie when I was little, and my 2nd grade teacher reading Charlotte's Web to our class. But neither of those books were the spark that lit the fire.

I think I was about twelve when I read Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men. I vividly recall feeling like my heart had been ripped out of my chest as I sobbed and sobbed, not for hours, but for days after I finished it. My whole world was a soppy, sorrowful mess. But the depth of despair I felt at Lenny's death was also supremely exquisite.

I liked sad books for a while after that: Les Miserables by Victor Hugo, Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keys, Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell, Roots by Alex Haley.

However, I had also discovered something totally different.  The Trixie Belden Mysteries series by Kathryn Kenny & Julie Campbell drew me into a world of intrigue and suspense I'd never before known. For several years, it's all I read. I got stacks of Trixie Belden books for every holiday and birthday. I read voraciously. I think I read almost every one of the 39 books in the series. I didn't just read them--I wanted to be Trixie Belden! Funny that I never once read a Nancy Drew book. I could care less about Nancy. But Trixie was my hero.

I grew out of Trixie about half way through high school, but I saved all my books hoping that one day I'd have a daughter who would love them as much as I did. Well, my oldest daughter didn't care for them, and my next daughter has just reached the age where she might. I will have to go hunt for the box of books in my garage--and you know, whether or not my daughter falls in love with Trixie, I may just crack open a few for old times' sake.

What books did you treasure when you were a kid? Do you still have them?


  1. I remember walking along the street reading "The Fox and the Grapes" when I was about six. My dad really pushed my reading, and my mum told me years later that she had been afraid that he would make me hate it. It didn't though - I read voraciously. The first thing I really remember loving was finding an old copy of "Through the Looking Glass" on a shelf in my Grandma's house when we were there for Sunday dinner one day. I was about 9 by then. It was the thickest book I'd ever read and the illustrations were beautiful. I sat on the stairs and read the whole thing in an afternoon.

    The next huge thing for me was the Narnia books, although they left a terrible taste in my mouth after I finished the last one and realized they were a religious allegory. I remember feeling very angry and betrayed. It wasn't the religion (I loved "The Man Who Was Magic"), it was the trickery. After that I discovered Alan Garner, whose books are set in and around Manchester, a much more recognizable world to me than that of the posh Pevenseys. I adored the idea that you could find magical worlds even in gloomy northern cities.

    By the way, "The Man Who Was Magic" was the first book that made me cry. I think I was about 11 when I read that.

    1. I have read the Narnia books to all of my kids, and I just read Alice in Wonderland for the first time last year. I also recently read Peter Pan for the first time. Wish I'd found them as a kid.

  2. Trixie Beldon was something I read too! I also read something called the Sunfire Romances. They centered around an event in history. A girl was part of it and she was always trying to decide between two boys! I tried rereading one once. No! No! No!