Is it just a phase? Or something more?
Who Let Those Kids Loose in the Library?
Just for fun, we asked patrons what book they read as a child that stayed with them once they grew up. Responses ranged from the inspiring to the reassuring to the downright frightening.
You know your English teacher was happy with you if you'd read a few of these without being assigned to.
- Boccaccio, The Decameron
- Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre (2 people)
- Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales
- Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe - "when I was 6"
- Charles Dickens, Great Expectations
- John Howard Griffin, Black Like Me
- Dashiell Hammett, The Maltese Falcon
- Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter (2 people)
- Victor Hugo, Notre-Dame de Paris (a.k.a. The Hunchback of Notre Dame)
- Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady
- Thomas Merton, The Seven Storey Mountain
- Margaret Mitchell, Gone with the Wind (2 people)
- Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace and Anna Karenina - “especially the snowy train ride with Vronsky!”
- J.D. Salinger, Franny and Zooey
- Thomas Wolfe, Look Homeward Angel
And how great is this?
"I read The Great Gatsby when I was 6 and it was the first book where I was truly struck by how every word in a book can be important and meaningful and necessary and also the first time where I found myself confused. Unlike every other story I had read even the best of characters in this book were flawed and the end was tragic. I didn't know what lesson I was meant to learn at the end of it."
That whole "serendipity in the stacks" phenomenon isn't just for adults.
- Isaac Asimov, The Foundation Trilogy
- Evan S. Connell, Mrs. Bridge
- Thomas B. Costain, Ride with Me
- Thomas Minehan, Boy and Girl Tramps of America (shown at right)
- Annemarie Selinko, Désirée - “which I loved – from Mother’s Book of the Month club.”
- Sigrid Undset, Kristin Lavransdatter
- Jules Verne, The Mysterious Island (This is arguably a kids' book - but Verne's great for grown-up kids too.)
- Hugh Walpole, Fortitude: Being a True and Faithful Account of the Education of an Adventurer
- Niall Williams, Four Letters of Love: A Novel
Did Your Mom Know You Were Reading This?
Your humble blogger doesn't mind telling you that I'm still traumatized by Johnny Got His Gun, which I read when I was only...30. (It's a great book, but it'll turn you into a pacifist, I swear.) But we're all still reading, apparently, so we suppose it turned out all right...
- Daphne du Maurier, Rebecca (2 people) and "The Birds"
- Franz Kafka, The Metamorphosis and Amerika: The Man Who Disappeared
- Grace Metalious, Peyton Place
- Mary Renault, The Persian Boy
- Jacqueline Susann, Valley of the Dolls
- Dalton Trumbo, Johnny Got His Gun
“It was a paperback guide to Freudian theory and I was about 8. Can't remember the title but it made a big impression.”
But the winner has to be