Once Upon a Childhood: The Making of a Bibliophile

SaturdayReads

Iphigene Here!

Sepia colored, film, printed pictures, paper boats, paper planes, summer days, playing on the street, riding the bike, and quiet afternoons with books, all of these remind me of childhood. All of it are nostalgic images in my mind that inspired our poster for our January-February 2015 theme.

Widget courtesy of the talented Iphigene.

I was sitting in a restaurant one afternoon and as I waited I noticed a couple of small bags sitting in a wooden bowl (see picture below) and I was completely amused. It was chinese jackstones a game my friends and I would play. Upon seeing this old childhood game, I was brought back to the days my friends and I would sit in a circle on the floor waiting for our turn. There was always someone really good at the game and someone who was a lousy player, but it didn’t matter. We simply enjoyed the game. It reminded me of how I was as a kid before the personal computer, the mobile phone and the tablet. I was reminded of a time when it took creativity to entertain yourself, where paper boat races on a rainy day was something wonderful and exhilarating. These things make me hanker for the old days. And it makes me wonder back to how I was as a child.

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While we brainstormed on our themes for 2015, I suggested the current bimonthly theme. Inspired by throwback thursday and my own fleeting nostalgia, I thought it a wonderful thing to look back at what we read. In some ways it is also a map to how we became readers. It’s a strange way to start a new year—looking back—but it’s also a way to look back at what we cherished.

As a child, one of the things my siblings and I were excited about was the Sunday visit to the book store. My dad would give us money to buy one book. This didn’t happen often as my dad’s job required him to be abroad most of the time, but I remember our excitement. The moment my father gives us money we run to the shelves and find the book we wanted to buy. I remember buying Anne Sewell’s Black Beauty and Charles Dickens’ Christmas Carol.

I spent a great deal of my summer’s reading. We weren’t big on picture books. Back in the early 1990s our bookstores mostly carried fairy tales or picture book versions of classics. I often read easy-reader abridge version of classics, but by the time I was in 5th grade I was a voracious reader and read a lot of Nancy Drews and Classics. Some of my favorites as a child were these:

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I remember enjoying the cartoon versions of this book. I also remember loving watching the movie of Burnett’s The Secret Garden.

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The Little Women book was a book I loved. I have read it three times I think. I thought myself as Jo, the tomboyish writer. And I loved her dearly that I watched the cartoon and the movie, and as soon as Alcott’s other book came out I purchased them.

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Anne, who hasn’t read Anne. My siblings and I devoured the Anne Book in one summer. We all fell in love with Prince Edward Island and dreamed of going there. We fell in love with the author too, that we bought her other books.

The journey of a reader come in different trajectories. Mine, started with solitude, a library and Nancy Drew. Barely able to understand English, I found myself in 5th grade catching up to all the books I couldn’t read because I was hesitant in learning my second language. Nancy Drew was the book that made me want to read, that made me curious of what else I was missing on. While I started enjoying detective books, I rarely read them now. In hindsight, I think, my Father made us love books and reading. He made an event out of books and while we didn’t all jump into the wagon of reading, as we grew older, we all read books and our homes are filled with books.

Once Upon a Childhood, I wasn’t much of a reader and barely understood a word of English and now, I read an average of 60 books a year and is part of a reading site.

Have you ever wondered what made you a reader? What book made reading something enjoyable to you? I’d love to hear your reading history. Share it with us.

9 Comments on Once Upon a Childhood: The Making of a Bibliophile

  1. Iphigene, this was very enjoyable to read 🙂 I have that same Sterling copy of LITTLE WOMEN, too 🙂

    I adored MADELINE, ANYthing by Dr. Seuss, and I recall reading ARE YOU MY MOTHER incessantly lol My father’s an avid reader, but I didn’t become avid ’til I finally started focusing on my author/illustrator dreams after I became disabled. Thank God for books! 😀

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  2. I loved Nancy Drew and collected I think fifty of them! Recently I bought my youngest a Sid Fleischman book because I remember loving his books so much as a kid. Did you read any of those? Chinese jackstones look like fun.

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    • Tabatha,
      Oh, I read every single of those hardbound Nancy Drew stories. My favorite were the Twisted Candle and Broken Locket. I never read Fleischman as a child. As a child the book that I loved were mostly not too popular fairy tales, child craft and abridge version of classics.
      Chinese jackstones is fun. We loved it when you we learned the harder tricks to the game.

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  3. What a lovely post!
    My dad forced reading on me. I had to read Black Beauty (which luckily I loved) and The Chronicles of Narnia (which I actually didn’t like) and The Little House on the Prairie set (which I liked at first…and then hated).
    I had a required amount of home reading per DAY, and most of the time I didn’t hate it. I’m glad that he didn’t force me after he realized the love had set in, because it could have gone a completely different way.

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    • Black Beauty was my favorite book for a very very long time as a child. I barely remember the plot now, I’m hoping to re-read it while we are on this theme.

      Wow, required reading. That’s an interesting way of instilling discipline. I think we all resented ‘forced’ reading. I re-call not being very happy about reading all that literature in school and writing all those book reports.

      I’m glad you enjoyed this post. Thanks for sharing your reading history. 🙂

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  1. [Saturday Reads] Bibliophilia: The Kind of Love That Never Falters (Or My Journey Into Reading) | Gathering Books

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