Sunday, July 29, 2012

There is no friend as loyal as a book - Hemingway

There are books and then there are books.  There are books you read just pass time or it appeals to you for one reason or another. Sometimes it is because  a certain author is your favorite so you read anything they publish. A book club selection or the new books offered at the library. Sometimes  you take the recommendations of friends and magazines, perhaps Oprah. It could even be the shelf at the book store that says "Staff Pick".

However you chose what to read sometimes out of the enormous sea of possibilities a book will rise above the rest  that effects you in some profound way. It could be something as simple as alter the way you think about a subject or a theme or a philosophy. At other times it can be life altering.

I remember the first "life altering" book I read. I think I was around 12. My Mom would take us to this little second hand book store in downtown Lexington called "Dennis Books". We were allowed to go through the mountains of books and purchase what we wanted. (My Mom was/is one of a kind).

I came home with a purple paperback, "The World of Henry Orient" by Nora Johnson. That book rocked my little sleepy southern home town world. 

I wanted to be "Val" and fly around NYC wearing my mothers discarded mink coat and be a brilliant vivacious musically talented neurotic 13 year old. I just fell in love with Val. I think I willed myself to be slightly neurotic ever since!

I re-read the book several years ago. It took me a long time to find a copy! The book had been reissued and I was just out of luck hunting it down. This was very pre-Amazon. Every bookstore I entered I would look, always in vain and leave disappointed. If memory holds correct, I believe the local book store in Lexington, Jo-Beth, special ordered the book for me. Finally (!) I got my hands on it and read it in a single sitting.

Like all magic carpet rides it took me back to the enchanting era of being 12 years of age, sitting in my pink bedroom in the over sized easy chair discarded from the family living room and laid to rest in my second story bed room. I would throw my legs over one arm and cosy up in the soft comfort of its snugness and read for hours.

I was almost relieved that I still felt its charming appeal. And somewhat alarmed that it is considered "Young Adult" fiction. Geez, am I the only person who has actually read this book! 

Do you have any special books from your youth that you remember fondly and have re-read as an adult?


Nelle said...

I used to play library with my younger siblings. I went to the book fairs at school and begged my mom, grandma and great grandma for book money! I remember reading Little Women and discussing it at length with my great grandmother. It was one of her favorites. She taught me to read and I followed with Lorna Doone, Black Velvet and Nancy Drew mysteries. I was always an avid reader until I began working full time about ten years ago. I am just now getting back into reading and making lists of books I want to read. You are inspiring me my friend. ;)


Hemmingway was right. Never read the book you described. Wonder how I missed it? For me, THE ISLAND OF THE BLUE DOLPHINS was sacred. I was Karana. She was doing SURVIVOR before the network even thought of such a thing. Without books I would be lost. ENJOY your memories of them, your todays with them.

Lori said...

Oh yes! The very first book I ever bought off the internet was a Marjory Hall book called A Hatbox for Mimi. And there are so many others! Island of the Blue Dolphins, mentioned by Terri above is one I often re-read as well.

John said...

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