#BookishBloggersUnite is back this week discussing a book or series that you most associate with your childhood. This fun topic is brought to you by Lit Chat: Conversation Starters About Books and Life (100 Questions) by Book Riot
If there is one thing you may have figured out about me is that I’ve always been a huge reader, even when I was very small. I remember sitting on the floor of our church on Sunday nights (oops) and reading through a Babysitter’s Club super book and finishing it before the adults were done with service. We were recently talking about books we couldn’t think of the name and I remember there was a book I read as a kid and I remembered really liking but couldn’t find the name of. I could picture it in my mind so I called my mom and asked her to go to our old bookshelf at home and facetime me so I can see if I recognized it. We did figure it out eventually (it was the Journal of Corrie Belle Hollister series: My Fathers World, by Michael Phillips and Judith Pella).
While we were looking for that book, we came across so many that I loved and many I totally forgot about (I apparently had quite the horse phase I didn’t remember. Misty of Chincoteague was a popular series). Many of the beloved titles we found were: Indian Summer by Barbara Girion, Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli, My Teacher is Missing by Mary Francis Shura, Our 6th Grade Sugar Babies by Eve Bunting, Mom is Dating Weird Wayne by Mary Jane Auch, Chocolate Fever by Robert Kimmel Smith, The Chocolate Touch by Patrick Skene Catling, Superfudge by Judy Blume, the Survival! series by Kathleen Duey and Karen Bale, and Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks.
If I were to pick three that were pretty transformative for me or something that taught me something that stuck with me (thank you for winning that trivia round) it would be:
Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’ Dell. This one came out in the 60s about a 12yr old girl who gets stranded on an island off the coast of CA by herself for many years. She survives by eating abalones and living in whale bones. Obviously, there is more to it than that, but that’s the image that has really stuck with me. I didn’t know until recently that it is based on the true story of a Nicoleño Native American left alone for 18 years on San Nicolas Island during the 19th century.
The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatley Snyder. This is a middle-grade story about a group of friends who play this imagination game where they are priests and priestesses of Egypt creating their own rituals and language. It deals with being the new kid, fitting in, an unknown person who has kidnapped and killed a child, and how you shouldn’t trust first impressions. I recently read this again and the part about the kidnapping was not something I remembered from my first read of it. It actually got a little dark there, but ultimately it works out because it is, after all, a middle-grade book. I didn’t make the connection until much later that this is where my love of all thing Egyptology may have begun. I love reading about the history of Egypt. I took a class in college about it, I’ve been to the King Tut museum tour, etc. So fascinating!
The Giver by Lois Lowry. I have read this book so many times. It’s a story of a society that believes uniformity is a better way of life. The Community lacks any color, memory, climate, or terrain, all in an effort to preserve structure, order, and a true sense of equality beyond personal individuality. Jonas is 12 and is chosen to intern with the only person how has all the memories from before. He remembers snow, and pain, and love, etc. These memories are passed down once a generation and the last person who tried asked to be released which is essentially physician-assisted suicide. Twins get released, old people get released, and at some point Jonas decides this isn’t really utopia anymore (yeah, so I read some heavy stuff growing up) and takes matters into his own hands. This is the only adaption that I can say I’m totally on board with the changes that the movie version made. They worked with Lois when they made it and aged him up a few years for the film, and really it makes sense for the actions he is taking. It’s one thing to read a 12yr old is doing these things and to see a 12yr old do it. It would have been odd I think.
Rereading is not something I usually do because there are just so many great titles out there I haven’t gotten to yet. Of the few I have revisited (including the above, Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, The House at Tyneford by Natasha Solomon and Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen) one that stands out is The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society by Annie Barrows and Mary Ann Shaffer. This book is so, so lovely. I revisited it when I got a chance to visit the island in May and it is one of my favorite places I’ve ever been (get lunch at the Ship and Crown. You’re welcome). I totally fell in love with the story all over again. Once we were on the island, I started seeing ads everywhere for a movie that was coming out and I can’t tell you how excited I am to get to see Guernsey again! It stars Lily James as the journalist who is contacted by a man named Dawsey Adams when he finds a book with her name in it. He’s looking for my titles by the same author and their correspondence leads her to visit the island and become enthralled with the community there. The title comes from the book club the island used as a front to come together as a community during the German occupation as result of WWII. Matthew Goode is also in it (swoon) and I can’t wait to see these characters come to life! Here’s the trailer for your viewing pleasure before it finally hits Netflix!