My First (Literary) Love
I was listening to Episode 5 of the To-Be-Read Podcast tonight coming back from my writing session. If you haven’t checked out TBRP yet, you should. It’s a pretty nice change from the usual writer-podcast. Instead of talking (too much) about their own work, they talk about what books they are reading and enjoying from week to week.
I’m only a few weeks behind (Episode 8 recorded tonight) so you can still get caught up if you want. I’ll be here when you get back.
Okay, Welcome back!
So, Episode 5’s weekly topic was all about the first books they loved. When they mean first books, they’re talking first book they can remember. I was struck by an immediate need to weigh in.
You would probably expect me to say something like Lord of the Rings or the Chronicles of Narnia. If you know me particularly well, you might even expect me to go with Wathership Down.
All of those books are definitely part of my early childhood reading experiences. My Dad re-reads LOTR every couple of years, and will likely get loud and angry when he reads that I’m not calling WSD the greatest book of all time. They have their place.
I could also tell you about reading the Incarnations of Immortality at an irresponsibly young age. I could tell you that V.C. Andrews scarred me for, irrevocably altering my perceptions on what normal human behavior should be.
When I was a kid, I loved the normal kid books. Like Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, the first 40 or so Goosebumps books, and just about everything by Beverly Cleary (prior to 1992). I laughed maniacally for hours at the squishing eyeball in the novelization of Castlevania II.
The book that absolutely clings to my brain as I write this, though is Jerry Spinelli’s teen-romance-angst classic Who Put That Hair in my Toothbrush?
I think I’ve written about Manaic McGee before. I know I’ve carried on at least a couple of conversations on twitter about it. It’s a great book, Spinelli’s best. But it wasn’t the one that still pops into my head every so often.
Who Put That Hair in my Toothbrush is a story about a brother and sister, a couple of years apart in age, going through strong sibling rivalry and discovering their first romances. It’s a great book. Now that I’m thinking about it, I might order a copy for the monkeys.
They need some good stories to read. Have to find a way to get them pulled away from Hannah Montana books and video game manuals.
I guess. That’s the responsible uncle thing to do, right?
One thought on “My First (Literary) Love”
I do read LOTR every couple of years to get inspiration. However, the first book I loved is Why not Join the Giraffes by Hope Campbell. My early teenage years of growing up in the tiny village of Wakenda, MO, with 14 brothers and sisters was, to say the least, very confusing. I knew there was something more to the world and this book gave me my first real glimpse into the counter culture of the times. It, and my most cherished teacher of all time, William Landgreabe, prepared me for the great literary works that followed. Books like Catcher in the Rye, Catch 22, Animal Farm and yes, Lord of the Rings, and Watership Down helped me survive my teenage angst.
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