Saturday, June 18, 2005


There's a game of blog tag going around: what childhood books did you enjoy enough to re-read as an adult? Well, nobody knows me/will tag me, so I'll do it myself.

The girl is a super reader. Has been since she was not-quite-5. One of the benefits of that is I get to re-read some of my favorites, and share them with her. (However, there did come a point about age 8 when I had to tell her that I just wasn't going to be able to read everything she read.)

Some of the fun ones have been "A Wrinkle in Time," "The Phantom Tollbooth," "And then there Were Five," (part of a series which I didn't know about).

Some of the disappointments: She and I have never gotten into the Narnia stuff, beyond Lion, Witch, Wardrobe. Ditto the Little House on the Prairie books. She's read some of Anne of Green Gables (I never have), but hasn't adored them.

Things I remember enjoying a lot that she hasn't gotten to yet:
Stranger in a Strange Land
The Stand (Ok, read that in my 20s)
Zen & the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
Lord of the Rings
lots of Vonnegut

The nice thing about children's literature is that the girl has literally thousands of choices I didn't have in the 70s. Right now, her favorite author is Tamora Pierce; we own a few of her books, but others we repeatedly check out of the library. I will probably get her some for her birthday this fall.

There was a discussion in the comments section of another blog this week about book recommendations for young girls, and Pierce was pretty much dissed for 1) promoting birth control; 2) promoting a "bad" worldview; 3) writing about sex. I'm pretty blase about knowing that the girl will read about sex (gosh, how else are you going to learn about it?!), and don't try to censor her book choices. I remember wanting to read "The Sun Also Rises" because I found out that the main character had "sexual problems." So I read it too early and didn't get much out of it. The school book order had a warning label on a couple books this year, something along the lines of "Contains mature themes. May not be suitable for all readers." I said, "Writing a warning like that makes you want to get the book and see what's it's talking about, doesn't it?!"

How about (good) books I own but haven't been able to finish?
The Red & the Black
Catch 22
The Grapes of Wrath (except I finally got it on tape and finished it recently, if that counts as reading. I think the reason it arouses controversy when high schoolers are assigned to read it isn't because of the adult woman giving breast milk to a starving man scene at the end--the real reason is because it promotes a [gasp!] view that unrestrained capitalism results in poor outcomes, and aspects of a society arranged in a socialist fashion can be good for people. But that's just me and my unformed opinion; I don't know nothing 'bout literary analysis.)

There's another game going around where you reveal how many books you own. Conservatively, I would say our family has 3,000 books. I'm amazed how many bloggers have so few! Guess that explains why I keep running out of room for them, and keep tossing them in boxes for storage. I could take them to Half Priced Books for a pittance, but it seems like a lot of work, and I hate to part with books.